2 US Senators, The State Comptroller, 2 Local Candidates And A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Walk Into Campaign Headquarters…

That was the scene today across from Stop & Shop.

US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Connecticut’s chief finance guy Kevin Lembo, came here to boost Democratic 1st and 2nd selectman hopefuls Melissa Kane and Rob Simmelkjaer.

Also on the scene: award-winning New York Times photographer and 1988 Staples High School graduate Tyler Hicks. His sister Darcy is a political activist.

From left: Chris Murphy, Rob Simmelkjaer, Tyler Hicks, Melissa Kane, Kevin Lembo, Richard Blumenthal.

And before folks get all bent out of shape, accusing me of partisanship: Trust me. If the Republicans had rolled out firepower like this, I’d post their shot too.

It’s a great photo op. That’s it.

See you at the polls!

58 responses to “2 US Senators, The State Comptroller, 2 Local Candidates And A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Walk Into Campaign Headquarters…

  1. Great to have the national level attention. However, I was shocked that Simmelkjaer was standing in the hallway outside the doorway of the poling place at Town Hall on Saturday for the absentee voting. I was under the impression that candidates were required to stay at least 100 feet away from the entrance to a poling place. Rob was not only inside the poling place but was about fifteen feet from the were I voted. It seems that our town has forgotten that campaign rules really matter. In today’s world, I think that is more important than ever.

    • Rob, thanks for your post. The registrar of voters Patty Strauss informed me and other candidates (including Jen Tooker who was also there for part of the day) that we were permitted to be in the hallway because the Town’s Clerk’s office was not a designated polling place. This was an opportunity for absentee voting – not Election Day – and therefore electioneering rules were not in effect. We were careful, however, to be respectful of people’s privacy and stay out of the office where ballots were being filled out. Thanks for your concern – I agree election rules are very important to observe.

      Today was a great day today in Westport (aside from the very tragic news from Texas).

    • I meant Town Clerk Patty Strauss – not registrar of voters. Although we spoke to them too.

  2. Michael Brady

    What a great picture!! Chris Murphy is solid!! But Jim Marpe is the man for Westport!! I wish I knew that our 2 Senators were there today.. I would have loved to ask them why my healthcare is almost $3000 for a family of 4 ..Tyler love your pics…

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      Is this 3k a month? I get mine via my employer, and I pay well into the 5 figures for a “bronze” level plan annually. If it’s $3k a year, I’d be overjoyed.

  3. Jim Marpe and Jen Tooker were at the Westport Historical Society Brickwalk Unveiling today. Both supported the campaign, but most won’t be aware of Marpe’s support because his brick is “In Memory of Allen Raymond”. The other candidates were busy pursuing other interests and passions that also help make our community better.

  4. Thank you for this most spectacular photo Dan! I can safely say that I am a HUGE fan of all the people in this picture. XO

    • Luciano Morelli

      I don’t know how anyone can be a fan of someone that lied about serving IN the Vietnam war on multiple occasions. His ability to continue to get reelected speaks volumes regarding the politics of today. If I was a candidate for a local election, I surely would not want his support.

  5. Arline Gertzoff

    To clarify the rules there is no campaigning within 75 Feet of the door to the polling place There is no campaigning inside including political buttons,political teeshirts, hats etc .Poll workers no political bumper stickers on your car, nor can you read anything political ie the newspaper in the polling place should it be slow .No food or drink inside the polling place either.Please be respectful The rules come down from the state .Remember to vote .Local elections really do matter

  6. David J. Loffredo

    No cameo from our Democratic Governor?

    • Rob – thanks for the quick response. I appreciate the fact that you are so engaged. Perhaps you are correct technically. That said, the intent of the rule is to avoid political solicitation during the act of voting. Absentee votes are real votes and the voters should be respected. In any case, good luck on Tuesday. Always great to have highly engaged candidates for local Office.

    • Ellen Lautenberg

      We were proud to have these visitors come by to show support for our candidates. However, the narrative you have been trying to spread about Melissa “aligning” herself with Dan Drew is completely false and there is no basis for it so please drop it.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Ellen. Nice to see you finally drop into the conversation.

        Of course there is a tie to Dan Drew. If not, why did Melissa give back the money? If it was all in the up and up, she had no reason to return the money. Right?

        The Chief and Staff of Dan Drew personally dropped off the check. Why didn’t he mail it? Worried about mail fraud? Or did he need the time to explain what he wanted from
        Melissa? Who else was at the meeting? Why did the Hartford Courant write about all this if the action was nothing?

        Melissa Kane gave back the money which is an real
        Indication of something wrong. $1,000 to a campaign is real
        money and as the article was published, Melissa Kane then returns the donation. Months after the check was hand delivered.

