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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 10-18-18

Ohler will continue to do good job for 64th

The letter from Chico Aller in support of Maria Horn’s candidacy to replace Brian Ohler as state representative for the 64th District is based on an alarming premise that should give pause to Northwest Corner voters. Mr. Aller’s argument is that Ms. Horn’s credentials as a successful New York attorney and banker “make her the single most qualified person running [for the Legislature] in the entire state”. These credentials are said to vastly overshadow those of Rep. Ohler, whose military and public service background “do not equip one to do battle with political and fiscal hurricanes.”

But since when do we want to be governed only by those who can out-credential their opponent? And why do credentials involving success in the New York banking and legal world trump credentials involving a lifetime of public service, including an outstanding record as a freshman legislator in Hartford? Nowhere does Mr. Aller bother to consider Rep. Ohler’s deep involvement in legislative work that has a direct impact on issues facing our state.  Despite the alleged deficiency in his credentials, Rep. Ohler:

On the Appropriations Committee, was deeply involved in budget negotiations and was instrumental in forging a compromise on the most recent State budget;

On the Public Safety and Security Committee, and drawing from his business background as a consultant on school safety, he helped form a School Safety Legislative Group to study and make recommendations on this critical issue; 

As a volunteer fireman and EMS volunteer, he revived and co-chaired the Legislature’s Fire/EMS Caucus;

On the Rural Caucus, he worked to improve roads, bridges and infrastructure — including cell phone service — in rural parts of the state;

On the Human Services Committee, he fought to ensure that tuition at our state universities and community colleges remains affordable. 

On the Conservation and Development Subcommittee, he worked to preserve hundreds of acres of open space in Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Salisbury and Sharon.

I do not wish to speak ill of Ms. Horn. She is an intelligent  lady who obviously had a fine career in New York City. But governing should never be about who has the “best” or “highest” credentials. Our country has, since its inception, been based on the idea of participatory democracy, that is, everyday citizens playing a role in their local, state and national government.  When we reach the point where a non-elite citizen who has devoted his or her life to public service, and has served admirably in local or state government, should be turned out of office in favor of someone with allegedly better credentials, we are turning our back on the very thing that makes our country great.

Brian Ohler has demonstrated that he is more than capable of dealing with the “hurricane” of issues that Mr. Aller posits, and has forged relationships that greatly benefit his constituents.  We will be doing him — and ourselves — a disservice if we do not reelect him as our representative in Hartford.

Tom Morrison

Chair, Salisbury Republican Town Committee

Lakeville

                               

Vote for Brian Ohler   

For the past two years, Brian Ohler, our “Home-grown Boy,”   has achieved stellar results as our State Representative for the 64th District. He is serving on five state committees. I will discuss only one of them here: the Conservation and Development Committee, as the subject is close to my heart also. Re: open space.  

At each meeting, Brian has voted positively to preserve open space. He has saved, as he says: “hundreds if not thousands” of acres in the towns of Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Salisbury and Sharon. Brian has also been instrumental in getting S135 passed in the few hours remaining of the 2018 session. This is the constitutional amendment we all will be voting on in November. 

I asked Brian how he advocates the 2017 sustainable development goals of the United Nations. His answer is that we must continue to seek out initiatives for wind, fuel cells, solar, thermal or nuclear energy, if we want to be free of fossil fuel. For New England, this an opportunity foreseeable in several decades. Brian has been and is participating in the heated discussions surrounding the Cricket Valley Energy plant in Dover, N.Y., from the very beginning. 

These meetings are effective, long, intense and they produce results. You can read about these efforts in your local newspapers.  Brian is truly at the forefront of fighting for the environmental survival and the flourishing of Northwest Connecticut. 

Nobody can do a better job than he does. Brian knows his district, he knows its people. He loves what he is doing. He is personable. He works every day on our behalf. Keep Brian in his seat and vote for him on Election Day. You will be glad you did.            

Mieke Armstrong

Salisbury

 

Ohler is the best candidate for 64th District

I write in support of the re-election of Brian Ohler, our current state representative for the 64 District.

Brian has a quality that is rare in candidates: He knows and appreciates the qualities of his electorate and works relentlessly for their greater good.

