Board Of Ed Candidate To His Party: We Must Change

I have not posted anything about the Board of Education campaign — nor did I intend to. The race was uncontested (until the emergence of a write-in candidate), and the Republican and Democratic nominees are largely in agreement on issues like learning loss and infrastructure.

But at the end of Thursday’s mostly uncontroversial League of Women Voters’ forum, one candidate addressed an issue that has percolated both locally and nationally: Critical Race Theory.

In doing so, Robert Harrington broke with the Republican Party that had endorsed him. 

Addressing the anti-CRT signs that have appeared around town — and an anonymous website — he said:

Thank you to the other candidates — and fingers crossed, I hope to be working with all three of you after November 2nd election.

Hopefully tonight has shown it is not about about “Republican vs. Democrat” or “Red versus Blue” when it comes to  a local school board election.

But that is the system that Westport chooses. Political parties nominate candidates.

So as a Republican candidate for the Board of Education in Westport, I have a strong and direct message to my local Republican Party.

To be clear: This is not about my running mate, Dorie Hordon. I look forward to working with her.

But my party’s response to “Wake Up Westport CRT: signs is not okay with me.

Their response to the an anonymous website has not shown leadership throughout the party.

This goes beyond those behind this website, and the lawn signs. They have full right of free speech. There is no issue with that. But it is about how we respond to that message. My party’s response is not okay.

I fear in my local Republican Party I am paying  the price for speaking out. I suspect tonight it won’t get any better.

In terms of the local campaign, I have 4 points to make to my party:

Joint Facebook Page/Account: The Republican Party has  deleted all the content, and has not allowed me to put up any new content — not even highlighting an upcoming meeting about our failing school bus schedules. If you go to HordonHarrngton4BOE, you will see there is zero content there.

Campaign email:  The same here. As a candidate I have not be able to email voters or residents — not even a personal statement.

Message from my party: I’ve been asked or told to stop campaigning, shut up, sit down and cancel meetings.

Questions from residents: A resident asked me online (before the entire contents of the site were deleted) a series of legitimate questions on my views on the future of Trump, my response to January 6, and the way I dealt with “The Big Lie.” I answered all these questions, and was happy to do so. However, the Republican campaign, without my knowledge or approval, deleted all my answers.

This is not democratic. It’s not transparent — for a party that often talks about transparency. It’s not a good look for Westport.

Worst of all: It’s not a good look for local Republican Party. They are acting like the national Republican Party

For the sake of Westport and the local Republican Party: We must change.


I reached out to Republican Town Committee chair Joe Sledge for a response. He referred me to the “Westport Republicans” page on Facebook. and this post pinned at the top of the page:

At last night’s League of Women Voters debate, Robert Harrington commented on procedures that the Westport Republican Town Committee put in place with respect to campaign communications by candidates on campaign social media accounts.

Connecticut State law requires that campaign communications contain specific attribution language, and the WRTC has sought to assure that candidates comply with these rules. Understandably, Robert may not be fully familiar with these regulations. We commend Robert’s passion and willingness to express his perspective.

57 responses to “Board Of Ed Candidate To His Party: We Must Change

  1. WTF is “specific attribution language” when it come to value judgements as expressed by Harrington, the only Republican running for election to any town office who is worth a shit and who has the courage of his convictions and is willing to voice same.
    Shame on the rest of you Republican truth dodgers!

  2. Deb Rosenfield

    Thank you, Mr. Harrington, for speaking up and also for speaking out about the January 6th attempted coup and the “Big Lie.” And thank you Dan for bringing this to our attention. Everyone should also know that once again for this election, all CT voters may vote by absentee ballot (you can get an application at Town Hall, complete it and hand it to the Registrar of Voters or just drop the completed ballot in the official ballot box behind Town Hall). Also, if, for some reason you are not registered, CT has same day registration available at your polling place. Bring proper ID.

  3. Dan, my god can’t believe we are all such horrible people and contributors to our town! The bashing and Characterization attacks of Jen Tooker and Andrea are pathetic and childish. Their resumes as mothers, members of our society and local political boards is impeccable and all about Westport. Have we all forgotten that their opponent State Representative Steinberg has been about Hartford and has done little to take a “leadership roles” with modification of 8-30g. (300 more apartments coming). Issues with “drugged driving” enforcement BEFORE voting to legalize recreational marijuana – yes you can drive smoking a joint can’t get pulled over unless high!! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and that’s beauty of our First Amendment…and with that please vote Tooker- Moore November 2. Westport does not need Diblasio 2.0

    • As a New York City’er with strong ties and affection for WSPT, (and a libertarian, I’m not DNP or GOP, political parties in and of themselves are at minimum silly and at worst, physically literally dangerous),

      I want to underline the essence of JIzzo’s last line, i.e., WSPT shouldn’t allow anything that resembles DBLazyO’s Work here to emigrate into WSPT. As Jimmy did, WSPT should together, obviously state, No (to DBLazyO’s, and that means NO to Schumer’s) to THAT kind of DNP activity in WSPT, i.e., THAT includes saying NO to cancel culture, no to scaring people into not speaking so much so that anonymous sites are the only public forum they feel free to share their concerns and opinions.

