At the core of the Democratic message for Wilton is vision: a vision for our town that is prosperous, safe, inclusive, attractive to young professionals and senior citizens alike, welcoming to corporations such as ASML that contribute so much to our tax base, while still being the Wilton that draws young families to its livability and superb schools. It is a vision that is forward-facing, not backward-looking. For too long our town’s Republican leadership has chosen a stance that is reactive, rather than proactive, to critical issues such as our master plan of development, housing availability, and the attraction of corporate investment—even to the financial support of our schools. On too many issues Wilton is resistant when we should be collaborative. This costs us, and need not. With Democrats Farah Masani, Ross Tartell and Bas Nabulsi on the Board of Selectmen, we will face the future with optimism, not fear, and build a stronger Wilton that embodies the values that have always made our town so desirable. With collaboration, not contention, Wilton will move forward.
…ON FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
“We are socially liberal and fiscally responsible.” Democrats usually get credit for the first part of that sentence but often not the latter. Our Board of Finance candidates, Tim Birch, Slava Servello and David Tatkow have embodied that sense of responsibility and have the professional expertise to conserve tax dollars while at the same time appreciating the flip side of fiscal responsibility: that it requires investing wisely in Wilton and our schools’ future. Because Wilton schools are the magnet that brings so many young families to our town, it’s important that the Board of Education share this two-sided approach to budgeting. Chair Ruth DeLuca, who so deftly defended the BOE budget to the Board of Finance this spring, and Patrick Pearson are committed to doing just that.
At the state level, Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut Democrats have shown more fiscal discipline over the last five years than any state administration in memory (including Republicans Rowland and Rell) resulting in the largest middle-class tax cut in history, full funding for our rainy-day fund, and a remarkable pay-down of Connecticut’s pension liabilities by over $9 billion. (The pension pay-downs result in approximately $500 million in annual savings, every year forever!) Democrats achieved these results without increasing the income tax or capital gains tax. And at the same time, Democrats eliminated state taxes on several categories of pensions and retirement funds, and significantly increased the estate tax exemption. Democrats accomplished all this partly during a pandemic and despite obstruction by Hartford Republicans. (Republicans complain that Connecticut should have more tax cuts, but they didn’t support the $660 million tax cuts passed by Democrats). From Wilton to Hartford, Connecticut Democrats have proven we have the resolve and competence to tackle Connecticut’s historic fiscal challenges. BOS candidates Ross Tartell and Farah Masani, along with incumbent Bas Nabulsi, bring the same sense of discipline to the town’s finances, as do Board of Finance candidates Tim Birch, Slava Servello and David Tatkow.
We believe that commitment to excellence in education is what defines Wilton and what makes our town so attractive to families from all over country. We believe that nurturing that commitment and continually improving our schools is critical to our future as a town and to our children’s future. It follows that we embrace and defend local control of Wilton schools. Ruth DeLuca and Patrick Pearson are committed to hiring the most dedicated and talented teachers and administrators, to supporting them, to benefiting from their knowledge and expertise. Our candidates for Board of Finance—Tim Birch, Slava Servello and David Tatkow—are committed to managing the town’s finances with the schools uppermost in mind. We believe in parental involvement in our schools to provide direction to those professionals, without infusing politics or ideology in the curriculum or in the educational process. Our commitment to maintaining the best schools will give every student, regardless of specific talents, life desires, or backgrounds, the opportunity to reach their potential. It goes without saying that we decry efforts by some Republicans to politicize education at the national level—where some like former Vice President Pence have called for the elimination of the Department of Education—or at the local level to seek to whitewash the teaching of American history as part of that national political agenda. Democrats State Senator Ceci Maher and State Representative Keith Denning vigorously uphold Wilton’s right to make decisions about education in our town.
