Save Westport Now Drops Party Label, Expands Focus

There will soon be one less political party in Westport.

After more than 40 years as a local, non-partisan minority party, Save Westport Now is making a “structural change.”

Instead of acting as an official political party focused solely on Planning & Zoning Commission elections, they’ll operate as an “association.” They’ll expand their focus, and weigh in on other races.

Save Westport Now will not run candidates in the November election.

Save Westport Now was founded in 1980. A grassroots organization, they are “dedicated to protecting residential neighborhoods, preserving Westport’s
small-town New England appeal, ensuring smart growth, preventing over-commercialization, and preserving open space>”

That mission — which also includes protecting the town’s natural and historic resources, and quality of life — will not change, officials say.

The decision was made in part by the recognition that elections at all levels —  including local ones — are now largely driven by national party affiliation.

That makes it difficult for organizations like theirs to remain “truly non-partisan.”

In the 2021 election, 3 Democratic P&Z candidates also ran on the Save Westport Now line. All 3 won.

Danielle Dobin got 532 SWN votes; Michael Cammeyer got 503, and Neil Cohn, 440. Their totals on the Democratic line were 4838, 4571 and 4461 respectively.

Save Westport Now officials also note that “safeguarding Westport’s future requires actively planning for climate change.”

But not all of that planning falls under the P&Z umbrella. Recently, they say, efforts like advocating for keeping the Westport Community Gardens and Long Lots Preserve in their current locations have gone beyond the P&Z.

Save Westport Now has widened its focus beyond the Planning & Zoning Commission umbrella. It has begun advocating on behalf of the Westport Community Gardens. (Photo/Karen Mather)

“Widening our lens will allow us to look at other local candidates — examining their records on land use and environmental issues, and making endorsements in other races beyond P&Z,” Save Westport Now says.

“The same is true for national and statewide issues around housing affordability. While P&Z in recent years has done much to lead on this issue, there is still a great deal that town officials can do to be proactive about meeting or exceeding the affordability targets expected of Westport.

“We believe that that this new approach will give us an even stronger voice in town and improve the election process, allowing us to make recommendations in more races and endorse candidates who we believe will be most responsive to residents, instead of running candidates who are also seeking election on a national party line.

“We will also continue to identify candidates who have conflicts of interest or who might be beholden to certain special interest groups.”

Save Westport Now will not accept contributions from special interest groups, and continue their non-partisan approach.

“After 40 years of advocacy for Westport’s residents,” officials say, “we believe that the challenges the town faces today demand this more nimble and wide-ranging approach. We look forward on working with Westporters of all political affiliations on the important issues facing our town.”

Co-chairs Ian Warburg and Jerri Graham, secretary Mark Kirby, treasurer Jessie Noyes McEntee, and board members Matthew Levine, Nina Streitfeld, Carol Buffinton and Valerie Seiling Jacobs (ex-officio) invite interested Westporters to check out their website or Facebook page, or email

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4 responses to “Save Westport Now Drops Party Label, Expands Focus

  1. While this is sad in one respect, it is great in another. Their work was not always in P&Z and now they can do more and not be tethered to the constraints of the political process. I hope Sidney Kramer is looking down and giving his blessing.

    I look forward to seeing what SWN does next.

  2. Nimble, wide ranging, intelligent and articulate AND non-partisan —thank you Save Westport Now!

  3. Yes thank you SWN.
    Looking forward to having you bear down on and keep a very watchful eye on the conflicts of interest side to this.
    It will get very interesting to say the least.

  4. Carl Addison Swanson, Wrecker '66

    Good for them. My father was a close friend of Herb Baldwin, the real founding father of this town. He was adamant about NOT have Westport become a town just for the rich which, I, sadly believe it has become. Many would call this “progress” but I call it a major transformation which is now causing major issues with traffic etc. We need a professional city manager in this town to deal with these issues or as one P&Z member says “we will end up just like Milford.”

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