RTC Chair Reminds Voters of Positive Change Under Republicans
The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by Paul K. Improta, Chairman of the Republican Town Committee.
For the past several years, under Republican-led government Bethel has experienced positive change. It is important to remind folks that it always hasn’t been that way.
It wasn’t very long ago that Democrats on the school board, along with certain activists in the community, would accuse their fellow Bethelites of underfunding education. This annual ritual went on for years, and was used as a wedge to exploit emotions and to garner votes for Democrats. Particularly after the 1997 municipal elections when the cross-endorsed Independent Party, along with the Republicans were able to gain a strong ideological majority on the BOE, ending decades of Democratic control, this tactic was employed.
This tactic was soon expanded to the greater Democratic Party, extending to the campaigns of the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen, it became a mantra that Bethel, and particularly the Republicans wanted to cheat children out of a good education, cheat regular citizens out of a new library, a new school, a new fill-in-the-blank, and that every time a budget was voted down, it was because people were siding with those evil Republicans to deprive the rest of a better quality of life.
The problem with this tactic is that the noise generated by the Democrat campaigns and activists, along with the hysteria it generated bled into the larger community. People seeking to relocate to the area were cautioned to avoid Bethel as a result. This campaign tactic created a negative impression of our community which caused far-reaching negative implications, particularly with desirability and home prices.
In 2007 the voters of Bethel gave the Republicans a majority on all boards and commissions, and since that time the Republican Majority on the BOE has demonstrated that working with the school administrators, while also working within the town’s means, the schools have excelled, culminating with the class of 2011 of which the Superintendent wrote in his Academic Report “the Class of 2011 performed admirably in the classroom, on the athletic field and on the stage. 74 members of the class of 2011 earned a total of 83 scholarships and grants worth a total of $3,119,544. The Class of 2011 also completed more than 12,000 hours in community service. By this important measure, our school system is extraordinarily successful”. This report hardly reflects a deprived school system. More importantly, this achievement was accomplished, all the while the BOE consistently returned unspent money to the town’s General Fund.
The typical Bethel Voter is reflective of the Yankee ideal – enterprising, fiscally conservative and socially libertarian. This individualistic streak manifests itself in the form of suspicion and public dissent whenever activists threaten to disrupt the status quo, particularly if it involves spending large sums of money without reasonable justification. That being said, it is important to note that the Republican majority on the Board of Finance has been the authority to stand between an at times over-reaching Democrat –controlled Board of Selectmen.
With the jobless numbers hovering around 9% and an economy which is showing practically no growth, the last thing Bethel needs is a Democratic regime that is too quick to go into debt, borrowing against future revenues. When the citizens of the state are being punished with higher taxes by a Democratic Governor to pay for decades of mismanagement by his own party who has had a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly, the people of Bethel don’t need more taxes on the local level too.
Who is the Bethel Democratic Party today? One only needs to see which party cross endorses their candidates to see how out-of-touch they are with the average Bethel voter. See who the “Working Families Party” is, who started it and which organizations it is related to, and you will see that the Bethel Democrats do not reflect the values of the average Bethel Voter.
Today in Bethel, with the Republicans in majority, the negative noise level has subsided, the schools are as good as they have ever been, and there are steady hands on the purse. Do we really want to return to those days when the people of Bethel were not good enough for the naysayers who would spend your money and blame you for the effects of their negative campaigning? Let’s keep Bethel moving forward by electing Republicans to keep up the good work.
Paul K. Improta, Chairman, Republican Town Committee