      The Main Stream Media in NYC only reports maybe 5% of the violent crimes occurring here since April 2020, and – more often than not – abruptly cuts coverage of news stories when honest reporting would show the degradation of NYC, really since Occupy Wall Street. both ‘events/trends’ emanating from policies pushed through by The Far Left of DNP; The Media cuts the news coverage short because/when they too are afraid of gtg canceled by The Far Left of DNP’s Cancel Culture Mob.

      Short of The Long: whatever elections are going on in WSPT, trust me, trust your new residential and business neighbors who have recently moved and are still moving/fleeing from NYC to WSPT, don’t let The Far Left of DNP get a spot, Don’t let their values seed/corrode WSPT.

  4. Beth Berkowitz

    Thank you Mr. Harrington for speaking from your conscience and your heart. It is refreshing to know that some politicians are actually strong enough to be able to use the first Amendment to speak the truth and show some transparency of how they really feel even if it is not in line with their own political party. This is called leadership when someone speaks out without misinformation and what is clearly that they feel is right, fair and just. I’m proud that you want to do the right thing for Westport and have the courage to point out that your own party is limiting your freedom of speech when it doesn’t follow the party line! Thank you. I only wish all candidates for all offices in the nation would represent all of their constituents with as much backbone and honesty in all matters no matter what their party affiliation may be.

  5. claudia shaum

    Jimmy Izzo – So well said. Agree 100% with every word of your comment!

  6. By not disavowing 45 and his ilk, the local Republican Party has lost all credibility. To think I used to happily “cross over” in local elections….

    While I appreciate hearing a Republican speak out against political dog whistles while under the thumb of the Westport RTC (which, just to be clear, donated money to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee in August), anyone not actively running from the national party and all it represents is still, let’s just say, “problematic.”

  7. Mark Friedman

    Westport’s elected officials swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Silence in the face of Trump’s attempted coup and his Big Lie are not an option. Attempting to silence those who insist on an honest accounting is even less palatable.
    Vote for leaders that will take stand. Vote Steinberg-Savin!

  8. Clark Thiemann

    We are in a time where we need robust debate and discussion about the issues that we are facing which have few easy answers. Unfortunately the Republican Party has abdicated this debate for lies about voting (where the major issue is a lack of access, not fraud) critical race theory in schools (which isn’t a thing) and shouting “Let’s Go Brandon” in a childish attempt to be mean to the President. While I have met and like both Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore, I wish they would disavow the national party and increasingly the local and state parties as well which also are basically devoid of any real policies other than ginning up anger and resentment. Instead it seems like they are refusing to take any stand for what’s right so they don’t end up in the same place as Mr Harrington. This is mostly disappointing.

  9. Mark, I sure wish Steinberg would’ve taken a STAND and leadership role in modification of 8-30g…how about drugged driving? Nice STAND on putting our kids and motorists at risk….I’ve lost friends to “DRUNK DRIVING and now your friend Jonathan has taken us backward on our roads…but that doesn’t matter because he’s a DEMOCRAT…Oh and btw crime is exploding in Westport because your friend Jonathan and his Police Accountability Bill has now created a “white glove police force”…nice job STANDING up and supporting the people who “protect and serve us.” For the record any STAND UP Representative would’ve have at least talked to our esteemed Police Chief before voting on such a partisan bill that HURTS THE RESIDENTS OF WESTPORT and COMPROMISES OUR SAFETY….Yep that’s a STAND UP Leader I sure don’t want leading our town…no Diblasio 2.0…VOTE Tooker Moore Leaders who actually lead and get things done!

    • Hi Mr Jimmy Izzo- from the sound of your post- I hope our Westport police department knows that crime and drunk driving are exploding all over Westport and that it is Rep Steinberg’s fault. May I suggest that you inform the Westport Police of this and that to stop this veritable deluge of drunkeness and criminality they have to simply arrest Steinberg until at least after this election- 4 days!

    • We now have a police force that hassles people for Driving While Black, Driving While Eating a Hash Brown, and Driving While Wearing Cologne. It also hassles them for Being at Home While Hispanic. Complaints AGAINST the Westport police are investigated BY the Westport police. Tooker supports the toothless “panel” that ultimately enables all this. If that’s “getting things done,” I’ll look elsewhere for local leadership.

  10. Perhaps switching sides or becoming an independent might work for Mr. Harrington and his current party? Just thinking out loud. Peace out.

  11. Dave Donnelly

    Well said, Clark Thiemann.

    Jimmy Izzo – I like to think that this blog (and Dan’s stewardship of it) is about many things, mostly all good. What it shouldn’t be is a partisan megaphone for someone espousing the virtues of representatives of a political party very quickly slip-sliding its way towards certain ruin. Spare us the exaggerations and CAPITALIZATIONS and let the residents of Westport vote how they will.

  12. This post was about the silence—& the apparent silencing—of local Republican leaders and candidates, about Trump’s coup attempt and Big Lie. Attacks on Democratic candidates are inappropriate and unresponsive. Republican Representative Liz Cheney has been ostracized by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and House Republicans for telling the truth about Trump’s insurrection….hmmmm.

  13. Bill DiBlasio is running for 1st Selectman? That’s kind of a stretch…

    From my vantage point, it seems you have two good people running for 1st Selectman and Westport would do well with either candidate.

