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From Thanksgiving to the New Year: Days of Gratitude, Celebration and Determination [Opinion]

This time of year sees us balancing work, school, family gatherings, and celebratory get-togethers.  People are busy and the pace can be hectic.  At the same time, it is a time of contemplation and gratitude for what the year has brought us and of hope and determination for the year ahead.

We have had much to celebrate in Woodbridge this year.  It is our good fortune to live in a town of extraordinary beauty, where open space abounds and miles of hiking trails are easily accessible.

We share a deep commitment to our children and to providing outstanding education for them from pre-k through high school.  We were able to come together to approve the budgets necessary to maintain the high standards of Beecher Road School and the Amity School District.

Our Town employees have enhanced our quality of life in innumerable ways and we thank them all:  the Finance Department and Town Hall staff; Police Officers, Volunteer Firefighters and their support staff; the Human Services Department, including Youth Services and the Senior Center; Parks, Public Works and the Recreation Departments.  Our outstanding library adds to the richness of our lives and our Town Clerk’s office and Registrars of Voters provide the tools we need to participate with confidence in our elections and our democracy.

And, of course, the hundreds of volunteers who serve on our on-going Boards and Commissions donate countless hours and their considerable expertise to keep our Town running.

First Selectwoman Beth Heller has continued to provide strong leadership on key issues.  The ad hoc committees she has created are tackling longstanding areas of concern:

  • The Community and Cultural Center Building Committee is working on a plan to transform the Old Fire House to a space where Town residents can gather for organized events, social gatherings, performances, and more;
  • The Ad Hoc Woodbridge 2030 Committee is concentrating on the long-term grand list potential of the Woodbridge Business District as well as more vibrant, mixed-use opportunities for the area;
  • The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is bringing the community together to celebrate our diversity and to identify and address areas where we can improve and grow;
  • -The Woodbridge Housing Committee completed the required long-term plan to promote a mix of housing opportunities, including affordable housing, and has moved on to its next task: a plan to facilitate the implementation of the strategies set forth in the Affordable Housing Plan.

Looking beyond our Town, Governor Lamont and our State legislators focused on our fiscal future, dedicating budget surpluses to significantly reducing state debt.  Their fiscal stewardship brings many benefits, including Standard and Poor’s increase of Connecticut’s bond credit rating.

At the national level, this year brought some welcome, if overdue, causes for celebration.  Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act, with what has been called “stunning bipartisan” support, to protect same-sex and interracial marriages.  And President Biden appointed and Congress confirmed the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.  Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wasted no time in making her brilliant voice heard!  In addition, we saw the first national gun safety legislation passed in 30 years.

Importantly this year, voters turned out in our Town, across Connecticut, and around our nation to support candidates who believe in truth, fairness, the rule of law, and making better lives for everyone.  Just last week, the voters of Georgia made this abundantly clear.

As we look forward to the New Year and the many challenges that lie ahead, we take strength from the benefits and supports we enjoy as residents of Woodbridge and the advances we see at the State and Federal levels.  Together, with renewed determination, we will face the challenges ahead.

The Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee invites you to join us in our work in the coming year.  If you are interested in learning more about us, please get in touch by email at communications@woodbridgedems.org or visit our website, woodbridgeCTdems.org.

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