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Unifying the Democratic Party Will Mean Agreeing To Disagree

fter taking a whipping from the Republicans in last November’s election, members of a dizzied Democratic party joined representatives from minor parties at a Democratic Town Commitee meeting this week, in the hope of joining forces to rebuild their base. The success of the new coalition will likely depend upon willingness to compromise.

Democratic freshman Selectman Michael Renzullo met with party leaders and former third-party selectmen Barbara Wilkes and Art Melycher to discuss the possibility of a new, unified Democratic party, which would gather constituents under a wider umbrella, allowing for a greater sharing of ideas and, more importantly, a chance to defeat the Republicans in the 2009 municipal election.

Though the idea sounds good on paper, the differing groups will have some hurdles to cross, including widely divergent opinions about taxation in Winsted, most notably when it comes to school funding. Fiscal issues were the primary reason for the breakup of the Democratic party in the first place, resulting in the formation of the Winsted Independent Party and, later, the Winchester Party.

Members of the minority parties have accused the Democrats of being no better than the Republicans when it comes to spending taxpayer money in the Laurel City, while the Democratic party’s ties to The Gilbert School are well documented. If members of the minor parties are going to be incorporated into a new, unified Democratic party, the group will have to leave room under the umbrella for taxpayers who believe the town is wasting money on its deteriorating school system.

That contention may or may not be true, but Democrats will have to allow for debate of school budget-related issues first and foremost if they want to build a crowd. The process will likely involve agreeing to disagree on certain issues while focusing on commonalities.

Banding together with a determination to move forward is the recipe for success. Just ask the Republicans.

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