    However, like a few others here, I believe that disavowing Trump’s attempted coup, the events of January 6, and the white supremacist groups that are now associated with the Republican party is a necessary step for someone to be reasonably considered for any office. I don’t see why any good person would want to be associated with any of that…

  14. I ask simple questions these days of political candidates.

    1- Where do you stand on education for our kids- including pre K?
    2- Where do you stand on climate change and what are you willing to do about it?
    3- Do you believe the conspiracy theories on Fox News ?
    4- Do you support Roe v Wade as it stands now or the Texas version?
    5- Do you think Trump incited an insurrection to overturn a free and fair vote that was upheld by Republican and Democrat judges and voting officials?
    6- Do you think the insurrection was a false flag operation of BLM, Antifa or leftists?

    Simple Yes or No answers will do!

    Our democracy is at stake and our planet is at risk! Our freedoms and our lives are at risk. Taxes don’t scare me- it’s just a little more money! Ignoring a pandemic-and telling everyone – “don’t mask and don’t get vaccinated” scare me- that’s our health and our lives.

    I am frightened by the Republican candidates in the northeast Connecticut who are espousing the Big Lies about a stolen election! I am frightened by the local news about candidates from Fairfield – one town over who have a problem with shwastikas made from vaccination syringes. And now I am frightened and frankly disappointed to hear about a Westport Republican Town Committee endorsed candidate who speaks out to say he is being silenced by the Westport Republican Town Committee and his positions are being hidden.

    As a life long Independent voter I cannot in good conscience consider a vote for any candidate from a political party that is trying to hide where it stands and cannot separate from the Big Lies of the national Republican Party! The RTC has made this a very important local Westport voting issue.

    I will add- Marpe is the last Republican candidate I will ever have voted for in any election- National, State and now local Westport level.

    Thank you Mr Harrington- you have my vote.
    Dan you always have my vote for always bringing the hidden into the light- thank god the RTC can’t silence you!!

  15. Michael Mossman

    Tepid remarks about keeping national politics out of Westport fall flat. Our poisonous national politics have clearly already come to Westport as evidenced by the fear-mongering signs placed by political operatives. The question for our candidates is what they will do or not do to keep this cancer from our collegial community. If their response is to avoid the issue then that is their answer: Nothing, Just tow the party line. That is not enough. We need elected officials that have the guts to stand up to their own party when their political strategy includes misinformation and divisive fear mongering as we now have with Big Lie politics.

    Jen Tooker needs to step up as Robert Harrington did. That’s upholding Westport’s values as well as our country’s democracy. We supported Jim Marpe and his non-partisan stewardship. We would have liked to extend the same support to either Jeff Steinberg or Jen Tooker. But this CRT nonsense issue has decided our vote.

    Show some spine! Democracy over identity politics. Time to educate party leaders who we are here in Westport. Our votes here will send a message that undermining our democratic institutions is deplorable and is not a winning strategy. I’d vote for Liz Cheney or Robert Harrington in a heartbeat for their courage to do the right thing.

    Jen Tooker, who are you? We are watching and waiting.

  16. The two posts of disjointed throwing all the things at all the walls in an attempt to deflect from actual the issue of this article is quite the look. Rather than detracting from the point, they just add to it.

    The Westport Republican party refuses to address actual issues and will do whatever it can to avoid actually taking a stand.
    It’s the party of “there are good people on both sides”.

    Mr. Harrington said there are issues, they need to be addressed, and took a stand.

    For his efforts his entire party did all it could to shut him up.

    “Right up to the top of the ticket, throughout the Republican party, I’ve been told or been asked to shut up, sit down, stop campaigning and cancel your events.”

  17. I posted a statement on social media yesterday because I felt it necessary to call out the distortions about the campaign that Robert Harrington told during the debate.

    The reason Robert’s campaign has been muzzled has nothing to do with his views on any topic. It is because Robert does not in fact have his own campaign as a Republican candidate. He is running a JOINT campaign, with me. The decision to end our campaign activities, such as social media communications, was mine and entirely mine. His behavior towards me has been unacceptable in my opinion and he used his voice to undermine me and attack me personally. In a joint campaign, no campaign activity can occur without the approval of either of us. I made the personal decision to end our joint campaign activity because I was not going to actively campaign with someone who publicly attacks me and has been disrespectful towards me. It is my right as a candidate to make that call. This has nothing to do with national politics. It has everything to do with his personal conduct and my objections to it.

    We had a productive debate the other night, but it ended with Robert creating drama and making it all about himself. Regardless of his views on anything, voters should consider how someone with the behavior patterns he has demonstrated during this campaign (and years prior) will help or hinder the Board of Education. I leave that to the voters.

    Here is my statement posted on social media earlier:

    Last night, at the conclusion of the Westport LWV candidate debate, my Republican running mate incorrectly stated the reasons that our joint campaign has been effectively frozen, including our presence on social media platforms. Because our campaign was originally created as a slate under election law, all official campaign activities such as social media posts and emails can only be done in a manner that presents us as a slate. The decision to freeze these campaign activities was entirely my own, as I refused to attach my name to his in any way following a series of events, culminating with a personal attack he made against me on social media.

    I want to thank the leadership of the Republican party in Westport, including the RTC and the Tooker/Moore campaign, for their steadfast support and understanding. As a woman, a mother and a political candidate, I was not willing to tolerate and overlook his pattern of disrespectful, erratic and undermining treatment. Over the past several weeks, I have spent hours on the phone and in person with many of our Republican officials, whose encouragement, empathy, advice and assistance have kept me invested in this race. These are some of the most caring and conscientious individuals I have met over my 15 years in Westport, and I will be forever grateful for their support during this unexpectedly stressful and difficult period. I am proud to represent the Westport Republican party in this election and hope voters support me and our wonderful group of candidates outside of the Board of Ed election.

