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Cynicism Has No Merit This Election Cycle: Just Vote

Cynicism can keep us from the polls on Tuesday. But cynicism is the biggest enemy in preventing from getting an efficient, responsive government. Vote with your eyes open, but vote.

(Third in a three-part opinion piece on why and how to vote in the upcoming municipal election in Middletown. Full disclosure: I’m a candidate for the Board of Education)

Faced with all the vituperation being tossed about during this campaign season, one may be tempted to turn a deaf ear, a blind eye and refuse to vote.

But cynicism will get us nowhere.

There are, in fact, many qualified candidates on the ballot. Some have served the city selflessly. Some are new to service. Some have superb qualifications. Some have enthusiasm in abundance.

It’s up to you to discover who these candidates are, and to vote them into office.

I will ask you to vote for me, and here’s why.

Like lots of you, I have an exuberant love for the city I’ve adopted. It’s a city of history and tradition, filled with thousands of interesting people. We’re graced with a renowned university as a cultural hub, a huge and beautiful river which we haven’t yet figured out how to use, and a bustling main street. I feel at home here, and I get a strong sense of community, and a willingness of residents to dig in and make things better.

We continue to prosper while other Connecticut cities of similar size and proportions have not.

We have dedicated teachers, and schools that parents and kids love. 

But things could be better. 

We need more responsive leadership on the Board of Education and in the school administration. We need accountability and transparency, and we need to be sure that resources are directed into the classroom.

With every decision we need to begin the conversation with the question, “What’s best for the kids?” And a follow-up needs to be, “What’s best for all residents?”

I’m not an expert on education, but I’m a quick study and a hard worker, and I’m dedicated to helping create better schools. I think our goal ought to be have the best schools in the state. And I’m not shy about asking for results.

If you think that’s important, too, please vote for me.

There are five open seats on the Board of Education, and 11 good candidates. As far as I’m concerned, every one of them has qualities and qualifications that will make them good members of the board. I won’t suggest how you should vote otherwise, with one exception.

Late entry and independent write-in candidate . He has deep educational experience, a strong commitment to improved education, accountability and meaningful evaluation. In his case, you need to make a special effort in voting. If you agree with me that Mark is a strong candidate, you need to fill-in the bubble in the write-in section of the ballot, and then write-in his name.  It’s a longshot that enough voters will make the effort, but the effort will be worth it.

There is more than enough information on the town newsblogs and newsites for you to make an informed decision. It’s a long and complicated ballot.

Running for office for the first time at age 59 has been an eye-opener for me. I’ve met hundreds of concerned residents, and have been invited into foyers and dens to discuss the educational needs of the city. I’ve learned that campaigning can be invigorating and draining at the same time. And I’ve learned that local politics can get ugly.

Despite our differences, I want to thank the Middletown Democratic Town Committee who originally nominated me, and in large part made my run possible.  I also want to work to engage more residents to participate, and to open the process of running to all who have an interest.

I also want to thank all those who helped me kickstart my campaign by going door to door, making a contribution, hosting a sign in their yard or taking the time to listen while I ranted. In particular, thanks to my wife Lucy McMillan and my boys Aidan and Dermot, and my campaign co-treasurers, Jean Monahan and Paul Zakarian.

This is going to be an interesting and historic election. Please be a part of it, and make your vote count.

Read part one:

Read part two: Vote Smart This Election Day: Don't Squander The Privilege

Have something to say? Blog on Middletown Patch here.

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.

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