The following is a letter to the editor.
By Louis Bevilacqua
Life is too important to leave everything entirely up to chance. That is why political parties were created in this republican experiment called America. We need a hedge of competition to ensure that the people who gain power are beholden to us the citizenry and not to their select clique of wealthy insiders.
I have known the Christiano family since my days as the legislative director and spokesman of the largest Council in the state, the Bridgeport City Council. Tom and his wife Kathy are lovely people who like the most of us work hard to make ends meet in this overpriced State. I’m not sure how long they have lived in this now exclusive community, but my grandparents remember when barely 8,000 folks lived here, it was rural farmland, undeveloped and intended for a different sensibility. Kathy, a very well connected person to the political hoi polloi of Broad street is the curator of Phineas Barnum’s museum and we would lunch frequently with various city officials for the common good.
I don’t think Tom should run for office again. I was proud when he won that one term for the other General Assembly district nearly ten years ago. I was proud to support him in that effort, but times change and he shouldn’t put his family through that ordeal again. He did hold a term on the Council and then one term in Hartford, but whatever he could have achieved in an additional term he could have done while he was in power. That is why he lost. He was nominated for Council District 2 last year and won, but this does not make him a viable candidate for the 123rd. You would have to explain what he would do differently and that is a hard argument to make because he had the nomination of the Democratic party and that should have been all he needed.
Because he has run for office about ten
times, because he was redistricted into the 123rd prior to T.R. Rowe’s ‘retirement’, because he has
almost always lost his race when nominated by the democrats, a re-nomination
stagnates the party spirit and casts doubt on its effectiveness.
In short a re-nomination of Mr. Christiano means certain defeat for the
Democrats and victory for the wet behind the ears restaurateur from Fairfield,
Davey Rutigliano. While I personally
have no interest in the seat at this time, as I think the people of this town
have made rather clear what type of representation they want, I do have an
interest in good government and democratic politics. I represent a frugal sensibility that once
was Trumbull. Balanced budgets, simple
living and a type of community where one could raise a family. I don’t need to hold local office to feel important.
I’ve already held political office.
These folks in power might wish to divvy the spoils amongst themselves, but over time that is the death of democracy, they had a similar situation during the era of Nothnagle, but even he was a moderate compared to these guys. Trumbull now represents an almost socialist planned community. It’s more bullytown than Gomer Pyle.
Whatever you think of Rutigliano, whether you like him for his push to allow booze on Sunday (in contrast to 400 years of law) or the decriminalization of weed or the fact that he is the darling of the real estate lobby which wants to develop Indian Ledge Park as a place for battered and abused women, democracy must be directed by ethical leaders who are for the people.
It should make the Connecticut GOP think it is a gift horse for Tom to be on the democratic line. At its lowest point, not just in fundraising, the party of John Davis Lodge needs something to hope for but that is not the purpose of the party process or democracy. The 123rd district has been solidly Republican since the 1890’s when a member of the Nichols family switched parties. I only know this because a cousin of mine married into their family after the second world war. Politics were different back then and the town was a unique and special place.
When a democrat receives automatic nomination like with Tom, it can be a reward of loyalty. But when it occurs in such fashion as what has happened in Trumbull, it defeats future leadership building efforts and places him in a difficult spot. Our party must be about obtaining power for the good of the people, and we cannot obtain power through a Christiano candidacy. State Democrat leadership should appoint him to various other roles or honors with commissions if they want him to remain active, but to nominate Thomas Christiano again is to elect a one term incumbent Rutigliano at his weakest.
Louis A. Bevilacqua