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Friday, December 15 News

Letters to the Editor: Support for local candidates

To the Editor:

I wholeheartedly support Melissa Kane for First Selectman. A long time Westport resident and active member of our community, Melissa exhibits an effervescent passion for Westport and its future. She has been connected to the town since childhood when her family spent summers here. She is a member of the RTM and served as the chair of the Downtown Steering Committee and is currently the Co-Chair of the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee. She has also served on the boards of the Westport Library and of the Green Village Initiative. Melissa understands the needs of our community, she has the ability to envision its prosperous future and the drive and leadership skills to take us there.

Melissa will be an effective leader for all Westporters. She has an uncanny ability to engage absolutely everyone. She connects with people immediately with her smile, her poise, and her genuine interest in whomever she is speaking to. Melissa is truly open to everyone.

And Melissa is passionate. This passion was best on display in the wake of the presidential election. Melissa immediately acted and rallied everyone around her to the cause of protecting our democracy. As one of the organizers of the Women’s March CT Melissa led us to raise our voices in Washington.

Melissa Kane is the right leader for Westport now.

Candice Savin

Westport

To the Editor:

I first got to know Melissa Kane, when were both on the RTM. In the time we served together, I saw someone who had the determination and vision to work relentlessly for Westport. Four years ago, when I had the opportunity to support her during a very active local campaign season, it was a pleasure to watch Melissa sharpen the leadership skills that have prepared her now to become Westport’s next First Selectman.

With children in our schools and with her own parents living in town, Melissa has been a tireless advocate for education and our seniors. Personally, I have a special affection for her service to the Westport Library, where she, like me, was on the Board of Trustees, and where I am still co-chair of the Library’s book sales.

Melissa has had many leadership roles in Westport; besides being on the RTM, she was an organizer of the Women’s March. Last summer, she completed the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.

Appointed co-chair of the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee, Melissa has a clear understanding of how to support and grow Westport’s tax base. She is ready to make the Downtown Plan a reality. She understands that the First Selectman’s position is a leadership role, where action, not reaction, becomes the mode of operation.

That’s why I’m voting for Melissa Kane on November 7. Join me in picking a winner for Westport.

Dick Lowenstein

Westport

To the Editor:

How fortunate we are in Westport to have a leader who is doing a fantastic job on all fronts. Jim Marpe is a steady hand at the tiller, keeping town projects moving forward and bringing persons with diverse opinions into conversation that leads to consensus and problem solving.

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Our town has a budget! It’s a rational one that funds town needs and keeps taxes from raging out of control, even as our state remains in a constant state of fiscal crisis. Jim’s running mate, Jen Tooker, is a bright, energetic and experienced leader who will be a terrific addition to the board of selectmen.

Although I’ve only recently come to know Jen, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jim on many projects over the past 25 years and know him to be a deliberate, intelligent, extremely dedicated public servant. I can’t image our town government in better hands.

Diane Parrish

Westport

To the Editor:

Though I moved out of Westport a few years ago, I have still followed what goes on in town with great interest. Having lived in town for over 20 years and having been a member of the RTM for 10, and Moderator for 6 of those years, I still feel a great connection to Westport.

That is why I was so happy to see that Melissa Kane is running for First Selectman.

I first met Melissa when she was running for her first term on the RTM and was immediately impressed with her intelligence, her commitment and her energy. She had already been on the Library Board and I could tell right away she was going to be a tremendous asset to the RTM and the Town.

It was a pleasure to watch her grow into that role, saw the effort and passion she brought to so many issues, the intellectual curiosity she exhibited, and her constant effort to make things better for the people of Westport. I was thrilled to see her chosen as Chair of the Downtown Steering Committee, confident that she would do a great job, and sure enough, she led the group to the creation of the fantastic new Downtown Master Plan for Westport.

Though I can no longer vote in Westport, you can be sure that if i could, I’d be voting for Melissa for First Selectman.