    Dorie Hordon, Republican BoE Candidate

    • Ms Hordon-

      I am not sure I understand your reply. If you agreed to run as joint candidates from the RTC and if that means neither you nor Mr Harrington can say anything that both of you do not agree to say what is the point of having two candidates show up to a debate. Does the joint campaign lock you both into voting in lock step on every issue as well if you are both elected?

      It seems to me your post is a simple excuse for the RTC’s muzzling of someone who decided to state at a public debate where he stood on both local (CRT- Critical Race Theory) and on national issues (The big lie of a stolen election and Trump’s incitement of the January 6th insurrection in our nation’s capital)!

      Since you found it important to set matters straight on the RTC muzzling Mr Harrington on this forum- I would ask you if you don’t need Mr Harrington’s permission to answer my basic questions on the forum-

      1- Where do you stand on education for our kids- including pre K?
      2- Where do you stand on climate change and what are you willing to do about it?
      3- Do you believe the conspiracy theories on Fox News ?
      4- Do you support Roe v Wade as it stands now or the Texas version?
      5- Do you think Trump incited an insurrection to overturn a free and fair vote that was upheld by Republican and Democrat judges and voting officials?
      6- Do you think the insurrection was a false flag operation of BLM, Antifa or leftists?

      You could also ask the other RTC candidates for any and all positions we vote for on Tuesday to post their answers to these 6 questions.I would find it immensely helpful and clarifying.

      Also- simple Yes or No answers will be deeply appreciated!

      I respectfully await the replies of all candidates who find it important to let their voting Westport public know where the candidates stand on issues that are profoundly important to all out futures.

  18. Michael Mossman

    We’ll then, Ms. Hordon, that begs the question: what is your stance on the misinformation campaign being injected into Westport politics? Why did Mr. Harrington feel the need to speak out against it and why have you
    not? We have seen death threats to BOE members in towns across the country over this CRT red herring. Shall we invite this poison into Westport because the National Republican Party has adopted it as a strategy to win elections?

    Please assure us that you can stand up to political opportunism and that you yourself are not a part of it. Our town has a tradition of rational non-partisanship to uphold. Would you sell it out? Mr. Harrington has shown us that he would not. What about you?

    • So, this is a bit of a funny comment.

      For starters, you are saying that Ms. Hordon’s comment “begs the question”, yet you actually go on to beg the question by simply assuming the conclusion that certain questions raised by others in town about the NYU Metro Center’s Equity Study are de facto misinformation. How can someone respond to what you’ve deemed “misinformation” in any way to satisfy you other than agreeing with your conclusion? If you want to take this position, you really should at least make an argument as to why you think something is “misinformation”, rather than just a position you disagree with. Now, that’s not to say you can’t disagree with something, but your question is presented in a way that purposefully stifles the issue and any discussion around it.

      Second, you are calling CRT a “red herring”. I certainly can’t speak as to what is going on in other states or other schools, but in Westport as it relates to the NYU Metro Center and the Equity Study, I’d suggest you read some of their own materials. For example:

      >> The Innovations in Equity and Systemic Change (IESC) at NYU Metro Center (Previously TAC-D) provides professional development, technical assistance, and consultancy to educational institutions in general and special education. Our mission is to disrupt, dismantle, and eliminate disproportionality by building the capacity of educators to implement Culturally Responsive Sustainable Equity-Based Systems that meet the needs of all students and families.
      Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) Training:

      IESC’s theory of change is grounded in the belief that in order to successfully address disparate outcomes for students of color, students with disabilities, including ELLs/MLLs, specific attention must be paid to intersecting Critical Race Theory and the Eight Principles of Culturally Responsive Education (Ladson Billings, 1994; Ladson-Billings & Tate 1995) and Culturally Responsive-Sustaining (CR-S) Education as defined by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Thus, all of IESCs work is informed by an understanding of the ways in which race and culture impact the educational experiences of students. <<

      You may want to read that entire link to get a better understanding of exactly what the NYU Metro Center does, as well as the theories they utilize and their methods for analysis and change. Now, you may agree with what they are doing, or you may not; each person is of course entitled to his own opinion. But how can you refer to a "CRT red herring" when the NYU Metro Center itself states that its work on Equity has "Critical Race Theory" as a bedrock theory on which such work is built? Does that fact readily suggest that people concerned about CRT in westport are peddling straight-up misinformation? You and I must have very different definitions of the word.

      Third, you bemoan political opportunism and appeal to Westport's "tradition of rational non-partisanship", which is fine except that it literally comes right after your contention that the National Republican Party is injecting poison around the country to win elections. That seems at least a tad partisan to my sensibilities.

      In any event, rather than quibbling over terminology and misusing logical fallacies, all of Westport should be concerned about one thing and one thing only: how to help each student in Westport achieve his or her own personal best, whatever that may be. After learning more about the NYU Metro Center and their theories and philosophies, I as well as others in Westport share grave concerns about the conclusions they will draw and the recommendations they will make and whether those conclusions and recommendations will be for the benefit of all students in helping them achieve their personal best. I'm really looking forward to reviewing the NYU Metro Center's report, and I hope that such report includes NYU's methodologies so that all in town can understand how their conclusions and recommendations were derived. In fact, I would encourage all parents to not only read in detail the materials on the NYU Metro Center's website, but also their report when it is made available.

