Old Lyme Deserves Competent Leadership, Democrats Will Bring the Change We Need

To the Editor:

Tim Griswold, the current First Selectman in Old Lyme, is unresponsive to town concerns. Griswold’s years of inaction on the flooding of Black Hall Pond, and months of inaction on the Tantummaheag Landing dispute have contributed to anger and divisiveness within the community.

Additionally, Griswold has allowed Old Lyme’s insurance against cyberattacks to lapse. Griswold’s failure means that if Old Lyme were attacked, the town would be on the hook for substantial costs. For a town that spends a lot of time worrying about mill rates, this fiscal irresponsibility is inexcusable.

Griswold also appears to live by different rules than the rest of us. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, and masks are required at Town Hall. The mask requirement is clearly and prominently stated on the home page of the town web site.

Despite this clearly-stated requirement, Griswold has not worn a mask during recent public meetings. Rules apply to all of us, and this town deserves leadership that doesn’t ignore the rules the rest of us need to live by.

Griswold’s position on the resolution on Racism as a Public Health Crisis is incoherent. Griswold’s position — which is supported by the Republican second selectman ,- appears to be that Old Lyme as a town has no need to even discuss the impacts of race. This stance is absurd on its face, and ignores the reality that Old Lyme does not exist in a bubble. We can’t put our fingers in our ears and shout down viewpoints that make us uncomfortable. We need leadership that models adult behavior. Griswold has failed to lead, and his Republican running mates appear perfectly okay with this.

An example of what Republican leadership looks like around issues of race can be seen in this public comment made by a school board candidate on the Republican slate. This comment was left on an op-ed discussing racism as a public health issue:

“While the Congregational members are distracted with resolutions created by Marxist terrorists that have nothing to do with any laws in our town, a large, real problem of sex trafficking is alive and doing well in the country that represents the most child pornography in the world.”

Republican candidates could correct or reject extremist views, but this hasn’t happened. Instead, Republicans have doubled down and tried to claim that public statements somehow shouldn’t be relevant.

We need leaders who can talk coherently about race, who live by the same rules as the rest of us, and are responsive to the needs of the town. We need leaders to listen and learn from criticism. Based on public actions and statements of the Republican and Democratic candidates, we have an important choice to make. Old Lyme deserves competent leadership, and the Democrats will bring the change we need.

William Fitzgerald
Old Lyme, CT

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