Letter - What bipartisanship looks like

To the editor;

One of the reasons why I decided to run for town council in Trumbull is that I really believed I could work with members of both parties to bring compromise and bipartisanship to a council that I felt was much too divided and in need of people who would be willing to work together across party lines.

I was fortunate enough to win a seat on the council, but it was not very long before the partisan divisions showed themselves. I began to wonder if it would even be possible to achieve the goal that led me to want to serve in the first place. I wondered if I had been naïve. I wondered whether the divisions simply ran too deep to be able to bridge the divide.

Then, I saw it happen. I watched the work this year of the bipartisan commission looking at reforms to our town charter. I watched as members of both parties along with their independent counterparts went through a list of changes they would bring to the town for consideration.

At first, it looked like the same old patterns of division might return. As the commission presented some of the changes, the minority leader of the council expressed some concerns. I stiffened for the coming pushback, but it never came.

Instead, members of the commission expressed appreciation to the minority leader for bringing those concerns to the discussion and offered amendments to the language. After a brief back and forth, the concerns were addressed, additional changes made, and the discussion moved on to the next items. This continued throughout, and it occurred to me that this is what bipartisanship actually looks like.

In the end, not every single change was unanimous, but the tone was civil and respectful. More importantly, however, the experience showed me that it really is possible to work together and find common ground on which we can all stand.

I would like to thank the members of the Charter Revision Commission - Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated alike - for reminding us what things can look like when we all work together in the best interests of our town.

Kevin Shively (D) District 2

Trumbull Town Council