Hadley Rose

Simsbury

To the Editor:

I have known Jim Marpe for some time. Jim has spent many years as a strong advocate and lobbying me on behalf of Westport’s top school system. As First Selectman, Jim works tirelessly to keep the schools whole while keeping costs down and liabilities funded. He is naturally open, inclusive and non-partisan, which is especially important in these turbulent and highly charged political times.

Jim is very sensitive to the growing costs of living in Connecticut, the state’s problem and how it could affect Westport. He works hard on a non-partisan basis to get results for the town- while always trying to balance everyone’s needs with the town’s financial resources. The state should take note. When you vote on November 7th you could do no better than voting for Jim and his running mate, Jen Tooker. Jen has also distinguished herself as a true professional , serving on the Board of Education and the board of Finance, where she helped lead the way to Westport’s financial recovery and stable mil rate budgets. Marpe and Tooker is the proven experienced team for Westport that will successfully navigate the stormy financial waters ahead.

State Sen. Toni Boucher

Wilton

To the Editor:

I am excited to share my unwavering support for my mother, Lauren Soloff, in her campaign for RTM District 9. In my 20 years of life, my mom has lead by example, teaching me what it means to be a committed town citizen, strong businesswomen, and compassionate person. She has shown me how to handle new challenges in life with grace and determination, giving everything her all, just as she would as a member of the RTM

My family has lived in Westport for 23 years. In this time, my mom has become an active member of the Westport community, becoming Vice Chair of Homes with Hope, joining the board of our synagogue, bringing snacks to rec soccer half-times, sitting on the PTA, and selling tickets for school events, all while working and being a present and amazing mother to myself and my two brothers. I would be happy and honored to share a piece of my mom’s unconditional support and dedication with the town that we have called home for my entire life.

Hannah Malowitz

Westport

To the Editor:

While we are always thrilled to see any article in The Westport News promoting area theater, we were dismayed to realize that David Rosenberg’s article of Sept. 29 omitted one of Westport’s most longstanding and successful arts organizations, JIB Productions, producers of Play With Your Food. Established in 2003, Play With Your Food is about to begin its 16th season of sold-out lunchtime theater not only in Westport but also Fairfield and Greenwich. Each January through April, audiences come monthly to downtown Westport’s Toquet Hall at 12 noon to enjoy a gourmet lunch catered by popular local restaurants.

Lunch is followed by three one-act scripted plays by award-winning playwrights and read by professional actors from both New York and Connecticut. Last year’s casts included both Tony and Emmy Award winners such as Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Patricia Kalember and Mia Dillon along with more than 20 other stellar actors. The 1 1/2 hour theater production concludes with a talkback with both the actors and Artistic Director, Carole Schweid.

Each year, more than 1000 Westporters enjoy a stimulating daytime cultural experience during the winter months - without leaving their backyard! I believe that our loyal patrons would agree that Play With Your Food is one of the many reasons that make living in Westport so rewarding! Tickets for the 2018 season (beginning January 9th) can be purchased at JIBProductions.org or by calling our Box Office at (203) 293-8729.

Diana Muller

Westport

Editor’s note: Diana Muller is a producer with B Productions, Inc.

To the Editor:

We write in support of Melissa Katz Kane for Westport’s First Selectman.

We know Melissa as a board member of the Democratic Women of Westport and as chair of the Democratic Town Committee. In these capacities, Melissa has used her leadership abilities and gifts for communication and building consensus to positively impact our community. So much so, that the DWW awarded Melissa our 2017 Silver Donkey Award for her many years of work on behalf of our town.

Melissa rises to a challenge and leads where she is needed. She assumed the chairmanship of the DTC just as the 2016 Presidential Election was ramping up. She worked tirelessly for the Hillary Clinton campaign — running the largest Hillary for America phone bank in CT. And when that campaign was lost, Melissa did not quit fighting. She was a Connecticut organizer for the Women’s March on Washington, and as DTC Chair she has made the DTC a clearinghouse for resistance activity through its events and widely-read emails.

