As we fight our way through yet another budget season, I felt inspired to write you all a letter. No, this will not be yet another plea for the funding we so desperately need. It’s not even about our current transportation crisis. In fact, it’s not about the budget at all.
For those of you who don’t know me well, I travel a lot for my “other” full time job. Earlier this month I spent a week in a country ruled by a theocratic monarchy. A country where women are not treated as equals and where speaking out against leadership is punishable by law. Seven days after my return, as I found myself standing in the middle of the CT Convention Center as a delegate to our State Convention, it struck me—I mean, truly struck me—how blessed I am to live in a country governed by a democracy. I reflected on the incredible opportunity I had to be a part of that democracy and all the reasons that eventually lead me to put my name on the ballot last November.
Despite the apparent rumor around town that Shelton’s elected officials are highly overpaid, you and I both know the harsh reality, don’t we? That being even just a small part of this great “American Experiment” is a sacrifice; all the missed sports competitions and piano recitals, the forgone bedtime stories, the awful frozen dinners, the days spent away from our paid jobs in order to fulfil the obligations of our elected positions. The sleepless nights. The social media beatings. The list goes on and on.
So why do we do it? Or, more to the point, why did YOU do it?
When you reflect on those early days, just before that first election, what was on your mind? In your heart? Were you compelled to drive city growth and expansion? To improve the economics of our community? To make your voice heard on important issues? To set an example for your children?
Looking back, I can summarize my own motivation as simply this: I believe. I believe that Shelton growth and expansion means more than just some new apartment buildings and a Big Y. I believe that our wealth is determined by more than just our mill rate. I believe in the enrichment of our community through investments in our community. I believe that the only way to prepare our children to compete in a global economy is to ensure that their education can compete in their local county. I believe in preparing and inspiring the next generation of elected Shelton officials. But mostly, I believe we can do better. We can BE better.
I’m not sure when or how all this bad blood developed between the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Education. It was long before my time. But I am certain that as you reflect on your own motivation for public service and look ahead to the legacy you want to leave behind, you’ll agree that Shelton deserves better.
Let’s give it to them.
Your friend and colleague.