  19. I missed the recent debate and haven’t found it online yet. The article mentions a specific write-in candidate but saw no further reference to this. Who is the candidate and does anyone know that person’s stances?

    Thanks for sharing your perspectives.

    • I’m staying out of this. This is not productive. I am putting my energy to represent the kids. I am apolitical and intend to stay that way. Our school’s education should not be political. It should be about the kids. Please write me in this Tuesday if you agree!

      Write in ALMA
      NO DRAMA
      Putting our KIDS FIRST

  20. Because throughout world history far left (& far right) have proven to be ‘the devil’ someone was warned about but still – not believing the warnings – ceded to – and you’re all in Westport & nobody understands a Twilight Zone reference like Connecticut Westporters do …

  21. Robert Harrington

    Thanks Dan for posting and all the comments – whatever your view here.

    Discussion during an election is essential for democracy. Candidates should be free to campaign, post on Facebook, email, answer voter questions and hold events.

    To me personally it was important to be very clear where I stood on the future of Trump, Jan 6th and the “Big Lie”. No questions are off limit to me. I hope the Republican Party here in Westport can learn and change.

    My running mate and I don’t see eye to eye on one issue related to the hysteria around CRT and the WP06880 website. I think she has shown her strong dedication to Westport Schools and her community over many years. I think she will make a strong and effective Board of Education member. I will be voting for her.

    Robert Harrington
    Republican Candidate

  22. For those accusing Ms. Hordon of not standing up to so-called misinformation, she has publicly stated her position on the wp06880 website several times. Although I don’t speak for the authors of the website, I did attempt to respond to the despicable piece in Westport Journal to try to explain concerns that many parents have had with the school’s decision to contract with an organization holding as extreme views as NYU Metro and to try to address these issues in a less divisive way. Unfortunately, neither Westport Journal nor Dan Woog would publish my response, but to anyone interested you can read it here:

    I support any candidate for BoE like Dorie who is willing to listen to these concerns. The response from Mr. Steinberg and Ms. Savin – accusing anyone asking for transparency as divisive, fear-mongering racists – is utterly shameful.

    • As I explained to Andy, I did not publish his letter because 1) it was in response to a Westport Journal story, not something on “06880,” and 2) at 1440 words, it was twice the length of an “06880” post.

    • Michael Kaplan

      Vote for the candidates that don’t need to issue clarifying statements about whether or not they believe in democracy!

  23. Tim Foisie. Her name is Alma. Write her in so the liar who treats his running mate (and the local party that nominated him) like garbage gets squeezed out.

  24. Andy Frankel – I totally agree with you. I truly wish our community could find a way forward together – listen to each other and respect each other. We’re neighbors.

  25. Amelia Greenberg

    Andy Frankel, that was an interesting article. Very well researched. I have one question. If the NYU Metro Center openly promotes CRT, and they are the ones leading the equity study, why does everyone keep saying “CRT is here” is a racist conspiracy theory? Is the anonymous group lying about the NYU Metro Center being involved? Or are they saying the equity study is just being done as a check the box thing and will have no real impact on our schools? I literally don’t understand. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Probably too long a discussion to do justice to the issue here. The school says that it is up to the BOE and DEI committee to make changes, not NYU. They say that they are looking to make policies, practices, and curriculum “culturally responsive” and “equitable” but not to implement CRT. That’s fine, but they are basing a multi-year “action plan” and strategic review (in part) on a very lengthy review run by NYU Metro, which I don’t think anyone disputes are leading advocates of implementing CRT-based ideology into K-12 education. I don’t think anyone agrees with NYU Metro’s overriding philosophy (e.g., math and science are not objective, everything should be viewed through a racial lens, existing education perpetuates white supremacy and supposed “white norms” such as objectivity and perfectionism). And I don’t think the DEI committee’s report or strategic plan will either. But why the school decided to contract with NYU Metro and have them coordinate this review is beyond me. Whether or not you want to call it CRT is largely beside the point.

  26. Perhaps I’m cynical, but it would be a calculation that would make sense, for most of the Republican candidates to decline to comment or denounce the 06680Parents-CRT crowd. They know they need those votes to be able to win in our town, and if they come out in opposition to the Feared Leader, The Big Lie, and do not vociferously denounce CRT (which isn’t taught in schools, as it’s a graduate level topic,) they risk those voters staying home. That is almost to 30% of our electorate, going by the 2016 returns.

    What they failed to take into their calculations is that many of us cross party vote in local elections, because as Tip O’Neill made famous, “All politics is local.” Instead of looking like someone who can separate themselves from national pundits, they failed to quickly and openly take a stand. (If you want to call back to the national politics, it doesn’t look good on Lindsey Graham either, when he abandons any pretext of previously claimed beliefs to hitch his wagon to a brightly burning star.)

    We want leaders who have convictions and morals, who do not pander to craven political winds, and speak loudest on the LOCAL issues impacting us. (Local and state politicians will make much more of a difference in your daily life than these loud braggarts who showboat on the national scene.)