His knowledge of his neighbors and friends is deep and abiding, and this results in great results for them in Hartford.

This is apparent in his work on women’s issues , school safety legislation, and various other local issues that affect us all.

Because he knows us he can be more effective in Hartford, and he accomplishes his many victories on our behalf with diligence and grace.

I enthusiastically support Brian’s re-election.

Maureen Bateman

Lakeville

 

Thanks for school renovations

The Salisbury Central School Board of Education would like to express our gratitude to the people of Salisbury and Lakeville for the entire community’s support in securing the financing which provided for the renovations and upgrades to Salisbury Central School that have been accomplished the past two summers. We would also like to invite the public to a brief tour of some of the renovations that have thus far been realized.

Without the steadfast and unblinking advocacy on the part of the town citizenry, the board of selectmen and the board of finance that we witnessed, much of this vital work may never have happened. It has allowed us to create a safer, cleaner, more efficient and productive environment in which our children can learn and grow.

The Salisbury Central School BOE is inviting the public to come at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22 for an informal walking tour of the Upper Building’s primary wing and parking lot/drop-off area to see some of the renovation results.

The public is also encouraged to attend the board of education meeting immediately following at 5:30 p.m., where we will be recognizing the Town Building Committee (comprised of Michael Clulow, Abeth Slotnick and Seth Churchill) that was formed by First Selectman Curtis Rand and charged with the planning and governance of the project. These brave few provided robust guidance, a nourishing oversight and invaluable fiscal responsibility and management to the enterprise. Their acknowledgement will occur at the very top of the meeting.

Once again, I would like to express the board of education’s unwavering gratitude to the people of this town for their vigorous endorsement of public education through the years. Your support allows the board, our principal, our teachers and the entire school staff to perform at their very best in providing an exceptional learning experience for our children.

David Valcin

Board Chair

Salisbury Central School Board of Education

Salisbury

 

Finding some good news

The timing of the country being focused on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court has created a national conversation about experiences of many victims that were not disclosed or did not have a meaningful impact if they were.

 As we waited to see what the outcome would be, we were all tuning in to these matters that used to seem personal or otherwise not meaningful to more than the victims, even if many felt their lives were impacted in horrendous ways. 

Time for some Good News, but again not the final vote: The U.S. Congress House of Representatives passed Resolution 72, which would give initial custody of children to alleged victims of domestic abuse. Many may assume that already happens, but across the country it does not. The Resolution needs to be voted on by the Senate. I learned of this critical effort to prioritize the Safety of the Children through the CA Protective Parents Alliance (CAPPA).

Please take time this October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to learn more about important measures to alert your senators about so we can celebrate this critical life-saving legislation to guide more judges and advocates to reform practices that have left far too many victims without support and sometimes claimed their very lives. We are learning and healing together, one country, all states and jurisdictions in a timely manner (at last!)

I share many other insights and welcome comments, even differences of opinion, on my blog, www.livfully.org, which has reached over 80K people, about half with a post Remembering Kaelan. 

The efforts I promote since his untimely passing when saving friends from the Housatonic River near the falls are to have safety plans with minors and parents, adults and communities clearly spelled out and followed. Let’s see how much fine tuning we can do to honor the legacy of those who have journeyed on ahead leaving lessons for us to learn and visions to bring to life. 

Catherine Palmer Paton

Falls Village

 

Vote Candy Perez for the 63rd District in November

Candy Perez: Supportive, yet understated. Quiet, yet heard. Intelligent, yet modest. Present, yet reserved. A great leader, yet an excellent teammate. These are some of the qualities of Althea “Candy” Perez, candidate for the 63rd House District. If elected? She will give 110 percent to the people of Colebrook, Goshen, Torrington and Winchester/Winsted. 

I’ve personally known Candy for nine years. Each year, I learn something new about her and it is always positive. Candy has the ability to chug along, and look ahead, move past disagreement and think of what is to come. “What can make this better?”

For the last 15 years she has given her services to Winsted in the capacity of mayor and selectman, in addition to many more years of volunteering.  Recently retired after being an educator for 37 years, rather than relax, she has decided she has so much more to give. Candy has decided to use her expertise and run for the 63rd House District and represent the people of the Northwest Corner.