DTC Statement October 2023: Two Republican BOE Candidates Have Disqualifying Conflicts
…ON LGBTQ+ RIGHTS
We are committed to ensuring that all members of the LGBTQ+ community feel safe and have the opportunity to thrive in Wilton and beyond, including in their schools, homes, and workplaces. We are committed to protecting the rights and liberties of LGBTQ+ members and we share in their Pride. Bullying and ill-treatment of LGBTQ+ kids continue, and its elimination remains a priority. We encourage government, civic organizations, and others to support measures that welcome the LGBTQ+ community and affirm their full equality. Democrat Farah Masani is especially attuned to this sense of inclusion: She is founder of Wilton Pride, which has done so much to raise the concerns of the LGBTQ+ community.
The entire Democratic slate, local, state and national, know that the vast majority of Americans support the basic principles of Roe vs. Wade, and embrace the defining American principle of separation of church and state. In light of the draconian actions of several states to criminalize some reproductive choices—including continuing efforts by some Republicans in Hartford— Wilton’s Democrats vow to defend a woman’s right to make those decisions by herself in consultation with her physician and in according with her religious beliefs. We recognize child-bearing reproductive decisions are often excruciatingly difficult. But we do not believe they should be made by the state. We are proud of recent Democratic legislation, passed under the Lamont administration, and with the support of Attorney General Tong, that protects these reproductive rights. Democratic State Senator Ceci Maher and State Representative Keith Denning will guarantee that women retain the right to make their own reproductive decisions. Connecticut’s Republican Party has not made the same commitment. As in many other states, Connecticut Republicans have proposed legislation to limit or eliminate women’s reproductive choices. We reject those proposals. Our office-holders and candidates, from Selectman to Constable, support women’s reproductive rights completely.
The United States is a massive, international outlier when it comes to gun violence. Our rate of firearm deaths is five times higher than France, ten times higher than Italy, and twelve times higher than Australia. The only countries higher than us include Venezuela and Honduras. Many gun deaths are from suicide, which we consider a double tragedy.
Wilton’s Democrats support the right of individuals to own guns, but we believe that background checks are both responsible and essential. We believe that arsenals of war are not contemplated by the 2nd Amendment. We support red flag laws, higher minimum age for purchase, measures to prevent “ghost guns,” and limits on the number of guns purchased at one time. We support greater mental health resources for everyone, but decry the use of the mental health issue as disingenuous when raised by the NRA and Republican politicians following violent tragedies. Perhaps most important, we insist that the Founders knew what they meant when they conditioned the 2nd Amendment with the words “A well-regulated militia…”
We support reasonable gun-safety measures for the protection of both citizens and police. Tragically, the 2022 fatal shootings in Bristol show that even police are vulnerable to the proliferation of guns. We must do better on guns to protect law enforcement.
Democrats Ceci Maher and Keith Denning support stronger efforts on gun safety in Hartford. Selectman Ross Tartell and BOS candidate Farah Masani, who is married to a Wilton police officer, believe public safety is a priority at the local level as well. BOE Chair Ruth DeLuca and Democratic candidate Patrick Pearson share that concern and commitment for our schools.
…ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Connecticut’s goal to reduce 45 percent of carbon pollution by 2030 cannot happen without serious work in the transportation sector. Indeed, as former St. Sen. Will Haskell, who accomplished so much on environmental issues like plastic packaging, has said: “The largest contributor to those emissions is the transportation sector, so we believe it’s impossible to talk about the environment without addressing transportation, and impossible to talk about transportation without addressing the environment.” We support Gov. Lamont’s call to end sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
Democrats believe that every vote on infrastructure, and indeed most votes on the economy, must consider environmental concerns. Bills such as Senate Bill 4, the Connecticut Clean Air Act, which gave Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) the authority to move forward with medium- and heavy-duty vehicle regulations adopted by states across the country, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, are the beginning.
We will work to make recycling in Wilton and across the state more efficient, and to reduce plastic bag and single-use plastic beverage containers. From Board of Selectmen candidates Ross Tartell and Farah Masani, who has done extensive volunteer work on the environment, to P&Z members Ken Hoffman and Mark Ahasic, environmental impact will be a key factor in any town planning decisions. Promoting and supporting renewable energy, be it in the form of wind farms or solar, and encouraging the use of electric cars and trucks to overcome our dependence on fossil fuels, are what we must do to deliver to our children an environment that will sustain them.