        Sorry Ellen. I know your position with Melissa. But it would be wrong to just let it go. Especially after Melissa Kane voted against the new police pension plan.

  7. 26 dead in today’s shooting. Numbing, isn’t it.
    Who cares? This shooting happened elsewhere, as if in another country.

    • Nancy, your comment is offensive. It is also ridiculous and completely off topic. I have no idea why you want to connect this post — which includes the senator who is leading the fight for sensible gun legislation in the Senate — with the Texas tragedy. Please stop these inane comments. Just stop.

      • No. Gun control is always on topic, never an inane topic. Why do you avoid it, especially during an election? So be it.
        The U.S. will never have “sensible gun legislation” because it is an inflammatory topic. Obviously.

      • Werner Liepolt

        Nancy is not wrong. The constant, continuous assault on Americans by gun-mad maniacs is facilitated by lunatic legislators who sell their souls and our lives for capital.

        • Of course it’s important. I just don’t see the connection between this post and Nancy’s comment.

          • Classic pattern.
            A dissenter speaks, a dissenter is slammed, branded, vilified, until the dissenter apologizes. Not this time.

          • Werner Liepolt

            I think te necessity for meaningful gun control has now risen to the highest priority. Any elected official must respond to and act on it.
            We are facing an escalating series of exigent problems and our legislators had better get out of their transactional modes of operation fast.

    • Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

      Nancy. You are out of line on this one. I live close to where the tragedy took place. I am very much in favor of gun control. But your comments do not belong in this thread. Make your feelings know in the proper context and they will carry more weight.

      • Change begins at the grass roots level.
        All issues should be on the table. Time is being wasted.

        I am so sorry, Mary, that you are experiencing yesterday’s tragedy up close, and so sorry for all of us who experience all of these tragedies from anywhere. It takes a toll.

  8. Dan – very much partisan as I had asked of you to do an interview a few months with locals involved in our town government like myself, Andrea Moore, and Chris Tait. You kindly told me we couldn’t do anything until after the election.
    While we have this photo – might as well give out some interesting facts to our Westport residents about Murphy and Blumenthal. Mr Blumenthal when a Connecticut State Legislater voted to put into law 8-30g which allows developers to bust up local zoning laws in towns like Westport. The law was written and defended by the law firm Shipman and Goodwin where Murphy’s Daddy is a Partner . At the same time this firm continues to sue towns like Westport on 8-30 lawsuits while another partner is representing our schools to the tune of over $250K plus a year! Can you say conflict of interest and a double dip?
    Did you all know that in 2015 there were over 729 opioid deaths in Connecticut compared to 78 deaths by guns? Did you all know that both Blumenthal and Murphy voted on legislation favoring big Pharma? Legislation that has handicapped law enforcement in fighting this deadly war.
    Now they come to our town trying to bring the devisive tone of Washington to our town. A town that has always worked together as one regardless of party affiliation.
    Please go back to Washington, GIVE UP your subsidized health care and practice what we do before you preach. Leave us alone, your party has created enough of a mess in Hartford that we need not bring it to Westport.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Jimmy-thank you. If you have not noticed, these 2 Senators have walked away from being a help as the State of CT faces a massive fiscal crisis. Why? Because they are part of the problem. They refuse to help reform the state worker pension and medical plans that are crowding out state spending for schools and social programs. Sound familiar? Melissa Kane voted against reforming the Westport police pension plan. Washington and Hartford coming to Westport? Did you notice State Rep Steinberg not in any pics. Wonder why?

      Westport is a success story-JIm MARPE leading our town, holding taxes flat, despite the challenges presented by the state. These 2 Senators, once state officials left CT with the beginning of massive budget deficits. Then add in 8-30g program that allow developers to bypass our P&Z laws and the skyrocketing growth in costs with CT’s pensions and medical plans. Easy to figure out why these 2 Senators went MIA regarding the CT Fiscal Crisis.

      Now they want their politics and policies in a Westport . Melissa Kane already showed her support and agreement by voting against the towns work on the new Westport police pension plan. What else?

      Westport, led by Jim MARPE has navigated around the Hartford and Washington forces. Westport Pension plans will hopefully be reformed, no thanks to Melissa Kane. Schools are getting their budget and education preserved, actions by Jim MARPE. Not like Hartford. Taxes have not increased in Westport. Governor Malloy and Lembo and the leadership put forth CT’s 2 largest tax increases the last 6 years. Not in Westport. Westport’s infrustucture has been improved. Not like what is going on in CT.

      Washington and Hartford need to be kept out of Westport. Jim MARPE has a great job despite their efforts to screw it up.