Candy’s resume is a mile long, but it’s not so much her resume, but her service and caring as well as her “boots to the ground” approach that has made the biggest impact on people for so many years. There are too many accomplishments to list. 

Candy has been there, lending a helping hand in so many capacities. Physically. If you know Candy, you also know this. She is always doing something. Lake cleanup? Yep! She has the trash bags and gloves on — ready to walk in the muck and collect garbage. Townwide gathering? Yep! She is there with her pickup truck. Loading, unloading and reloading. Town meeting? Yep. She is there. She will bring her calm demeanor and fiscal knowledge to the table, bring people together and problem solve. She can easily do this at the state level. She would be honored. 

A lot is expected of a state representative. Candy is fully aware. She is also highly qualified to fill those shoes.

Vote Althea Candy Perez on Nov. 6.

Lara Green-Kazlauskas

Winsted

 

Vote ‘yes’ for your public lands on Nov. 6

What’s your favorite local place to hike, bike, camp, fish and picnic, or just enjoy the great outdoors? Above All State Park? Mohawk State Forest? Wyantenock State Forest? Housatonic Meadows?

We all treasure these state-owned parks and forests. We depend on them for their wildlife and spectacular beauty. We’re grateful for the protection these lands provide to our drinking water, streams and rivers. And we take for granted that they will always be available for us and our children to enjoy.  But did you know that under our current state constitution, our beloved public lands can be sold or transferred with little or no public input? It’s hard to believe, but it happens every year in the General Assembly, often with no opportunity for the public to weigh in. Our public lands shouldn’t be sold, swapped or given away without your voice being heard.

On Nov. 6, Connecticut voters will have a chance to weigh in on the first ever statewide environmental ballot referendum. Under the proposal, the General Assembly would be required to hold public hearings on any transfer of public lands or properties and to achieve a two-thirds majority approval in the Legislature if those lands are held by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection or Department of Agriculture. 

Your “yes” vote is needed on Ballot Question 2 on Nov. 6. Our parks, beaches, forests, farms and open spaces deserve a voice — your voice — before being sold, traded or otherwise lost from public ownership. The fate of our public lands deserves this transparency.

Please join Housatonic Valley Association and the nearly 200 environmental organizations in the statewide Protect CT Public Lands Coalition in spreading the word to “Vote YES on Ballot Question 2” with your friends, family and neighbors. You can learn more at www.protectctpubliclands.org.

Lynn Werner

Executive Director

Timothy Abbott

Regional Conservation Director

Housatonic Valley Association

Cornwall

 

Here’s the deal on taxes: We’re not Kansas

Imagine, if you will, a state that was unable to draw itself out of the deep recession of 2008. Neighboring states fared better and were chugging along at a nice clip. Talking about Connecticut? Well, it could be, but actually, the state I was referring to is Kansas. There is a reason why in the first gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Ned Lamont mentioned Kansas. Republican candidate, Bob Stefanowski, quickly stated that Connecticut is not Kansas. However, the same fiscal genius who took a struggling state and made it into a cautionary tale, Arthur Laffer, was paid $75,000 by the Kansas government to stimulate growth by drastically cutting taxes and is now Mr. Stefanowski’s economic advisor.

So what happened in Kansas? In May 2012, Gov. Sam Brownback signed one of the largest tax cuts, in percentage terms, ever enacted by a state in a single year. It included dropping the top income tax rate by about one-fourth and eliminating income taxes entirely on business profits that are “passed through” from businesses to their owners. All this, in the mistaken idea that the “economic growth fairy” would wave her magic wand. She didn’t. Job growth actually decreased. A year later, the economic hole was dug deeper with another round of tax cuts. These tax cuts were part of the plan to bring the “personal tax to zero” due to the flawed reasoning that tax cuts would pay for themselves. Never have, never will.

To try and stop the hemorrhaging of revenues, taxes were raised elsewhere, all on the backs of lower wage earners. Education was devastated, tanking to the point that a court ordered the state to pay more. The debt became astronomical and the credit rating of the state dropped. The public also realized that 70 percent of the Legislature and their governor reaped the savings since they were “pass-through” business owners. In June 2017, the “Kansas experiment” was ended when much of the tax plan was eliminated over Gov. Brownback’s veto.

