Our endorsements

This may be remembered as the year of the disenfranchised voter. Donald Trump gained the Republican Party’s nomination by bringing out to the polls many who had not recently, or perhaps ever, voted, yet who found in his anti-immigration, anti-free trade, anti-you-name-it campaign a reason to become newly active. Bernie Sanders led a movement of voters, many of them young but not all, who saw in his challenge to the Democratic Party’s establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, the road to a progressive revolution.

Trump, of course, became the nominee, to poor effect at this point in the campaign, alienating with his extreme rhetoric wide swaths of those who do regularly vote, including many in his own party. Sanders, of course, lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton, but she gained his support and listened to him and to the concerns of his constituents to form her platform, leaning more to the left of center than she has previously to unite her party.

For this reason alone, Clinton deserves to win. She has shown her skills of negotiation, and used them to lead her party through the campaign in a fully inclusive way. While we could go through the laundry list of revelations of poor judgment and bad behavior by Trump, you know them all. We choose to endorse Hillary Clinton because of her strengths, including an understanding of the profound challenges the country and the world face and her knowledge of our nation’s place in global politics. She will lead the country responsibly and with full awareness of the importance of uniting it after this brutal election.

U.S. Senate

The Connecticut race for U.S. Senate has been low-key, with Republican state Rep. Dan Carter mounting a late and largely financially unsupported challenge to Democratic incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal is way ahead in the polls, and deserves to win again for his work on gun control and support for veterans. He keeps in touch with constituents in the Northwest Corner, and will serve the state well for the next six years.

U.S. House 5th District

Democratic incumbent for the U.S. Congress 5th District Elizabeth Esty has grown in her role and has been strong on gun control, immigration reform and helping constituents tap into government money they are owed. She has also maintained a presence in the Northwest Corner. Republican Clay Cope has offered a real alternative to Esty, but we endorse her and believe she will continue her active stance in Congress to good effect.

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The seats in Hartford for Northwest Corner towns are in the unusual mode of having both incumbents stepping down.  In this situation, there will be a learning curve for whoever is voted into office, but that can be a good thing when voters are looking for new faces and new approaches to solving intractable problems at every level of government.

State Senate 30th District

Many still think of the 30th District state Senate role as Andrew Roraback’s, though Clark Chapin (a Republican like Roraback) served two terms since Roraback’s departure, first to run for Congress, then to the state judiciary. Democrat David Lawson and Republican Craig Miner both bring credible skills to the race, Miner a longtime state representative and Lawson a teacher who serves as chair of his local school board. Either of these candidates would serve well. 

Miner, however, has learned how to work with a Democratic majority and cooperate with a common sense approach. While we don’t agree with all his environmental or gun control stances, his experience in the Legislature and ability to understand the finances of the state will only help him in being effective in addressing the biggest issue the General Assembly will face in its next session: the state budget. He has our endorsement.

State House 64th District

The two candidates for the 64th District of the state House of Representatives follow a tough act: Democratic State Rep. Roberta Willis has over her 16 years in office found many ways to improve the lives of her constituents. As she steps down, Democrat Bill Riiska and Republican Brian Ohler are each looking to step up into this office. 

Both are capable and are dedicated to the towns that make up the 64th, and either would surely grow in the position as Willis did over time. We endorse Riiska, who benefits from his long experience as a lawyer, as well as on a range of boards and commissions in northwest Connecticut over 25 years.

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Thanks are due to all the candidates who have put themselves in the hot seat to run for office. Our democracy only survives each election cycle because of those who believe in it enough to step up and risk losing in order to have the opportunity to serve in government, at every level.

Regardless of how you will vote, please do be sure to get out and vote on Nov. 8.