May 20, 2013
Easton voters will once again be asked to make many choices when they head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6. A few of these choices are difficult — most are not.
State law ensures the two major parties' candidates for registrars of voters will be elected as long as they receive at least one vote.
Easton's Republican registrar of voters, Krista Kot, and Democratic registrar, Ronald E. Kowalski II, have served well in their respective offices and deserve to be re-elected. Both are qualified and have a proven record of serving all of the town's voters, regardless of party, fairly.
Judge of probate
Trumbull Republican state Rep. T.R. Rowe is running against Amy Todisco, Democrat from Trumbull, for the seat that covers Easton, Monroe and Trumbull. Both are eminently qualified for the job and would serve the district well.
The winner will replace Republican John Chiota, the longtime incumbent, who is retiring because he has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. Probate judges serve four-year terms.
As a lawyer, Ms. Todisco has handled many of the issues that can come up in probate court. This might include planning for special needs individuals or Medicaid/Title 19 matters.
Mr. Rowe has handled probate-based legislation as a member of the House Judiciary Committee and has been involved with probate issues involving conservatorships and guardianships in his private practice.
Although the position is elected through the political system, once the person is in office, politics has no role; the judicial code of ethics comes into play. Although either candidate would serve the district with distinction, we endorse Mr. Rowe, who has spent seven terms in the state legislature after two terms in the Trumbull Town Council and who has demonstrated a longtime commitment to state government.
Republican incumbent John Shaban and his challenger, Democrat Leon Karvelis, are in the race for the 135th House District seat, one of the toughest choices for Easton, because both candidates bring strengths to the seat. They both have bipartisan support, a real plus during these politically fractious times.
Mr. Shaban is concluding his first term in office. An environmental attorney and assistant minority leader on the House's Environment Committee, he got a low score from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, which he defends by saying the scorecard counts committee as well as final votes. Often the proposals in committee are not acceptable bills, he said. Still, we would like to see him do better on this score.
He understands the legal ramifications of bills that come before the legislature, which is a plus, and he has been willing to listen to and work for his constituents, including getting a provision removed from the education reform bill that would have penalized high-performing schools like Easton's.
Mr. Karvelis has the financial know-how the job requires, but he approaches it from more of a public servant perspective. He serves on the Region 9 school board and is vice president of Cooperative Education Services, a regional resource for schools, and would bring a good perspective on education reform to the legislature.
He has more than 35 years of experience in public finance, public policy research, and state and local government analysis. His expertise has saved the Region 9 school board money by refinancing bonds. He would bring intelligent, well-thought-out approaches to the state's fiscal problems and has the know-how to help the state find solutions. He would be an asset to the state in working to create jobs, improve low-performing schools, and address the pension plan issue.
Both men have a lot to offer the district, and Mr. Shaban has done a good job. We would like to see him improve his score with the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. We will be watching carefully to make sure he puts a priority on people and the environment, which have to come first, over business. That said, we endorse him for re-election for the 135th District seat.
In the 28th District, Republican John McKinney is running unopposed. However, his experience, record and clout as the Senate minority leader should earn him re-election. He earned high marks from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, which is a huge plus for the state, region and Easton.
One of the tighter races is bound to be the one for the 4th Congressional District. Both candidates recognize the importance of being a moderate in a district that is the very epitome of moderate.
But even though Republican challenger Steve Obsitnik offers some innovative ideas — not the least of which is his pledge to serve no more than eight years so that he cannot be influenced by special interests — and he is to be commended for running a positive, issue-driven campaign, Democrat Jim Himes clearly remains the best choice.
In his four years representing southwestern Connecticut, Mr. Himes has proven to be a moderate Democrat who votes his conscience and has a track record of working across party lines — no small accomplishment in this Congress. The nonpartisan Concord Coalition honored him as one of just 38 members of Congress — 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans — to vote for a budget based on the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, Mr. Himes has been a leader when it comes to fiscal responsibility. At the same time, he is thoughtful and compassionate, and he brings to both domestic and foreign policies a cool head and an impressive skill set. He has earned a chance to return to Washington for another term.