Melissa’s greatest contribution may be the way that she engages people in civic life. Two years ago, she suggested a DWW forum on gun safety. Melissa reminded us that while assault weapons had been banned in CT after Sandy Hook, common sense gun measures like background checks for all gun purchases were languishing in Congress. Melissa enlisted Connecticut Against Gun Violence, the Interfaith Council, the Brady Campaign, as well as many personal connections, until our forum blossomed into a regional summit for thoughtful and constructive discussion of how to protect the rights and safety of all citizens, including gun owners.

We look forward to seeing her thoughtfulness, leadership and determination make our great town even better.

Rebecca Martin and Jenifer Gorin

Co-chairs, Democratic Women of Westport

To the Editor:

Westporters from District 9 must return Velma Heller to the RTM. Sure, it’s easy to assert that you should re-elect the RTM’s Moderator, but Velma’s value to Westport goes well beyond that important role.

I served with Velma for seven years on the RTM. In that time, I came to appreciate her level-headed, common sense approach to solving problems. For me, the description of an elected official as “thoughtful” is the highest compliment. Velma always brings well-reasoned thoughtfulness to the discussion, focusing on the facts at hand and a logical way of framing the alternatives.

Lastly, I know that Velma will always be fair, an essential trait in an effective Moderator. She has managed the often unruly affairs of the RTM calmly and diplomatically, honoring the best tradition of those who came before her. Her colleagues respect her.

She is truly an asset to the RTM and to Westport. Please vote for Velma Heller on November 7.

State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg

Westport

To the Editor:

Jennifer Johnson, who is running for the Planning and Zoning Commission, is the only candidate who has extensive experience in land use matters. Jennifer has worked for farmland preservation, buying property to protect open space, and complex environmental projects and disputes.

During her 11 years in Westport, she has served on Parks and Rec, the Transit District, SWERPA, and is now on the RTM. Jennifer is no Johnny- come -lately.

She knows her Town well. Vote for Jennifer Johnson.

Jo Ann Davidson

Westport

To the Editor:

Do you watch the P&Z Commission meetings on Public TV? You should! It is shocking! Members of the current Commission treat the public with disdain. The Commission conducts its meetings as if they were inquisitions. And as a result many in the public are afraid to testify. I watch regularly.

The behavior is the result of a Commission made up of people who simply have lost sight of their obligation to the public. It is time to bring civil discourse back to town government.

Watching and cringing has made me want to get involved this year. Thank heaven for an important option to support the candidacy of Jennifer Johnson for P & Z. She is the only one with a wealth of Westport experience. She has a strong base of knowledge about our town and an impressive record of commitment. She will work to bring civility back to the process.

And she’s got an amazing background as Transit Director for the Westport Transit District; Executive Board member of SWERPA; as a Commissioner of Westport Parks and Recreation and a voting member of the Metropolitan Planning Agency. Currently she serves as an RTM District 9 Rep and is an active participant in both Westport Downtown Improvement and the Saugatuck Transit Oriented Development Committees. Wow! Invaluable experience!

Please join me in voting for this breath of fresh air. It’s Jennifer Johnson for P & Z, She’s endorsed by the Coalition for Westport! The town needs Jennifer now more than ever!

Julie Belaga

Westport

To the Editor:

Chairman P & Z 1971-1974, RTM 1974-1975, State Representative 1976-1986, Republican candidate for Governor 1986, Regional Administrator EPA 1989 — 1993, Board member and Chief Operating Officer Exim Bank 1994-1999: There is simply no comparison between Jennifer Johnson and all the other candidates for P&Z in terms of expertise, experience and demonstrated commitment.

Westport is fortunate have such a candidate. She will be a breath if fresh air on the Commission.