So let’s look at Connecticut’s taxes and correct one fallacy. GE did not leave Connecticut for Boston due to high corporate taxes. The Tax Foundation’s state rankings for 2019, which have recently been released, have Connecticut’s corporate tax ranking as 29th lowest in the country, Massachusetts is 37th. As a matter of fact, Connecticut has the lowest corporate tax rate in New England and, with the exception of New York, in the Northeast. 

Of all Connecticut’s taxes, which should we be looking to ameliorate with the least damage to the budget? Ned Lamont is correct: The property tax. Our property tax rates are the highest in the nation. Tweaking it over the next few years will help people stay in Connecticut, whereas eliminating the personal income tax will not allow the state to support education, infrastructure, etc. The already onerous property tax would have to rise to new heights.

Think of that when you vote this November.

Virginia Shultz-Charette

Winsted

 

Candy Perez for 63rd District

It has been many years since I have actively backed a candidate  for office. Primarily, this is because, until this election cycle, there has not been a candidate that I felt strongly enough about to actively support. Candy Perez has changed all that.

Candy was an educator for 35  years. She taught for 18 years, served as a principal 10 years, athletic director for 17 years and coached multiple sports. Now that Candy is retired, she has the time and energy to represent the 63rd District in Hartford full time. Certainly her career experiences will serve her well as a legislator. She knows first-hand the impact that legislative action can have on our educational system.

Candy has dedicated a good portion of her life to public service in Winsted. She has served eight terms on the Board of Selectmen. In that time, she was mayor from 2009-11 and from 2015 to the present. Candy also spent five years working on the Inland Wetlands Commission.All of this gives her a real understanding of the issues facing our communities and how legislative action can help or hinder our towns. 

In these uncertain times,  she will provide a steady and stabilizing voice in the Legislature. Candy will represent her constituency and see to it that we receive our fair share. She will not cast votes based on party loyalty but rather on the merits of the issues.

On Nov. 6, please join me in casting your ballot to elect Candy Perez State Representative from the 63rd District.

Francis Jasmin

Winsted

 

Ohler, a truly responsive rep

I consider myself rather a Socialist Democrat and while I am not thrilled about what is taking place on the national level, I am looking for our local and state representative to be a good communicator who does understand the socioeconomic situation of our Northwest Corner. 

Before he was elected for the recent term, Brian Ohler acquainted himself with many of the small businesses, such as my gift and clothing shop, The Wish House, which he perhaps would ordinarily not have had any relationship to. Throughout his term he has been, since Andrew Roraback, the most responsive and collaborative state representative.

During the recent Covered Bridge closing, he stayed in constant contact, suggested sensible detours and made sure the project would have a minor impact on us businesses. He also assisted with the idea to recycle the old floor boards of that bridge to turn them into art or whatever else.

Please visit www.cornwallassociation.org, which is the coordinator for this project.

With the Northwest Corner Chatter on Facebook, Brian has created a platform that lets you be informed and inform about the goings-on in this area. His continuous effort to connect people, to communicate well, and be easily accessible is much appreciated. 

Bianka Langner Griggs

West Cornwall

 

Ohler has done and will do a great job

Representing nine towns in northwest Connecticut as a state lawmaker is daunting. It takes a ton of dedication, work ethic and love for the job to do it right. For the last two years, Brian Ohler has done an exemplary job in the 64th District.

Brian got a seat on the coveted Appropriations Committee as a freshman lawmaker, giving our hometowns a place at the table where the state budget is created. He also serves on the Public Safety and Security committee, which is vital in these uncertain times. Brian co-chairs the Fire and E.M.S. caucus in Hartford, and was honored as Lawmaker of the Year by the Connecticut Firefighters Association. 

While all of that is reason enough to re-elect Brian Ohler for another term, the best reason is much more basic: constituent service. Brian is always there. For every hometown milestone, commemoration, celebration, public event, and certainly, every emergency, Brian is always there. 