While Republican Linda McMahon would like voters to think the race for Connecticut's open Senate seat is a tight one, Democrat Chris Murphy is the clear and obvious choice.
The three-term congressman, who also served in Connecticut's legislature, is an advocate for society's less fortunate and a strong voice against military adventurism. Mr. Murphy has shown he knows how to be a legislator, working across the aisle for the greater good. He will continue to bring commonsense solutions to areas like Medicare and Social Security, advocate for level-headed foreign policy, and remember always that cutting government programs for the poor, veterans and seniors to pay for more tax cuts for the very wealthy is no way to run a country.
Ms. McMahon has not run a political campaign, she has run an advertising campaign. She has repeatedly refused to address real issues or to directly answer questions about her positions, and has chosen instead to try to malign Mr. Murphy's character in the hope voters will overlook the flaws in her own and her lack of substantive ideas. Mr. Murphy is the one who deserves voters' support.
The choice for president of the United States is also clear. Democrat Barack Obama was the right man for the job four years ago, and he continues to be the person who will lead the country on the path it ought to go down.
Flourishing businesses, a strong economy, and good, stable jobs are obviously important for the health of the country and to all of its citizens. But our country is a democracy, not a corporation, and it should not and cannot be run like a business.
An effective leader of the United States must be focused on protecting the most vulnerable, not helping the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful in the hope they will hire more underlings, thereby "raising up" the underclass.
Mr. Obama's approach has always been hopeful, deliberate, intelligent, inclusive, and pragmatic. The economy was in free-fall when he took office four years ago — markets collapsing, banking in crisis, jobs vanishing. He took bold and often unpopular — but ultimately necessary — steps to stabilize it, and in so doing, averted real disaster. The recovery has been much slower than anyone would like, but a Republican opposition in Congress that vowed from the get-go to make ousting Mr. Obama its primary goal, rather than helping the American people, must shoulder much of the blame for that.
The president has taken some heat for "pushing" health care reform at a time when the economy was crying out for attention. But health insurance costs were spiraling out of control and a failure to address the problem would only have created further economic disaster for millions of Americans. It's ironic that Mr. Obama's opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, now disavows the very same ideas about health care he once championed as governor of Massachusetts, simply because, one must assume, it's Mr. Obama's plan. It's also indicative of much of Mr. Romney's positions: It's hard to tell exactly what his position is on so many issues, because he seems to say whatever his audience at the moment wants to hear. That's not leadership.
One position Mr. Romney has made clear is his desire to see military spending increase, a clear difference from Mr. Obama's contention that the Pentagon should not get money for which it is not even asking. With one war over and a second quickly winding down, the idea of ramping up military spending, as Mr. Romney proposes, rather than redirecting it to those struggling here at home, as Mr. Obama wants to do, is baffling.
Mr. Obama is cool-headed, smart, and committed to fairness and balanced solutions. His approach can be painfully slow and messy — but, we've said it before: Democracy is messy. It's about hashing out ideas, making compromises without giving up what is fundamentally important, and working for a greater good. Mr. Obama has proven he is up to the task; let's hope a new Congress will be willing to help and allow him to complete it.
Sue Wolf and Kim Donnelly contributed to this story.
Leon Karvelis wants to bring his business and educational background and experience to the 135th House District. To do that, the Redding Democrat is challenging the incumbent, Redding Republican John Shaban, for the post.
The 135th District includes all of Weston, Easton, and part of Redding.
Mr. Karvelis, a retired businessman who describes himself as a fiscal conservative and a social progressive, is a former inner city teacher, a school board (Region 9 —Joel Barlow High School) member, and vice president of Cooperative Educational Services, a regional resource for schools. He has 30-plus years' experience in business development, specifically with state and local governments, where he provided fiscal and economic analysis and advisory services.
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