Larry Weisman

Westport

To the Editor:

Westport residents love Compo Beach! But this past summer was one for the record books: record crowds, record traffic, record problems with garbage, bathrooms, and bad behavior, lack of enforcement, and concerning safety issues. A course correction is needed, and residents are joining their voices together to get the situation fixed by Summer 2018. We would like to announce the formation of Friends of Compo Beach and friendsofcompobeach.com. Our goals are:

1. Reduce the crowd sizes

2. Fix the traffic problem

3. Ensure parking for residents

4. Enforce rules for public behavior and courtesy

5. Ensure services such as boat ramps are accessible

6. Restore a safe, clean and environmentally sound beach

We are planning to gather and provide constructive, non-divisive feedback to town leaders and candidates about improvements needed in time for Summer 2018. We will remain organized and continue our activity until the goals are achieved. We welcome all residents to join us at friendsofcompobeach.com!

Geralyn Breig, Leslie Gallant, Nick Sadler

Westport

To the Editor:

At the national and state level, we are challenged by the lack of effectiveness of our leaders. From inflammatory positions and divisiveness, to an inability to govern our state effectively, we see inept action as the norm. It is one disappointment after another every night in the news.

However, at the local level, we find a pleasant surprise. We have an effective, experienced leader in Jim Marpe, who is focused on serving our community with positive action, integrity and transparency. Under Jim’s leadership, our schools continue their renowned status, our taxes remain low, Longshore renovations are on track, and, the community is in harmony. And in the background, many important initiatives to deal with the potential state budget fallout, traffic flow improvements, a new town WEB site, and other developments are ongoing.

Perhaps most importantly, Jim has shown not just a willingness, but a sincere desire for input on important issues from all members of the community, believing that smart people working together come up with the best solutions.

Is there a better alternative than continuing with this proven excellence in leadership at a time when we face such uncertainty with our state budget?

Thad Eidman

Westport

To the Editor:

I’m writing to express my enthusiastic support of Rob Simmelkjaer and his Westport Board of Selectman.

I first met Rob before he moved to Westport, through his brother and my business school classmate Mark. Since then, I have had the privilege of calling Rob a true “family friend.”

When we met, I was beginning the post-military phase of my career, having served five years as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. Rob took the time to give me some great career advice, urging me to do something that, like my military service, had consequence and meaning to me. His advice helped inspire me to run for the Westport Board of Finance four years ago. I’m now inspired again as I watch Melissa and he campaign to bring Westport into the future.

Westport is so fortunate to have Rob step up to serve our great town.

Blake Benke

Westport

To the Editor:

Last Tuesday I attended one of Melissa Kane’s “Brown Bag” lunch series in the large reading room at the Westport Library. I was very impressed by the range and depth of her responses to the men and women in attendance regarding economic stability in Westport and other issues.

Melissa spoke about numerous meetings she had with key people and leaders in the community and the input and feedback she received from them. She discussed future plans to work together with everyone to provide solutions for existing problems.

I urge anyone who needs information regarding plans to protect the citizens and town of Westport to attend “Tuesday with Melissa” at noon thru October 24th.

Linda J. Hall

Westport

To the Editor:

This year, more than ever, it is urgent that we elect the most experienced individuals to run Westport. Hartford is on the brink of bankruptcy, and the State of CT is in fiscal crisis. However, thanks to Jim Marpe, Westport remains fiscally sound. During the four years prior to Marpe’s administration, Westport’s mill rate went up by 25.4 percent compared to our peers’ increasing by 14.55 percent. For the four years after Jim was elected, our mill rate went down by 6.7 percent compared to our peers’ increasing by 17.12 percent.

Marpe did this while improving our quality of life. Jim supported our Seniors by enabling the renovation of the Senior Center. He invested in Westport, turning around Longshore, improving Compo Beach, and strongly supporting our world-class school system.

Jennifer Tooker has unparalleled experience as a senior manager at GE, as a member of the BOE, and as Chairman and member of the BOF. Jennifer understands how Westport works and has a proven track record of making our town better.

Jim and Jennifer are fully committed to continuing to run this town responsibly, and to refusing to allow national politics to set the tone for Westport. We should allow them to do that.

Morgan Mermagen

Westport

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