He stepped up big in the battle against the opioid epidemic, for the Town of Kent during the infamous Ice Jam, and for Sharon in the fight to preserve maternity services at Sharon Hospital. There are countless other examples. 

If it matters in your hometown, Brian is there. I think his next two years will be even more impressive. If you agree we deserve a hard-working, devoted Statehouse representative who will speak up for northwest Connecticut, re-elect Brian Ohler for the 64th District. 

Dale Jones

West Cornwall 

 

The flip side of invasives

Recent articles in the Journal have described invasive plant eradications in Amesville (bittersweet) and North Canaan (knotweed). As an academically trained ecologist and conservation biologist, I am all-too-familiar with challenges posed by ecologically disruptive species. For those who drove into Amesville over the last few weeks, one couldn’t help but notice a large piece of bittersweet vine, cleanly severed at each end, lying atop the guardrail below the recently installed Amesville sign. Each time I passed through that intersection, I couldn’t help but make the analogy to the public display of executed bodies of criminals or conquered peoples that was the norm in less-civilized times. This piece of executed bittersweet, lying prominently atop the guardrail, prompted me to put into words what it symbolized to me, as it pertains to the relationship of humans to nature.

There is abundant evidence that species including Asiatic bittersweet are injurious to the ecosystem.  However, I encourage people to understand the problem of over-abundant native and non-native species from ecological and land-use perspectives. These species are not intrinsically evil, though many blame the plants (or other over abundant species such as bears and deer) as “the problem”. But “the problem” is us, not these oft-maligned plants and animals. I coined the term “subsidized species” in a book I wrote almost two decades ago to more accurately characterize this group of native and non-native species that have attained population levels impacting ecosystem function and human activities.  Who provides the subsidy? We do! 

The majority of invasive plants were deliberately introduced, including multiflora rose, autumn olive, and Asiatic bittersweet. Others escaped from our gardens. Earthworms (not native to our area) became established from inter-state and international commerce in nursery stock and are destroying the humus layer in our forests. Land fragmentation, which creates edge habitats, eliminates predators, and reduces species richness, creates optimal habitat for invasive plants, and leads to unsustainably robust populations of certain animals, and higher incidences of Lyme disease. The global economy, facilitated by air freight, rapidly disperses diseases and insects into new areas of the globe. 

There is not a single species of plant or animal that is considered injurious or over-abundant that cannot trace its subsidy to one or more intentional or inadvertent human action(s). We need to own this problem. Species are neutral taxonomic constructs, labeling them “good” or “bad” is our way of evading responsibility for the ecological chaos we have created. In tandem with efforts to control these species, we need to learn from our past mistakes and make ecologically mindful decisions for the future, becoming informed stewards of the land, its ecology and its biodiversity.

Michael Klemens

Salisbury

 

Stop the assault on our environment

Ever since taking office in January 2017, President Donald J. Trump and his hand-picked administrative collaborators have done everything they possibly could to undermine the natural beauty and environmental health of our country and the small blue-green planet (for which there is no Alt-Planet B). Why? It’s for the  profiteering benefit of our wealthiest, largely tax-avoiding, self-styled elites, developers such as Trump himself, together with certain larger corporations, organizations, investment groups and hedge funds they own and control. It’s certainly NOT for the benefit of the vast majority of American citizens. 

To preserve the open spaces and natural beauty of our federal lands, Trump appointed as Secretary of the Interior a would-be mediatic cowboy with a long and continuing history of attempting to invade and shrink our National Parks and National Monuments. At the expense of “We the People,” these actions  favor big-time real estate developers, Big Oil, Big Fracking, Big Ag and Big Money.  

To protect our environment, Trump appointed as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a Big Spender (of our money on himself) with a long record of denying climate change, calling for abolition of the EPA, suing the agency on behalf of corporate America, and repealing specific environmental protection regulations others have worked so long and so hard to enact. This is nothing but a war on science and the environment. 

While golfing at Mar-a-Lago, without consulting his caddie or anyone else, Trump decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (a scientific fact he continues to deny).  Then he instructed his enablers to roll back U.S. regulations to control greenhouse gases, and end efforts to clean up emissions from  factories, power plants, cars and trucks. And now, most recently, Trump has called on his enablers to dismantle federal regulations controlling potentially deadly methane gas emissions contributing to global warming and death of endangered species.

