by Kathleen Callahan
Late Wednesday morning, March 8th, I was texted front and back images of a political mailer regarding “scheming… power-hungry… career politicians” looking to repeal Stratford Board of Education term limits. The call to action was literally a call to our Town Council Clerk’s Office and a request to attend the March 13th Town Council Public Forum. The mailer was “Paid for by U.S. Term Limits” with a Florida address. The text sender wondered if I had heard anything about this.
I did not. Fast-forward 24-hours and what I know now about the mailer:
After calling, our Town Council Clerk, Margo Paquette, she indicated she just learned about it from a resident who brought the mailer into the office.
After calling, two representatives of U.S. Term Limits indicated they don’t have anything to do with mailers but would give my name and number to the Regional Manager. There was minimal discussion about the source on social media with more shared disgust with the content, perceived as attacking unpaid volunteers in our community – with which I absolutely agree.
This morning, March 9, I received another text with another mailer with the same content and different images.
Some members of the Board of Education have requested an extension to the single 4-year elected term. They sent that request via email to all Town Councilors and their Clerk; as well as to the Council Chair and Ordinance Committee Chair via Certified Mail prior to the regularly scheduled February Council meeting. Two of them spoke at the public forum in February.
When asked about their request, the Mayor said she believed it would only require an ordinance change. Language was submitted for an ordinance change, requesting the BOE be limited to 2 4-year terms.
A CT Post article quoted the Council Chair stating this issue would be on the Council agenda in March. (Editor’s Note: It does not appear on the Monday March 13th Agenda)
This leaves how I feel about the mailers and the issue. The mailers (how many will there be?) are vile, defamatory, misleadingly toxic, and riddled with lies. Their point is not to raise awareness about an important issue but to stir emotions and divide a town. Personally, I have never viewed term limits as a partisan issue and do not venture a guess on the source. Politics and power of all leanings brings out the worst in many, sadly.
Three women in our community decided they wanted to continue the work they are doing for our students – the most worthwhile investment we have – and that deserves an honest, respectful discussion. Instead, someone tried the route of distraction. I will try my best, as a resident and in my position, to help secure that discussion. Their points deserve our attention, no matter how the Council would eventually vote on the request.
Editor’s Note: Ms. Callahan is Chairman of the Stratford Democratic Town Committee (STDC), this letter is not a statement from the SDTC.