    It seems that the local party miscalculated, hoping this would all stay quiet until after the elections, and they would only have to deal with one disaffected candidate who found that this wasn’t about the issues and strongly held convictions, and was actually about winning elections. I truly thought Westport politics were better than this, and it has made the scales fall from my eyes as well. I’m disappointed and I have several votes I need to reconsider for Tuesday, because if someone is willing to subsume what they stand for, to stay in unity with a party, what’s to say they will truly represent us when we need leadership in the positions they are being elected for?

  27. Here’s the rub: It is my understanding that it is almost impossible to launch a meaningful campaign without those resources of the local party committees. We’ve now seen hints in both parties in terms of how party committees and candidates or potential candidates suffer each other, and how candidates and potential candidates are beholden to the committee leadership for campaign support.

    No local party candidate should feel the need to be silenced in Westport, especially given our (until late) fairly non-partisan reasonableness. I take the Republican committee response with a grain of salt, because it seems pretty simple to re-format Mr. Harrington’s responses to meet their requirements and re-publish them. To the extent that Mr. Harrington’s or any other candidate’s views diverge from the Republican committee’s leadership or general membership, there is nothing preventing any of them from saying so.

    Mr. Harrington, and his Republican BOE running mate with whom he seems to have some disagreement, are on the ballot essentially unopposed. While people, myself included, applaud Mr. Harrington to the extent he let the electorate know where he stands on national issues, it is notable that he and his running mate effectively no longer need the financial and operational support of the party’s committee to get across the finish line, making it much less costly for him to speak his mind. Had he needed the committee’s resources in a tight, contested race and the Republican committee’s leadership decided to turn its back on him, his campaign likely would have been over.

    It also should be noted, while certainly not as full-throated a statement as people would like, when asked by an Inklings reporter in this month’s print edition “What specifically does your party affiliation mean to you?”, Jen Tooker was quoted as responding, “As far as our party affiliation . . . I’m not going to defend our party on a national basis. And I feel incredibly strongly that I am committed to a high functioning democracy. In my mind, that means awe have a least a vibrant, relevant [and] effective two-party system. What I’ve learned through life is the only way if you want to make a change to an institution or organization, you stay in it. And you work to make it better.”

    If well-qualified candidates who disagree with their current leadership disavow their party instead of trying to change it from within, does anyone believe the opposing party’s committee will welcome them with open arms and let them run under their banner, pushing out their own long-standing members who have been waiting their turn? And, in any event, without more than one functioning party, the electorate would end up with no meaningful vote as we install whomever the remaining party’s leadership decides to anoint, as they would be running unopposed. Because of the way the current system is designed, what the pro-democracy folks are advocating would actually walk us down an anti-democracy path

    As long as we have this necessary evil of a system where a candidate’s ability to speak freely is hamstrung by the people who control campaign resources, we need to take even more responsibility to become an informed electorate and examine each candidate’s plans for doing the jobs they seek, their various accomplishments and experience, the causes they have supported, how effective they’ve been in their other leadership positions, and how they show up in the world. In my experience working with Westport’s public servants from both parties, I think you’ll find that they have more in common than their national party membership would suggest, being pro-Constitution, pro-democracy, pro-facts, pro-education, pro-environment, pro-health, anti-discrimination etc.

    Or don’t. It’s your right to vote for a candidate based on whether he or she says what you want to hear, regardless of their suitability for the job. That’s worked pretty well for our country in the recent past.

  28. David Kershner

    This seems to be very far off topic for BOE. I’m voting for candidates that in my opinion best represent my views on overseeing our schools and the policies and safety of our children (to me right now, I feel like those are Dorie Hordon and Alma Sarelli). In the vein of some of the comments here, why not require personal statements from all BOE (and Selectman) candidates on Hunter Biden selling art, Donald Trump owning a global real estate business, homeless rates in Santa Monica, Richard Nixon/Watergate, and dropping atomic bombs during WW2?

    I am a registered independent because I feel neither national political party supports my views. To me that personally seems more reasonable than being affiliated with a specific party and then torching it for establishing a platform or policies that are far divergent from my own.
    Perusing the comments here, I see:

    – Mr Harrington is brave to disavow and attack his party (is Joe Manchin also “brave”?)
    – Those who speak out in favor of Ms Tooker/Moore and Ms Hordon are liars and racists
    – Those who are have not yet signed a pledge disavowing January 6 and questions about 2020 elections are liars and racists (??? This post is about a Westport BOE candidate ???)
    – Parents who are concerned about their children’s education but are terrified to be called liars and racists are liars and racists
    – The Westport police are racists

    On the last point, I would expect folks espousing that view would not call the Westport police for help if they should find themselves on the wrong end of criminal activity, A second full disclosure: when a burglar attempted to break into my home 2 years ago while I was away on business, and my wife (who is non-white!) called 911, the Westport police came very quickly and treated her extremely well. Both she and I are very supportive of the police here who have been wonderful and kept us safe.

    These conditions make it very difficult or impossible to have a policy debate. I would hope that most residents of this town – who seem to me to be hard working and generally good people – would see past character assassinations – particularly of fellow residents who are not politicians – and vote for the candidate(s) that espouse views most aligned with their own. This is BOE folks, maybe what is best for our children should be the focus here.

    • Hi David. You’re an independent because, I assume, neither party encapsulates the totality of your views…

      As you rightly have determined, membership in a party and/or organization means something. It’s representative of where you might feel affiliation, and most important, a judgement that one makes.

