Earlier today, I posted an open letter to 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. Prill Boyle praised him for his civility, intelligence, caring, community building and fiscal prudence — then wondered why he did not speak up against “the values of today’s Republican party.”
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to respond to today’s “Open Letter.”
As 1st selectman I proudly represent all Westporters regardless of their individual party affiliations, points of view on particular issues, or whether or not they shake my hand. As much as physically possible, I stand ready to meet with constituents or respond to their emails and phone calls in order to hear their ideas and address their concerns.
There are nearly 4,500 registered Republicans living in Westport. Shaming our neighbors because you presume they do not share all or some of the same political beliefs is wrong.
Westport prides itself on being tolerant and inclusive. We are (or should be) Republicans and Democrats based on a set of principles rather than loyalty or fealty to one individual, including President Trump. It has been my experience in the past 5 years as first selectman that our individual principles as a community have much more in common than they differ.
As Westport’s 1st selectman and a former Board of Education member and vice chairman, I have chosen to “speak up” through actions that impact Westport and its neighbors. I have supported programs that impact arts and intellectual activities and that address the social services needs of our community as well as neighboring communities that may be less fortunate.
I have committed Westport to an environmentally sustainable future through our “Net Zero by 2050” initiatives. And I practice fiscal prudence on behalf of all Westporters.
Most importantly, my administration is committed to continue to make Westport an attractive and welcoming community in which to live, work and operate a business, regardless of the continuing challenges that the State of Connecticut faces.
In order to affect change, we must have open dialogue. Demonizing someone because of his or her party affiliation, or presumed political beliefs, is not only unfair, it is also self-defeating. In Westport we can and must continue our tradition of listening to and respecting each other – not just when we agree, but more importantly when we differ.
And I will continue to do my best to address Westport’s challenges by reflecting what I believe are the broadly held principles of local governance and process, and a community commitment to tolerance, inclusiveness and civility.