Newly elected board: a chance for change

With Winsted’s 2009 municipal election behind us, Laurel City residents can take a breather and enjoy the pleasant feelings associated with a newly elected board. Thankfully, this season of rebirth and change comes around every two years for townspeople, who have the power to make the ultimate decisions on the town’s leadership.

One of the most pleasing results of this year’s vote comes in the fact that the Winchester Board of Selectmen is no longer dominated by a supermajority, which was the source of some consternation during the past term. With a more equitable balance of Democrats and Republicans, the board will now be required to reach consensus on many issues, including decisions on how to assemble boards and commissions.

The only danger is in the potential for the new Democratic majority, led by Candy Perez and George Closson, to engage in revenge politics, leaving Republicans out of the decision-making process and ignoring their ideas. This kind of tit-for-tat behavior would be good for no one in the long term and would certainly not help the new majority in the next election.

And, despite how some in the community might feel about the local GOP, former Mayor Ken Fracasso and Selectman Karen Beadle have proven themselves to be level-headed community members who actually listen to opposing arguments and think independently. While debate over the issues is healthy and encouraged, it would be nice to see Republicans and Democrats agreeing on some issues as the new term commences.

These selectmen should be strongly encouraged by members of the public to end partisan politics and make decisions based on the consensus of individuals and not a party agenda. Partisan bullying didn’t work during the last term, and more of it will only result in increased voter apathy. In these difficult economic times, town leaders cannot afford to lose any more allies.

The election of a new board offers an opportunity for a real change, but not the kind that is ushered in by a bully pulpit. Cooperation, empathy and civility are this board’s recipe for success.

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