All in all, the Trump administration so far has attacked, weakened or abolished 76 environmental protection regulations. Not content with this, the Trump administration has told all federal agencies such as the EPA and the NIH to cease considering adverse human health considerations when assessing the pros and cons of use and impact of toxic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides (such as Glyphosate) on our food, land, air and water.

The Trump assault on our environment is by itself grounds for impeachment. That’s the short-term political solution. But to really solve the long-term problem, post-Trump, the majority of concerned American voters must turn out at the polls in November of both 2018 and 2020, to vote into office representatives who will stand up for the environment, reverse the damage done by the Trump administration, and “Make America Great Again.” 

Tony Piel

Sharon

 

Brian Ohler gets the job done

Hello. My name is Chelsea Paine, and I just had a baby girl in July at Sharon Hospital. When I first read on Facebook about the maternity ward closing at the hospital, I got very nervous, seeing as I only had three weeks until my due date. 

I immediately messaged our state representative for the 64th District, Brian Ohler. He assured me that he was going to get to the bottom of it and go to the hospital first thing the next morning to demand answers.  

That next day he messaged me back and followed through with everything he said he was going to do. It is such a nice feeling knowing someone actually cares about what goes on in our little community. 

Also, I messaged him about a sinkhole that was getting large at the end of our road, asking if I should contact the state or the town about it. He replied and told me not to worry, that he would take care of it, and within two days it was fixed. 

Thank you so much for everything you have done, Brian, and good luck with the upcoming election!

Chelsea Paine

North Canaan

 

Learning at the Candidates’ Debate

Thanks to The Lakeville Journal and the League of Women Voters, last Friday’s candidate debate provided significant insights into those who want to represent us in Hartford. Two Democratic challengers and two GOP incumbents showed us who has new and innovative ideas for the Northwest Corner and who is glibly self-satisfied with the tired status quo.   

David Lawson, a veteran teacher and school board member, showed us why it’s critical to take the long view of our economic and educational future, and he deserves our support for state senator. Maria Horn, a former federal prosecutor and Salisbury Board of Finance member, easily demonstrated why she is by far the best person to tackle our regional fiscal and infrastructure problems, and why she will make us all proud as our next state representative in Hartford. Even more impressive was how both candidates have knocked on thousands of doors recently as their direct way of finding out what’s most important to our neighbors.

Based on what they showed to the full house at HVRHS, Maria Horn and David Lawson are the right choices for our future, and they both clearly deserve our votes on Nov. 6.

Frank Fitzmaurice

Sharon

 

We need special health courts

It is true as trial lawyer Thomas Girardi mentioned in the article by Shaw Israel Izikson, “Lawyers defended at Tort Museum” (Our Towns, Oct. 11), that it is wrong for people to think of lawyers as “greedy.” Most lawyers that I have met are individuals of integrity.

However, in the area of medical liability, most physicians do not hold many of them in high esteem.

Why? Because it is not unusual for physicians to be hit with so-called frivolous malpractice suits, that is, suits based on questionable evidence.

Often, even when physicians have acted competently, patients can suffer complications. In some of these situations, doctors are sued and they settle rather than undergo the tribulation of a trial — even though they win most of the suits that do go to trial.

Because physicians feel vulnerable to frivolous suits they practice defensive medicine, by ordering more tests and consultations than are needed in hopes of warding them off. This wastes health-care money, raises the cost of insurance and is an inconvenience for patients.

One way to solve this problem is to deal with medical liability in special health courts presided over by judges with special training. They would operate similar to workers’ compensation.

Injured patients who have suffered because of clear evidence of neglect would be treated fairly and receive compensation in months — and not the years that a suit can take as it winds its way through the courts.

Lawmakers need to consider the merits of health courts.

For at least where frivolous malpractice suits are concerned, many physicians do believe that some personal injury lawyers are motivated by greed.

Edward Volpintesta MD

Primary care physician

Bethel

 

Brian Ohler has earned your vote next month

I have had the privilege over the past six years of supporting Brian Ohler in his public service. Although not a close personal friend of mine, we have shared many ideas about how to make Connecticut a place we can all afford to call home.