      And judgement is a central consideration for BoE elections. The judgements made by the BoE will directly effect the teachers and students in Westport Schools.

      While the Democratic party is far from perfect (or effective), the Republican party on a national level has come to represent (and openly support) many of those supposedly irrelevant national issues you refer to. White supremacists have been openly embraced. A violent insurrection that we all witnessed is being defended and attempted to be rewritten. SignIficant criminality was dismissed in the name of keeping power.

      My judgement tells me to avoid organizations that support white supremacy, violence, insurrection and criminality. The reason that all Republicans are being questioned on national party views and issues is that they (unlike Mr. Harrington) have not publicly disavowed the current Republican brand. Honestly, the best response if you want to be viewed as having sound judgement is to leave the party entirely. However, to be considered, candidates on a local level have to explain their judgement.

      Whether those explanations are satisfactory is up to the voters. Here in Connecticut, I suspect, the judgement to remain part of the Republican party with out a rejection of the national party will not serve candidates well.

  29. In response to this post on 06880, the Tooker-Moore campaign has received many emails asking for clarification on Jen Tooker’s and Andrea Moore’s position on two issues that voters care deeply about: The integrity of the 2020 Presidential Election, and the January 6th Capitol Riots. I would like to share the response that Jen and Andrea regularly provide constituents who reach out by email, phone, and at in-person events regarding this critical subject:

    “We believe that Joe Biden is the duly elected President of the United States who won the presidency in a fair election.

    We condemn the January 6th riots and President Trump’s role in this despicable event and believe it should be fully investigated and those responsible should be held accountable. (Below is the statement made on Jen Tooker’s personal Facebook account on January 7th).

    ‘I echo Westport First Selectman, Jim Marpe’s statement regarding yesterday’s atrocious events in our nation’s capital and the role the President played in them. His actions and words are indefensible. As an elected official, I woke up this morning more determined than ever to continue to serve my community with a commitment to decency and representing our shared values of respect for each other, our democracy and the rule of law.’ (Jennifer Tooker Facebook Post, January 7, 2021)

    – Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore, Candidates for Westport Board of Selectment

    We hope this clarifies for voters where the Tooker-Moore campaign stands on these important issues, and we invite constituents to reach out to the campaign at with additional questions.

    Karen Hess
    Communications Manager
    Tooker-Moore for Westport Board of Selectmen

    • Thank you for that.

      Would you now care to address the issue that is in red italic bold font at the beginning of Dan’s article?

      “one candidate addressed an issue that has percolated both locally and nationally: Critical Race Theory.”
      “Addressing the anti-CRT signs that have appeared around town — and an anonymous website”

      Can you clarify for voters where the Tooker-Moore campaign stands on that important issue of Critical Race Theory?

      To be clear, no one is arguing against First Amendment rights to put up a website and signs.

      The actual issue of Critical Race Theory.

  30. It makes me sad to see partisanship enter our community – this board of education election isn’t even contested. The morning after the election, we will all still be neighbors, attend the same churches and synagogues, and cheer for the same little league and soccer teams. Debating CRT belongs at the board of education meetings that all the elected candidates will participate in, fully transparent and open to the public – not as an election ploy for an election that isn’t even contested.

    Regarding national politics, we need to celebrate the fact that our country, constitution and people prevailed after the January 6th attack. It shows the strength and resilience of our nation to weather storms. That’s the lesson to teach our children.

    • Clark Thiemann

      The takeaway from Jan 6 should not only be that our nation and constitution held together. We can’t ignore that Jan 6 happened because one of our two parties explicitly tried to overthrow a presidential election and is still pushing a lie that the election was stolen and fraud is rampant in our system.

      This is the equivalent of saying the only thing we should learn about integration in the south is that overt discrimination no longer exists and people perservered — ignoring events like the Tulsa Massacre, the march on Selma and Martin Luther King being murdered by white supremicists. We need to teach these events explicitly so they don’t happen again which is why we need to have forward-looking diversity and inclusion education — the kind of education which is being fearmongered (even in this very thread) into the made-up CRT debate.

    • Hi Avi-
      Actually, I registered as a write-in candidate with the town of Westport so this Board of Education election IS CONTESTED. Please consider writing me in on Tuesday. I’m running unaffiliated. I will work for our kids and not get dragged into unproductive infighting. We need to put personalities aside and focus on our children.

    • Hi Avi-
      Actually, I registered as a write-in candidate with the town of Westport so this Board of Education election IS CONTESTED. Please consider writing me in on Tuesday. I’m running unaffiliated. I will work for our kids and not get dragged into unproductive infighting. We need to put personalities aside and focus on our children.

  31. Nobody accused the Westport police of being racist. The point is there’s no way to check their power, which is absolute. In most functioning democracies, there’s a system of checks and balances. But not in Westport. And Tooker has no problem with that.

  32. Michael Mossman

    The nonsensical CRT issue is misinformation because no one is teaching it in Westport schools. And it’s time to stand up and support our school superintendent for managing this made up “crisis” in a sober and apolitical fashion, not pretend that he or the BOE “made a mistake” in searching for ways to address teaching history, including that of systemic racism in our country. This is a red herring because the idea that elementary school children are being taught Critical Race Theory would be laughable were it not for shadowy groups of fear mongers planting signs to that effect in Westport.

    Saying your don’t want national politics involved in our schools is not enough. It is already infecting our community. It’s up to us to drive it out, right now.

