.

I am a Baldwin Democrat

And I'm proud to wear that label.

Recently, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Trumbull Republican Party boss Jack Testani issued a press release in which they derisively referred to Board of Finance Member Andy Palo as a "Baldwin Democrat."

Herbst and Testani intended the comment to be demeaning and critical.  But Herbst and Testani don't understand that their words are taken exactly opposite how they intended them.

I am a Baldwin Democrat.  And I'm very proud of it.

You see, most everyone in Trumbull has a great deal of respect for Raymond G. Baldwin, Jr.  He's the kind of person that many people would like to emulate.  He's the kind of person that you want your kids to aspire to be like.  He's the kind of friend you want to have.  

Ray Baldwin was born and raised in Trumbull.   He attended St. Theresa's Elementary School and St. Joseph High School.  Ray served in the armed forces in the U.S. Marine Corps, and fought for our country in Vietnam.  Upon returning to Trumbull, Ray once again put his life on the line by becoming one of Trumbull's finest and he served for many years on the Trumbull Police Department.  Meanwhile, he earned his law degree and became an attorney all while raising his family right here in Trumbull.  He also participated in a wide array of community organizations and activities, including the Trumbull Rotary Club. 

Ray Baldwin first ran to be First Selectman in 1999.  He was not deterred when he lost to Ken Halaby, and he ran once again and was elected in 2001.  He served as First Selectman of Trumbull for eight years.  During this time, Ray was at the helm when the quality of the Trumbull public school system was restored after a decade of being underfunded.  Frenchtown School was opened while he was First Selectman, as well as the Trumbull Early Childhood Education Center (TECEC).  800 additional students came into the Trumbull school system during the Baldwin administration as public school enrollment swelled from 6,200 to 7,000.  The renovation of Trumbull High School was approved under his leadership.  In addition to his role as a steward of public education, the Town bought hundreds of acres of land to be preserved as open space, protecting the quality of life in Trumbull for generations to come.  Ray Baldwin also restored stability and faith in our police department and improved public safety.  The town paved its roads and dramatically improved the quality of all of our parks.  On the financial side, Trumbull increased its rainy day surplus in the general fund to $15 million and maintained a stellar bond rating.  Home values flourished during his administration.

Ray Baldwin is a good man and he's done a lot for Trumbull.  He still contributes to the local community serving as President of St. Vincent's Special Needs, an organization dedicated to helping children with significant disabilities.  His is a life well lived, and we should all be grateful to him for his contributions.

So, for these reasons and many others, I will proudly call myself a Baldwin Democrat.  The local Republicans can try to use this label in a demeaning way, but I know that many local Democrats will be proud to wear it.  The guy put his life in harm's way in Vietnam, and put himself in danger once again to protect life and limb as a member of the Trumbull P.D.  I'm proud to stand with him now.

As they saying goes, you don't know what you've got until it's gone.  I made a mistake in 2009 by not supporting Ray Baldwin.  I will own that error in judgment and seek to avoid those missteps in the future. In retrospect, I can see clearly that Trumbull was in capable hands, and how far we've fallen since. 

