Historically significant, deeply troubling events on the national stage these past three months highlight ever-present, potential threats to this nation’s government, and the persistent willingness of many to use violence to depose representative democracy for the sake of authoritarian control.
In Woodbridge, the lesson rings loud and clear about the privilege and responsibility it is to nurture a government of, by, and for residents – a government responsive to the essential needs of those who live here, the legal obligations every government has, and the generally accepted administrative functions serving the best interests of residents.
As Woodbridge approaches its local elections – on Monday, May 3 this year – the Democratic Town Committee will enthusiastically promote the unanimously endorsed and nominated slate of candidates whose members have already and repeatedly demonstrated the necessary commitment, spirit, and sense of community service consistent with that tradition of government responsibility.
At the top of the slate, First Selectman Beth Heller, R.N. will stand for re-election. It is fortunate Woodbridge has a healthcare professional as its chief elected official to steer the town through a prolonged pandemic. Beyond that, Beth’s experience – as Deputy First Selectmen from 2008 – 2017, First Selectman since 2017, and on other boards and commissions in town since the 1990s – uniquely qualifies her to continue in her role at the helm of town operations.
Joining Beth on the slate are current Selectman and former state Senator Joe Crisco, former Woodbridge Board of Education chair and current Amity Board of Education member Sheila McCreven, and current Board of Finance member Paul Kuriakose.
Endorsed candidates for the Woodbridge Board of Education are incumbents Mike Strambler, Ph.D. and David Ross, M.D., Ph.D., as well as current PTO Treasurer Maria Madonick, A.P.R.N. and D.N.A.P. candidate, and Jay Dayha, Ph.D., who is also active in PTO, an engaged MAG parent, and a current member of the Beecher Road School Diversity Committee.
Democratic candidates for the Amity Board of Education are Carol Oladele, Ph.D., and marketing executive Donna Shuster, each of whom has children enrolled in Amity schools and each of whom is already active in the Amity community.
On the Zoning Board of Appeals, the town is fortunate to have the entire group of Democratic incumbents running again with their accumulated experience and familiarity with Woodbridge zoning ordinances. Chairman Hank Nusbaum and Jeff Atwood will continue their valuable service if re-elected; current member Aldon Hynes is running for the Alternate spot this time while current Alternate Celia Waters is now a candidate for a full-time seat on the board.
Likewise, incumbent Board of Assessment Appeals member Andy Schaffer, J.D., a life-long Woodbridge resident, will apply his experience and continue his service on that important board if re-elected.
This group of exceptional Woodbridge residents is part of what was a larger pool of potential candidates, each of whom was equally willing to volunteer time, talent, and expertise to the Town and its residents, as well as to the public schools and the students and families thereof. The WDTC is grateful to have had such bounty with so many qualified candidates – it helps restore faith in our system of government after the events of these past few months and years.
Over the next 75 days campaign materials will be made available to help Woodbridge voters become better acquainted with the candidates they do not know already. I encourage town residents to scrutinize the experience and qualities of the WDTC-endorsed, formally nominated candidates – individual profiles will soon be available at https://woodbridgectdems.org.
Afterward, I hope you will agree: Woodbridge is once again fortunate to have each of them willing to give of themselves and bring their respective capabilities to bear for the greater good of the town, its government, and its people.
Laurence Grotheer is the current chairman of the Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org). He has more than 20 years’ experience in state and municipal government working professionally, in appointed positions, and in elected office.