    • Lisa Marie Alter

      Partisan hack much, Jimmy Izzo ? Suggest you take a page from Greg Kraut’s book: “running for RTM – aiming to be as non-partisan as possible” – spewing garbage allegations without citing sources, calling out Dan Woog on his OWN BLOG (suggest you start a blog – run whatever stories are of personal interest to you, see how many folks can be bothered to follow you and read what you have to say — it’s Dan’s blog for chrissake !) Besides, you lost all credibility when you posted that “anti-vax” #FakeNews on FB 🙄

      Lisa Marie Alter

      • Lisa Marie Alter

        Oh – and forgot to mention: LOVE our Senators Murphy & Blumenthal — thx for coming
        out to support the stellar Dem candidates – GO MELISSA & ROB !

      • Lisa – all I was doing is presenting factual information about Senator Blumenthal and Congressman Murphy. Dan runs a great blog and it’s a great service to our community. This local election unfortunately has gone away from local issues. I personally am troubled that Washington divisiveness has been brought to Westport. I am only concerned with what is good for Westport and that is what we all try to do as local legislatures.

      • Trying to win the hearts minds and votes of the locals and then bring in national political hacks and Blumenthal? So close to Veterans Day? Just bad judgement at the very least.
        To attack jimmy izzo for pointing out the facts? Jimmy has always made westport and the people he represents his number 1 concern.
        Both examples hopefully make voting for Marpe an easy decision

        • Lisa Marie Alter

          Matt: just because “Jimmy says” does not make it true – I asked him for specific proof of his allegations (he posted some anti-vax trash on FB – something that a quick visit to Snopes dispelled as utterly false). Furthermore, he chastises Dan’s choice of news story – on Dan’s OWN blog…
          I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and make two suppositions about you: 1. You are a Trump Supporter 2. You are a fan of FoxNews.
          “True, just because I said it.” 🙄

          Lisa Marie Alter

          • Good one Lisa
            Put me in for 5 bucks at your next keep Hillary out of jail fundraiser

            Go Bernie!!!

            • Lisa Marie Alter

              Ya know, Matt, I was hopeful about Bernie – and at one point, believed he may have been able to beat tRump (I couldn’t vote primary, cuz I’m not a Dem) – BUT the more I read, the more I’m convinced that tRump didn’t really win – not without a lot of “rigging” from Russia (see unhackthevote.com).

              But your “lock her up” still speaks “FoxNewsFan”…

              Lisa Marie Alter

          • Lisa, all I did was point out some facts about our Senators as they relate to Connecticut. Should I have not mentioned them on Melissa and Robs website? Perhaps. After speaking with Rob last night, I realized that was not the forum for my pointing out facts about guns, opioids, legislation, 8-30g, Shipman and Goodman and how it all relates to Westport.
            Check “60 minutes” and Marino Bill as it pertains to opioids and DEA…all the Senators approved it. Opioid epidemic is real and the Drug Lobby is very powerful and has pushed legislation to make it easier for pills to get out.
            Senator Murphy’s Father is a principal partner in the law firm Shipman and Goodwin..The law firm does represent 8-30g applications and legal actions against towns like Westport to try and bust up local zoning laws to the benefits of developers trying to hold towns hostage.
            Senator Blumenthal when a CT. Legislature did vote in favor of this law.
            Shipman and Goodwin Partner Tom Mooney Represents our Board of Education and is compensated well for his great work.
            To me, and others on the RTM this does represent a “conflict of interest” in that the partners all share in fees billed to Westport and fees gained from 8-30g litigation.
            Both Senators do have subsidized health care and do not engage in the same health care nightmare residents of CT must endure.
            Back to opioids and guns my 2015 state based on facts 9 times more deaths from opioids then guns in CT.
            In the future I will go to other channels to voice my concerns with our state and national politicians then another candidates website.

            • Jimmy-this is clear and present censorship. You should have the right to post questions or concerns or true statements on Melissa and Rob’s website in response to their post about have the 2 US senators at their headquarters. Rob’s request to you has no value or support other than to take down legitimate concerns.

              The election is finally coming to an end but having Rob contact you to stop and delete your posts is wrong. What better venue than their Facebook site.

              • Bart-I deleted my post on my own. I was not censored or asked to take it down. Rob reached out, and we talked. My frustrations have been documented on Washington to Westport and all the divisiveness it has caused throughout this election campaign. The issues of Westport were the losers this year. Civility in the end must win

                • Lisa Marie Alter

                  Agree, Jimmy – civility must win.

                  FWIW, I was not aware of any Facebook posts you made on their campaign page. I was referring to your “shots fired” here on Dan’s blog – both at those who are supporting Melissa and Rob, and even at Dan Woog.