Brian’s commitment to public service is second to no one. His accomplishments as a public servant are too numerous to list. A few highlights include serving 12 years in the military with two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, being co-chair for the Fire/EMS caucus in Hartford, and leading the initiative to reform the School Safety Legislative Working Group.

His short first two years in the Connecticut Legislature were truly remarkable. As a freshman legislator, he was recognized by his peers as being qualified to obtain a seat on the coveted Appropriations Committee. He has positioned himself to make the necessary changes we all know Connecticut needs. He is the voice of reason and common sense that every responsible citizen is crying out for.

The debate on Friday, Oct. 12, at Housatonic Valley Regional High School showed that Brian is the more qualified, if not over-qualified, candidate worthy of a second term.

He answered all the questions with sound reasoning, backed up with facts and figures, and not with emotional responses. Brian Ohler has the answers and experience to bring not just our 64th District, but all of Connecticut, back to the prosperous, safe, affordable state we all want it to be.

I believe that Brian would never say he deserved your vote. But he has earned your vote.

Sim Winburn

Sharon

 

Early voting is an important issue

One of the first things anyone should expect from their legislator is a straightforward answer to a question.

At the candidates’ debate on Friday, Oct. 12, sponsored by the Lakeville Journal and the League of Women Voters, 64th House District incumbent Republican Brian Ohler failed to do just that. 

The question was, “Are you in favor of, or opposed to, expanding the right to vote in Connecticut by allowing early voting, by loosening the requirements for absentee voting?”

He never gave a definitive answer, when he had already taken a position. 

Mr. Ohler strongly opposed early voting and cast his vote in opposition with his fellow Republicans twice in 2017 and 2018. The voters deserve an explanation on why he did not mention his votes and explain his position. Maybe he thought no one would notice. The League of Women Voters was a co-sponsor of the debate and the issue of early voting is one of their key issues. As a League member, I noticed.

Mr. Ohler also failed to mention that he co-sponsored an amendment on the same bill aimed at voter suppression. It would have required voters to show a photo I.D. in order to vote. Currently, voters are allowed to present other forms of identification if they do not have a drivers’ license. For most of us, a photo ID is no big deal.  But that’s not true for everyone.  Three million Americans do not have one. A photo ID can be a barrier for the elderly, disabled and the less affluent in urban areas. It would require them to buy a certified ID at a cost of $40 in order to vote.

Across the country, Republicans are trying to enact voter suppression laws like the ones Mr. Ohler supports. And we know why. 

We need a leader who will give a straight answer — that’s why we need Maria Horn. 

Carole Dmytryshak

Salisbury

 

With gratitude: You were there when we needed help

On Sept. 8, our son was injured in a dirt-biking accident in the woods of Sharon. He was with friends who acted swiftly and called 911. Even though he was in a remote area, Sharon Fire and Ambulance Squad got to him quickly.   

When they got our son to Sharon Hospital’s Emergency Room, he was stabilized and prepared  to be  airlifted to Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. During this frightening time, we were at the mercy of our friends and our community. I humbly thank those who helped us. 

I want to thank Sharon Fire and Ambulance Squad who truly went above and beyond the call of duty. I also want to thank the professionals at Sharon Emergency Room who treated our son promptly and got us to where he needed to be. (The doctors in Hartford commented several times that, “Sharon did a great job”.) I also want to thank those who prayed for us and kept us safe in their thoughts. 

Our son is fine. He is fine because our neighbors took care of us. In a time where we are inundated with divisive views and strong opinions, I feel fortunate to live in such a caring and kind community! Gratefully yours.

The Mathews Family

Sharon

 

Vote for Lawson on Nov. 6

I subscribe to the notion that we should all get to the polls on Nov. 6 and that our democracy is at stake.

Running to become our state senator for the 30th District is David Lawson of New Milford, where he ably chairs the board of education. He is a recently retired high school teacher (from a separate district) and has earned my strong backing.

David will fight to support public safety, protect our environment, and improve education. Teachers change lives.  Teachers get things done and deal well with all kinds of people.  David will work hard for the Northwest Corner in Hartford.

Bill Bachrach 

Kent