At its Annual Spring Breakfast Saturday the DTC honored Paul Burnham and Deborah McFadden, decades-long members who have helped build the Wilton Democratic Party from a tiny minority into a significant force in the community as their Democrats of the Year. In recognizing former Nominating Committee Chair Burnham and former DTC Chair and now Selectwoman McFadden, they also honored two who have contributed tirelessly to the Town, in public and private positions.
At the same time the gathering of 100 heard from guest speaker Jeremy Stein, Executive Director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, that there is much work remaining on the core Democratic issue of gun safety.
The State House of Representative candidate and DTC Nominating Chair Ross Tartell called Burnham and McFadden “two fabulous people who have made such a difference to Wilton, their Party and the state.” They are, he said, “part of a sea change that is happening still in Wilton,” manifested by the party’s dominant showing in the 2017 election.
“I’ve seen Democrats blossom from a small minority to a strong force,” said McFadden, in accepting her award, “by demonstrating concern for all of our citizens.”
Burnham, 11-year chair of the DTC nominating committee, captured the spirit of the breakfast when he thanked his parents for teaching him that, “You can’t consider yourself a decent person if you don’t care for people you don’t know.” He contributed to his community and his party, he said, for the simple reason that it’s “being who I should be.”
Guest speaker Stein reminded attendees, including office holders and candidates such as State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, state Attorney-General candidates Chris Mattei and William Tong, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, assistant Secretary of State Peggy Reeves, gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont and candidate for Connecticut State 125th Legislative District Ross Tartell, that in the fight against the “major medical crisis” that is gun violence, much remained to be done. He named the banning of bump stocks and so-called “ghost” guns (un-registered and un-regulated gun kits) and “Safe Storage” legislation as pre-eminent.
The fact that Connecticut was among states leading the nation in gun safety legislation should not make us complacent, he said.
“I’ve had people say, we’ve done so much. Why not claim victory?” said Stein. “I say, ‘Because there are gubernatorial candidates who want to repeal all of the Sandy Hook legislation.’” He said the student movement against gun violence gave him great hope. “The youth of America are an unstoppable force,” he said. “We need to tap into that.”