Attention candidates. On Thursday, Sept. 19, we distributed our candidate questionnaires to the party chairs, so they could distribute them to their candidates on all of the town boards, from Town Council and Board of Education to Board of Finance and Planning and Zoning. If you have not yet received your questionnaire, feel free to contact Observer editor John Goralski at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.
The questions are designed to offer candidates a chance to talk directly to voters, but they also offer us a chance to keep them accountable for the promises they made two years ago during the last municipal election.
In 2017, Democrats regained control of the council, bolstered in part by voters’ frustration at the many controversies and scandals in town. Complaints about ethics code violations led to new disclosures for Southington officials. Arguments about the hiring process for the Town Manager position and complaints about backdoor meetings and process led to heated discussions that polarized voters.
That didn’t stop after Election Day. Watching arguments about the process of hiring a Town Attorney looked like a bad re-run with Republicans and Democrats switching roles to replay the same conversation from a different point of view. Board leadership changed, but off-the-books meetings continued with Hartford HealthCare about the future of Bradley Hospital. So much for promises about open government.
It wasn’t just the council. Every single Board of Education member that won promised that the budget would be their top focus, but they passed the two largest budget increases in recent history with very little scrutiny, forcing other boards to do their work. So much for promises. This fall, voters will determine who will represent them in the schools next term.
This year, we offered pointed questions for the Town Council and the Board of Education about these issues, in addition to the typical open-ended questions to allow them to share their perspective about what they felt were the biggest issues of the past term and the biggest challenges for the next. We hope voters read all their answers carefully, so that ballots can be cast for candidates that will best represent voters—not parties, lobby groups, or even the candidates’ own financial or personal interests—over the next term.
The deadline for submission is noon on Friday, Oct. 4 for Board of Finance and Planning and Zoning candidates. Deadline is noon on Friday, Oct. 11 for BOE and council candidates. In an effort to keep the process fair to all candidates, we will not print questionnaires received after the deadline.
Election-related letters from our readers
We invite readers to contribute letters to the editor. Please include a name, address, and phone number and email us at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com. There is a limit of 350 words. The deadline for any election-related letters is Friday, Oct. 18 to give candidates a chance at rebuttal. We caution that, if you wait until the deadline and volume is high, you might not get into print.
We will strive to be balanced in how we determine who to run and who not to run, which is based on practicality—there is only so much physical space in a newspaper—rather than an attempt to silence anybody’s viewpoints.
We will try to publish the letters that do not make the printed version of The Observer on our website, www.SouthingtonObserver.com, but that will also depend on the volume. Finally, everything submitted is expected to follow our policies on letters to the editor.
To comment on this story or to contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.