    It is not too much to require our candidates for public office to state, unequivocally, whether they repudiate or support the misinformation tactics that are tearing our country and community apart.

    Former Republicans, like myself, have had it with mealy mouthed responses to Charlottesville, the January 6th insurrection, the Big Lie about “stolen election,” and “good people on both sides.”

    This is not the party of Lincoln, or Eisenhower, or even George Bush. This is Trump’s Republican Party and we either clean out this mess here and now, starting in Westport, or embrace the chaos and corruption this populist mob rule brings.

    We want a rational, cooperative, transparent and accountable two (or more) party system.

    If we want politics out of our schools, repudiate this CRT nonsense clearly and publicly, as some stand up candidates, like Mr. Harrington have done. That was my Republican Party…

    Please vote for courage and truth, not party.

  33. By referring to Mr. Harrington as “Benedict”, I assume you are saying that one’s loyalty to their political party should come before their loyalty to country? That’s enough for me to not take the remainder of your truly mean spirited post of false equivalencies seriously.

    When you bemoan the tone of local discourse, be sure to take a glance in the mirror.

    • Dick Lowenstein

      “He’s a political opportunist who shamelessly tried to sabotage his own party.” Apt choice of words. Do they best describe Donald Trump?

  34. Did you all not see when Robert Harrington posted photos of himself purposely refusing to wear a mask on the MetroNorth train in the middle of the pandemic, and boasting about it on Westport Front Porch? The post and picture was deleted, but it was brazen, disturbing, selfish, and dangerous.

  35. Wow – another flagrant lie.There are social media messages going around town this morning stating that Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore donated to “Make America Great Again.” What desperation to spread lies – their opponents must have gotten hold of the poll results.

    • Choosing to associate yourself with a party that now welcomes white supremacists, supports insurrection, blocks the investigation of that insurrection, and seeks to limit voting rights in a way that specifically impacts minority communities negatively, leaves you open to those kinds of false attacks.

      There was a time I, too, would have seen such an attack as unbelievable…

      If you want that type of attack to be unbelievable in the current milieu, the thing to do would be to resign your party association.

      If you’re constantly having to disavow what your party is doing on a national level, frankly, this should be obvious.

    • Chris Washington

      Mr. Kaner:

      Multiple opportunities to provide clarity and answers, on this blog, regarding BASIC POLICY have continuously failed. Can you please help by passing this along to the individual(s) who will provide the detailed answers, in a reply on this blog, in order to correct any misinformation? Thank you!

      The Opportunity:

      Mr. Scarice, Westport Town Public Officials and Westport Board of Education Members:

      Vaccines are mandated for visitors to be permitted to enter Westport Public School Buildings? Is proof of negative COVID test an acceptable OPTION?

      What is the policy for entering Westport Public School Buildings on Election Day this coming Tuesday?
      Proof of vaccination OR proof of negative COVID test?

      Please provide your comment and website link regarding the visitor policy for Westport Public Schools offering the OPTION of showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test to be permitted to enter Westport Public School Buildings.

      Clarification is needed regarding the policy during:

      1. Active school hours.
      2. After-school hours for school events such as sports, concerts and thespian audiences.
      3. After-school hours for groups who use the indoor space for non-school related events.
      4. Election Days

      Proof of vaccination OR proof of negative COVID test?

      (Hospitals are offering the OPTION for visitors to either show proof of vaccination OR proof of negative COVID test within 72 hours).

      Where is the policy located?

      PLEASE clear up the confusion and any misinformation.

      • Chris Washington

        Mr. Woog:

        In addition, this topic would be an excellent opportunity for Mr. Woog to cover the vistor policy facts and details in a separate, new 06880 blog post, afterwards. I’m certain that all would be very appreciative of Mr. Woog’s efforts!

  36. Dan, you have lived in Westport you entire life. Discourse, debate and conversation has always been the glue that held Westport together for all people, regardless of point of view and the rest. This conversation has gotten us all to a point where Westport no longer looks or feels like the local community we all come together to celebrate on Memorial Day. What does the national conversation and debate have to do with Westport’s safety, smarts and solvency? I say nothing – what a national political party or figure does or says has little impact, if any to the education, safety and solvency our leaders provide to the citizens of Westport. On Tuesday, November 2nd, citizens of Westport, please vote for the leaders who you believe represent our best future for a safe, smart and solvent Westport – vote YOUR conscience.

  37. Frannie Southworth

    Very sad reading these comments. Been here for over 33 years and these are not the people or local politicians in the Westport I know and love. The vitriol in the words written in these comments will never unify our town. We’ve all watched our country divide, breaking up families and friends. We are supposed to learn from it, not copy it. Thank you Dan because this has shined a light on the great trouble our town is in. We need to hire professionals who can help us learn how to listen to one another and teach us how to respect one another’s opinions even if different from our own, instead of attacking one another. Politicians, put that in the budget if you truly want to help our unrecognizable town.

    • Frannie — I agree. I moved to Westport 38 years ago, and even though I now live 1/2 mile from the border, I am still involved in many Westport activities.

      At the time, I was so impressed by the good manners, friendlyness and general comportment of Westporters, compared to those I left behind in New York. Unfortunately, it has changed for the worse. What has happened? Has the anger and hatred of national politics filtered down? Many of the people who lived here then have moved or passed away. Those replacing them have changed the atmosphere of the town.