Editorial: Election choices

In Ridgefield’s local elections, people often don’t vote the party line — or even philosophy, many times.

It’s a small enough town that choices are often made because the voter knows some of the people who are running — a soccer coach, someone from the PTA, a local businessperson with a friendly store. Sometimes voters have had dealings with candidates in some official capacity, but it’s just as likely they’re supporting someone because they know them from the golf course.

That’s not bad, it’s reality. It’s small town life. Politics is about people, as well as issues.

At The Press we’re not so different, though we tend to see a bit more of candidates in their political context than many people do. And the folks running for these unpaid volunteer positions are mostly all bright people who are out there because they want to do something positive and contribute to their town.

In that spirit, we’re not going to offer a hard sell on whom to vote for — or not vote for.

But here are few candidates who stand out to us as worthy of support in the contested races — though they aren’t the only good people running.

For the Board of Education, we like well-grounded Democratic incumbents Doug Silver and Margaret Stamatis, straight-talking Republican incumbent David Cordisco, and Democratic newcomer Kathleen Holz, who brings the experience of a career educator.

For the two open four-year seats on the Board of Finance, Republican incumbents Marty Heiser and Michael Raduazzo are sensible voices for fiscal restraint. And to fill out the two-year vacancy on the finance board, Democrat Amy Macartney Freidenrich must surely hear every perspective in town from her place as an owner of Ross Bread.

Although there’s been a good bit of public outcry about some recent development proposals, that’s the inevitable push and shove between developers who want to build more and residents who like the town as it is and are eager to protect their neighborhoods. The reality is that Ridgefield remains a place that’s managed to grow into a bustling suburb while keeping its small-town look and feel. That suggests that people who’ve served on the Planning and Zoning Commission deserve re-election to it. Incumbent Democrats Charles Robbins and Joe Fossi and incumbent Republicans Rebecca Mucchetti, George Hanlon and Stephen Cole deserve support for four-year seats, as does Republican incumbent Bob Cascella for the two-year commission seat.

Similarly, for Zoning Board of Appeals, incumbent Republicans Carson Fincham and David Choplinski are good choices for full, five-year terms. In the contest to fill a two-year vacancy as a board alternate, electing John McNicholas will still leave his opponent, Democrat Mark Seavy, unopposed and victorious for both a board seat or another alternate position.

For Police Commission, Republican incumbents Thomas Reynolds, Marcie Coffin and Joseph Savino have proven themselves hardworking, sensible and committed to the department.

For Board of Assessment Appeals the two incumbents, Republican Bob Jewell and Democrat Jeff Lundberg, deserve support.

Don’t want to take our word for it? The candidates for all contested positions answered questions posed by The Press, in writing, within word limits. The Press’s questions and the candidates’ answers are all there for the reading at www.theridgefieldpress.com.

See what they say, see who you like, and take part in local democracy. Voting is Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the three regular district polling places: East Ridge Middle School, Scotts Ridge Middle School, and Yanity gym.

Voting in elections is a citizen’s obligation — even if there are no presidents, senators, congressmen, or first selectmen on the ballot. This world is a crazy, mixed-up place, and what’s needed — but seems in short supply, from Washington to Hartford — is thoughtful, sensible leadership. Ridgefield is lucky to be different.

The opportunity to cast an informed vote is a privilege that any thinking person should be honored to hold, and to take part in.

Don’t miss the chance.