Local politics should never be about us versus them or red versus blue. While disagreements are inevitable and can foster productive conversations, incivility is never the answer.

As an ordinary resident who became more engaged in town politics for the benefit of my young son, I’ve been alarmed at the toxic tone the current administration has set.

For the past eight years, our small town has faced an administration that lacks respect — and even shows contempt — for members of this community when they challenge the status quo or dare to ask a question. Residents who offer new ideas are brushed aside, those with questions are ignored, and requests for transparency and accountability are met with roadblocks and eye rolls.  

But what I’ve learned is that it does not have to be this way.

As Trumbullites, no matter our differences, it’s clear we all want the same things at our core – great schools, steady taxes, beautiful parks, and an overall vibrant community for residents and small businesses to thrive in. However, in order to work productively, we need a leader to bring us together and Town Council representatives to advocate on our behalf.

It’s true that First Selectman Tim Herbst will soon exit his office, taking his aggressive, immature governing approach to the governor’s race. But he will leave behind successors who have sat silent as this divisive culture took hold. They too need to leave.

On November 7, Vicki Tesoro and her team of candidates have my vote. They are passionate about creating an inclusive, transparent government that respects the voices of everyone who lives here. Vicki is qualified, knowledgeable, professional, and incredibly kind. That's the kind of person that we need to move Trumbull forward together.

I want to live in a community where people like me can get involved and offer ideas on important town issues without fear of being attacked for absolutely no reason. I know that under a Tesoro administration, residents would never be retaliated against for speaking up, and instead be greeted with an open mind. Citizens of this great town deserve nothing less.

So this November, remember that you have an important choice to make. If you want a say in how your government works, vote for a first selectman and council representatives who will listen to your ideas and concerns, not for those who simply want to tell you what is good for you and your family.