Letter: Republicans could have done the right thing

To the Editor:

At his recent swearing in Mr. Herbst said, “Here is the question I pose tonight to the elected officials in both parties seated behind me tonight: Will we govern together or will we govern separately? I believe we have a moral obligation to govern together.” This is a high-minded sentiment and one I agree with. However, as I learned long ago, actions speak louder than words and the action taken by the Town Council with respect to the selection of alternates for the Board of Finance shows there is little substance to Mr. Herbst’s high-minded rhetoric.

Briefly, the Town Council had the opportunity to make right a poor decision made by the previous Council. The previous Council had rejected a compromise where there would be one Republican alternate, one Democratic alternate and one Unaffiliated alternate on the Board of Finance. Instead, that Council chose to select two Republicans and one Unaffiliated alternate thereby leaving the Democrats no alternate of their choice. The same compromise was offered at the Jan. 6 Town Council meeting and once again the Council chose partisan politics over common sense and fairness. Why is this necessary?

In putting forth my case for fairness and balance, I quoted Mr. Herbst's swearing in speech. I personally voted for one for the Republican nominees as an example of bi-partisan spirit. However, when faced with a situation where we could show respect for one another as fellow volunteers and to have our actions match the words of the First Selectman, the Council refused and once again left the Democrats on the Board of Finance with no alternate of their choice. This is a sad commentary on the state of politics in our community.

Please note, this has nothing to do with either of the Republicans being considered. This has nothing to do with the fact that alternates vote their own conscience. It does have to do with how we treat each other as community volunteers. It has to do with whether we can put aside party affiliation and show respect for points of view that may differ from our own. You will hear how when the Democrats were in control they did this or that. That may be true but since when do two wrongs make a right? The Republicans justified their nasty attack mailers against Town Volunteers by citing examples of Democrats doing the same in the past. Republicans justified rejecting qualified Democratic nominees for Boards and Commissions by citing examples of Democrats doing the same. Is this necessary?

The Republicans on the Town Council had the opportunity to do the right thing. They had the opportunity to break the cycle of tit for tat retribution that makes so many look at government with disdain. They had the opportunity to grasp reasonable compromise and make a statement that fairness and common sense have a place in politics. They failed. When does this nonsense come to an end? When do we make our actions match our words?

Vicki Tesoro

Trumbull Town Council, District 3 Democrat