                  As for Facebook censorship, Bart: as I noted earlier, my Comments on Westport Republican’s page were indeed deleted, by Westport Republicans. (I have screenshots to prove it – would provide here, except that Dan’s WordPress does not enable photos.)

                  Enough of your lies and misrepresentations.

                  Lisa Marie Alter

    • Susan Farley

      Jimmy, Your candor, esp w/in political discourse, is So Refreshing (the usual political hyperbole office holders throw out is so often gnawing). As frustrating as it is that your party isn’t given same coverage here, I bet that just the way it is works in your favor after all.

      Good Luck With Elections,

      • Susan, are you are a “victim-survivor of the Canadian scoops”?
        The Inuit are close to my heart.

        • Nancy,

          No, I’m not even 1% North American Indian Blood Quantum.

          I do some work advocating for victims of forced migration when their country of origin has had coffee, oil/natural gas, certain minerals, via USA-congress and senate, when legal channels don’t work (which is a lot of the time); Canada Scoops Victims Placed In USA would fall into that category IF the North American Indian Tribes in Canada had made as good of deals with their resources/their oil and natural gas as our USA-North American Indian Tribes have.

          Some of my work for victims of Canada Scoops placed in USA was done while I was in Westport, CT, (and I can’t post on any word press based blog without that designation showing up). The 1 and only USA Placed Victim-Survivors of Canada Scoops recognized by all involved governments, USA, Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is in Wilton, CT, He is a Chippewa not Intuit. the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC-Canada) constructed for this group of genocide victims, once he was certified a victim, edited it’s mandate to exclude any victims that hadn’t been kept in Canada, i.e., excluding those that were trafficked out of Canada into USA and west Europe…luckily POTUS Trump and PM Trudeau are not leaving this group ignored for much longer, they’re working out a plan to recognize all of them within the 2018-2019…(and it all started in Westport, CT… 😉

  9. It’s always wonderful to welcome our two Senators to Westport. Political party doesn’t matter. I’m sure the Senators had a busy weekend visiting dozens of municipalities ahead of Tuesday’s election.

    Immediately after the event, Senator Blumenthal joined Jim and Mary Ellen Marpe jand others at the Andrew Mitchell-Namdar annual Lamda Legal Connecticut Cares brunch, fashion show and fundraiser at Mitchell’s.

    Lamda Legal is a national nonprofit organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of the LGBT community through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Andrew is a National Board member.

    Other elected official attendees joining Senator Richard Blumenthal were Congressman Jim Himes and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. Jim and Mary Ellen have participated in this fundraiser for the past four years and are proud that it reflects Westport’s philosophy of diversity and inclusion.

  10. In my book, both Dan and Jimmy share an incredible, deep love of this town, its people, and its incredibly valuable heritage. Dan’s blog is a wonderful forum of conversation and engagement spanning art, history, commerce, civic responsibility, and most of all, community. I read the comments because the content is typically excellent. Dan welcomes polite discourse from all points of view and very rarely, but appropriately, redirects conversations when the stray too far. Most often, though, the crowd self-regulates itself. Dan has brought together a diverse group of people who care about our community. Thank you Dan, I hope your followers continue to respectively speak their minds and don’t spoil what you have created for us.

    • Thanks, Rob — much appreciated! You have articulated perfectly what I try to do. With the help of this diverse group of passionate, committed Westporters (and former Westporters), we do manage to have some broad, in-depth and wide-ranging discussions. We don’t always stay on topic; we occasionally snarl a little more than we need to, and I occasionally miss the mark as well. But we do get it right a lot more than we don’t. And for that I thank the wonderful “06880” community — online and real-world.

  11. Well said Robert.
    Dan- you are the best and thank you always for allowing the opportunity of “free speech” and great discussion of local, state, and national issues that are of passion to many of us Westporters, and Westporters who reside elsewhere. We may disagree on politics and policies on the local, state, and national level, but we all agree that we all love Westport.

    • Thanks, Jimmy, and right back at ya. And though we do disagree sometimes (more national than local), I always love talking with you and your dad at the store (Crossroads Hardware, for the two people reading this who don’t know). It’s the closest thing we’ve got to the old pot-bellied stove/general store. It’s a virtual “06880”! Gotta love it.

      • Jocelyn Barandiaran

        It’s a “virtual” 06880? — more like “IRL”
        One of my favorite places in town, for the folks and the ambiance ; )

    • Ya need to get a potbelly stove Jim!

      • Werner Liepolt

        Gotta say… if the present House tax reform bill goes through this election may be the last time any Republican wins an election in Ct, NY, or NJ forever.

  12. Charlie Haberstroh

    Let’s focus on the local issues, at least for tomorrow. Forget the national issues for one day and GET OUT AND VOTE!

  13. Agree