Letter to the Editor: Stephanie Philips

Dear Supporters and Friends,

I genuinely thank the many folks who have reaffirmed their friendship and support for me. As you may know, I did not pursue a primary against the Stratford Democratic Town Committee (SDTC) nominee Immacula Cann for Stratford’s Mayoral election. This decision does not come easily; I, like you, love our town and fear what it has become. Republicans have been in power in Stratford for over ten years. In this time, we have seen our taxes increase for most residents, our debt obligation skyrocket, economic stagnation, diminishing educational standards, and a divide between those who have and those who don’t.

As a candidate for elected office, you would expect significant factors are your platform, credentials, integrity, local accomplishments, and town experience. Political wisdom is that town-wide name recognition is also beneficial. In a fair process, the chairperson is neutral, and the candidates prevail on the strength of their attributes. Unfortunately, during our Democratic nominating process, we did not see that.

Instead, we saw the DTC chairperson email a last-minute character assassination (the day before the endorsement meeting) of lies and false associations to swing enough endorsement support in collusion with the Cann mayoral campaign members. I was deeply hurt to be blindsided by these 11th-hour accusations in a complaint before the endorsement vote to ensure Immacula Cann was the Democratic candidate for Mayor. The timing was not suspect; it was intentional. The use of dirty politics under the pretense that someone else is responsible for finding the truth when the damage is done is unforgivable.

However, forcing a primary will only result in further negative attacks leaving the winner weaker financially and maligned. That is not the campaign I want to run nor the kind of person I am, and certainly not the politics I support.

Rather than using the opportunity to unify the party more, this new SDTC leadership has sowed division and distrust within its ranks. The Democratic Committee is visibly divided; good people have left or considering resigning. Per the CT Post, the “Cann campaign said they’re ignoring the infighting.” However, the Cann negative campaign caused the infighting, they proved they would do anything to win, and Democrats can become dispensable.

It is no longer the Committee that I know nor the leadership I can continue to follow. Therefore, I have resigned my affiliation with this current Stratford Democratic Town Committee. I am working proactively with the SEEC to clear my name. Unfortunately, it can take up to a year for the State Election Enforcement Commission to release its findings.

Nevertheless, I do plan to support some of the endorsed Democratic candidates. But to be clear, I will continue to love my Democratic Party, and I love Stratford above all. Ultimately, my decision is based on my principles, not to engage in the negativity and infighting some candidates encouraged. This decision is what’s best for my family, friends, and supporters. Accordingly, I will continue to help my community as a volunteer to make our town better.

I love Stratford. But there are much better ways for me to serve with integrity and respect for everyone. Thank you to my friends and supporters for their faith and support during my candidacy.

Stephanie Philips
former Democratic Candidate for Mayor

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