Statement on recent events

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As members of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee, we pledge to promote equality under the law and respect for all persons regardless of gender identity, race, disability, ethnic or national origin, or sexual orientation. We strive to uphold individual dignity and to recognize the value of diversity while working to preserve and promote the sense of community that unites us all in our day-to-day struggles and successes. We work to heal divisions in our community and believe that government works best when all the people of Danbury are brought together.

On July 30th, Danbury Democratic Town Committee member Martha Rhodes posted a comment on her personal page about 5th Congressional District primary candidate Jahana Hayes . Her comments were offensive. Her statement does not reflect the attitudes or ideals of the Democratic Town Committee. In no way does the Democratic Town Committee support or defend her statement.

We must strive to be the party of inclusion and seek the participation by and service to all people in our communities. Elected officials have a responsibility to reflect these principals in all we do, especially given the political and racial climate we face.

However, Ms. Rhodes’ inappropriate and gross misjudgment does provide us with the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons – and move forward. To that end, Democrat party leadership is to committed bringing the people of Danbury together to address the topic of race and racism in our community.

Letter from the Chair

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Fellow Democrats!
Each of us has a unique story behind why we choose to be a Democrat and what motivates us to participate in safe-guarding the American freedoms that we hold dear. With modern politics resting on a foundation that seemingly shifts daily and our political landscape venturing into uncharted territory, now, more than ever, it is time to be actively engaged in the business of being a Democrat. Thank you for finding your way to our website!

It is so important to show up!
How are we to achieve great things in our community and beyond unless we show up?
And how do we show up?
First and foremost, we vote! But we also plan fundraisers, stuff envelopes, sign petitions, make phone calls, canvass neighborhoods, knock doors, register voters, drive voters, feed volunteers, cut walking turfs, maintain headquarters, lead meetings, attend public hearings, write op-eds, share on social media, serve on boards, committees & commissions, attend conventions, organize vigils & rallies, make donations, give in-kind, push for legislation, run for office, and get elected. Yes, we do all that!
Let’s always keep in mind what each of us does individually so as a whole we continue to get stronger. The stronger we get as a Party, the more we can accomplish together.
It is honor it is to serve as the Chair of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee. I hope to enlist your help in building a strong Blue Wave in Danbury and beyond!

With Kindest Regards,

Andrea Gartner, Chairman
Danbury Democratic Town Committee
andrea4danbury@gmail.com
203-470-8005

McLachlan owes an apology to Rep. Floren

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By Julie Kushner

Recently it has been reported that state Sen. McLachlan worked behind-the-scenes to orchestrate the obstruction of Justice McDonald to the Chief Justice position on the court, and in those emails colorful language was used by his cousin and co-conspirator, Ian McLachlan, to describe state Rep. Livvy Floren as an “airhead.” This exchange is shocking.

I have agreed and disagreed with Representative Floren on a variety of issues, but I would never call her an “airhead” because I disagreed. Too often these types of attacks have been used to hold women back and to intimidate them into silence. This is not a partisan issue — it is an issue of right and wrong. Sen. McLachlan’s willingness to engage in this type of gratuitous attack on a distinguished woman in the legislature is appalling and is not acceptable in 2018.

Too many brave women have stepped forward as part of the #MeToo movement to allow for this type of boorish behavior to be used to advance an extreme political agenda.

I have spent a career making sure that women and men have protections from this type of abusive behavior and understand the importance for all of us to challenge it when we see or hear it. Silence is acquiescence. We deserve more from our legislators.

Sen. McLachlan owes an apology to Rep. Floren and to every woman who has ever been silenced, intimidated, or bullied for expressing an opinion that is different than men in power. A failure to do so is saying that it is ok.

Editor’s Note:

Julie is a member of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee and is the Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 24th District.

Danbury education needs better funding

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By Fred Karrat.

As of the 2016-2017 school year, Danbury spends $12,742 per student, giving us the esteemed privilege of being ranked 169 out of 169 districts in Connecticut.

Take a second to digest that.

Danbury spends less money per student than any other school district in Connecticut. Around $500 less than Ellington School District (#168) and $4,854 less than the average Connecticut school district. That is 168 districts that invest more in education, where families can buy a home to raise their children. That translates to lower resale values for Danbury homeowners.

The Danbury Board of Education is seeking an increase of nearly $7 million through a preliminary budget for 2017-2018. Despite that increase, Danbury will remain last in per pupil expenditures.

Again, if Mayor Mark Boughton and the City Council adopt the district budget in full, which they never have, Danbury would remain last in the state in per pupil expenditures. Danbury would need to increase the education budget by nearly $44 million to be “average.”

There is no doubt that the State of Connecticut is underfunding Danbury Public Schools. Since 2005 and with Danbury’s participation, the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) has fought to change that. This January, 12 years after the original case was filed, the state Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s finding that educational funding meets the “minimally adequate” standard, but reversed that lower court’s ruling that Connecticut’s distribution of education aid violates the state constitution.

Now more than ever we must also evaluate the city’s contributions to education. Since 2008 the City of Danbury’s overall budget increased by 23.38 percent from over $202 million to over $250 million. During that same time the education budget increased by 14.84 percent from over $111 million to over $128 million. As a result, the education budget as a percent of the overall city budget decreased from 55.20 percent to 51.19 percent.

So, what does all this mean?

Danbury’s commitment to education decreased over the last 10 years, resulting in a shortfall of nearly $62 million over that time, with $10 million coming from this school year alone.

Meanwhile Danbury student enrollment increased nearly 12 percent, students eligible for free and reduced lunch increased by 22 percent, English language learners increased by 7 percent, and students with special needs increased by 2 percent.

Danbury’s schools are tired and its classrooms overcrowded. Our children mean the world to us and they deserve better. Our faculty and staff are amazing, but they need our support.

By not prioritizing education we are hurting our students and our community. Our city leaders must do what is right for our children right now.

Editor’s Note:
Fred is a member of the Danbury Board of Education.

Are you unhappy with the election?

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Here’s your opportunity to make a difference.

 

Channel your anger and frustration into something positive. Hug your family, then get involved on the ground. Support the Democrats with whatever you can – your time, your talent, your treasure.  The Danbury Democratic Town Committee is meeting Monday November 14th at headquarters (161 Main Street in Danbury) at 7:30 PM.