Thank you, Ray.  You may never get your proper thanks because of the nature of politics, but Trumbull is a better place because of you. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Flynn October 14, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Classy! Ray did a great job during his FS tenure in making Trumbull a better town to live in
Kathleen McGannon October 14, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I, too, am proud to be a Baldwin Democrat. I switched from the Republican Party back in 2000 in order to run on his ticket. And I never regretted the switch. Ray never minded it when his own party had a different view of things. He welcomed different ideas and different views. He was never afraid to alter his thinking if someone's idea might work better. People liked to call us "rubber stampers" but in truth, most things that we voted for had already been discussed and changed based on consensus. Ray was excellent at working with everyone. There were many Republicans who found him easy to work with. He didn't hold grudges or extract "payback" for perceived slights. He was a pleasure to work with. Wherever he goes, people ask when he will run again. I wish he would!
Joan October 14, 2012 at 03:13 AM
It was a much nicer town to live in back when Baldwin was First Selectman. One reason is because we had events such as Trumbull Day that brought families and neighbors together to enjoy a beloved annual tradition. Our town has been diminished these last 3 years.
dave wilsoon October 14, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Thanks all you Baldwin democrats for our YEARS LONG property tax fueled spending orgy , accepting questionable loans for/from cronies (for entertainment no less), free health care insurance for certain town employees (w/o justification or approvals), a totally dysfunctional sewer project (see FBI) and most importantly telling our seniors to move out if they couldn't afford the taxes !! YOU ALL HAVE DONE YOURSELVES PROUD
Tom Kelly October 14, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Even though wilsoon's post is largely incoherent, I will make the point that Ray Baldwin's tax increases were largely tied to the influx of children into the school system and the need to upgrade the quality of our public schools. But the bigger question for those who criticize the Baldwin increases is very simple: If Ray Baldwin's spending increases were unreasonable, why didn't Tim Herbst cut out what was wasteful? No, he kept every penny of spending in Baldwin's budgets, and increased spending further, not just once, not just twice, but THREE consecutive years of higher spending than Baldwin--this despite the fact that school enrollment has NOT gone up under Herbst. Why did Herbst increase spending 4.6% overall and raised the town side spending by more than 5.5% if Baldwin's increases were unjustified? Why, according to the town's own budget reports is there more than 10 full time equivalent positions in the current budget than there was under Baldwin's last budget? The political rhetoric and the actions under the Herbst administration are not in synch. Don't listen to what they say, watch what they do! The budget for the town of Trumbull is more than 8% higher than the day Baldwin left office! Multiple NEW and highly paid positions have been created! Look at the fleet of town cars still be paid for by the taxpayers for Trumbull officials to drive whereever they want. Look at the number of cellphones still in use. Look at what these politicians actually DO!
Tim Hendrie October 14, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Whatever. Jim
Tim Hendrie October 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
i'm glad to hear Tom is calling for budget cuts.
Tom Kelly October 14, 2012 at 04:04 PM
If I was running for First Selectman (I'm not), there would be a lot of areas that I would focus on like a laser to cut in the budget. Herbst keeps increasing the number of town employees. He loves to quote that he's saved this and he's saved that, but he never subtracts from that savings the things he's ADDED. Don't believe me, look at the official minutes of the Town Council and see the new positions created, and the number upgraded from part-time to full-time. I can't make this up, it's all in the budget. The number of FTE's in his last budget is more than 10 higher than Baldwin's last budget. A couple of new employees each year doesn't sound like a lot, but they add up quickly. Beyond looking at the number of employees, I would look to get rid of TAXPAYER FUNDED TOWN CARS to a wide range of employees. If I was First Selectman, I would REFUSE to take a town car. I have a car and I don't need the taxpayers of Trumbull to be paying for my gas and my transportation. That is a luxury that should be examined IMMEDIATELY. Herbst and his crew have proclaimed they are fiscally discliplined, but their track record shows exactly the opposite. That being said, this article is really a tribute to Ray Baldwin. I would be happy to continue the debate about taxes and spending in any other thread, but I hope we can focus this on honoring a man who has done so much for Trumbull and for our country. I will stick to that going forward, and I hope others will, too.Thank you.
Jim Flynn October 14, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I think there is plenty of room for budget cuts in all of the increases that Herbst has provided to his office and staff. Of course, we are starting from a $70K hole because of his naivete in concert promotion.
Tim Hendrie October 14, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Is that like being a Obama Democrat?
dave wilsoon October 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM
sounds very partisan, almost like a guy running for something. another baldwin tax and spend liberal
Kathleen McGannon October 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Dave, Nothing said will change your mind. The fact that Ray had to accommodate 800+ students, built 2 schools, preserved open space does not register with you. Nor does the fact that Tim has increased head count by 10 FTE, increased spending on the town side more than 5%, given out cell phones--i-phones--and distributed take home vehicles despite what he stated when he campaigned. But Tom wrote this article, and Tom has asked us to keep the discussion to how great a job Ray does and what a good man he is. That's the reason why Tim constantly tries to attack his reputation--he can't hold a candle to Ray's likability! No matter where Ray goes, people flock to him. Ask him to run again. Feel connected to him. That's the kind of man he is. He holds no grudges, lets by-gones be by-gones, and realizes that politics was only one small aspect of his life. He has family he loves, hobbies that hold his interest, and many friends to whom he is fiercely loyal. His life was, and is, well-balanced. I am proud to call him a friend and loved working with him for the betterment of Trumbull. Thank you, Tom, for focusing this attention on a great First Selectman!!!!
Tim Hendrie October 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Who signed the sewer contracts?
Tom Kelly October 17, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Tim, I don't know if you live in Trumbull, but if you do, I urge you to look at your last WPCA bill. If you didn't look at that one closely, check on the next one which will be in soon. Chances are, you are paying a lot more. Back in February, the WPCA sat in a public information meeting at Madison Middle School and stated without reservation that when they changed the billing method to capture actual water use over the summer months, they would adjust the rates downward for all users because their goal was not to raise total revenues, but only to more fairly allocate the charges amongst users. However, there has been no downward revision in sewage treatment rates. Rather, the WPCA is now considering a 1.4% INCREASE in rates. Meanwhile, the North Nichols Sewer project is STILL NOT FINISHED. These residents have not yet gotten their sewer assessments. Who do you think is paying for those sewers if the residents of North Nichols are not paying for them? Do you think our obligation is simply suspended under the assessments start to be paid? No. We are ALL paying for them. You can infer whatever you'd like about sewer contracts, but in my opinion, this administration has done a terrible job of managing the sewers. Trumbull residents are paying more, and there has been absolutely no transparency in terms of where we are on a new contract with Bridgeport or on the subject of sewer regionalization, which is one of the most important issues facing Trumbull.

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