Ken Bernhard has ended his campaign for State Senate, from the 26th District.
The attorney — active in many civic causes, at the local and international levels — is a former Republican State Representative. He switched his party affiliation several years ago. He was running as a Democratic to succeed retiring Senator Will Haskell.
“It appears that my past affiliation with the Republican party is viewed by many in the DTC as an insurmountable obstacle to securing the Democratic nomination in May. I do not wish to undermine the strength and unity of our party by engaging in a contentious primary challenge.
“It is my sincere hope that my campaign has brought focus and attention to some of the important issues facing Connecticut, and that it generated productive discussions on how best to deal with them.
“As I return to my active law practice and continue to serve the public in my work with non-profit humanitarian organizations, I want to express my gratitude to my many friends and supporters — on both sides of the aisle — for their confidence, encouragement, and generous campaign contributions.
“I wish Ceci Maher the best of luck in her campaign and urge all voters in the 26th District to support her on November 8.”
Maher, a Wilton resident long active in many Westport-based organizations, is the lone Democrat still running. Westporter Michael Gordon — a former Board of Education chair — entered the race, but left due to time constraints with his full-time job and family.
Michael Gordon has ended his campaign for Connecticut’s 26th District State Senate seat.
The former Westport Board of Education chair says: “After diving in a few weeks ago, I’ve come to realize that I can’t juggle effectively the multiple demands of family, work and this campaign/the State Senate.
“The simple truth is that I thought I could do all of it at a high level, but I’ve learned that I can’t. I was excited both to campaign and to serve, but I’m also clear that now is not the right time if I want to do the job well.
“I want to thank our wonderful friends for their enormous outpouring of support, kindness and offers of help. I also want to thank the many kind and wise new friends I’ve made throughout the 26th District. I wish Ceci Maher and Ken Bernhard the best of luck, and I look forward to supporting our nominee this fall.”
The Westport Public Schools’ STEM program is robust. But for students who even more science, technology, engineering and math, Staples High School’s STEM Club is perfect.
For 6 years, one of their signature projects is a STEM Journal. Published 2 to 3 times a year, and packed with information on everything from the environment and medicine to astrophysics and psychology, it’s a great outlet for teenagers who love both research, and writing about it.
Its model is the journals published by universities and research institutions. Most of those have editorial boards — experts who review articles, provide advice and assist editors.
Staples’ STEM Journal wants to improve their scientific credibility, and link students with professionals. So they’re putting out a call for editorial board members. Interested in joining? Click here for more information.
But you don’t have to be an editorial board member to help the STEM Club. They need funds to publish print editions. To contribute, click here.
And to read any of the 11 STEM Journal issues published so far, click here.
Growing up in Westport, so close to the water — and years in Boy Scouts — influenced and inspired David Stalling’s love for and desire to protect wildlife and wild places.
The 1979 Staples High School graduate — and former Force Recon Marine — now lives in Montana. Now he’s got an even deeper understanding of life, and what it means to be part of the natural world. He’s thought often about grizzly bears and wolves, and the need for complete and balanced ecosystems.
The other day, he was a guest on the “All Things Wolf and Wild” podcast. He discussed Western wildlife — but also his youth back East. Click here for the fascinating episode.
Paul Delano describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:
“These very small crocuses are in my yard, looking toward Newtown Turnpike. You have to be almost on top of them to see them. I love putting crocuses in the grass because they are little surprise gems that are up and gone by the time grass needs to be mowed.”
Today, Westport businessman and former Board of Education chair Michael Gordon announced his candidacy for the State Senate. He joins fellow Democrats Ken Bernhard and Ceci Maher in the race to succeed Will Haskell.
Calling himself “an optimist,” he says:
“The past 2 years have taken an enormous toll on our children, our seniors, small business owners, working parents – all of us. I am running to make a positive difference for all of them — and for all of us — to help lead Connecticut into its next chapter. I’ve spoken to Democratic party leaders throughout the district, and there are 4issue areas that impact the citizens of our towns.
“First, children and education. The past 2 years have been a mental health catastrophe for our children. We don’t yet know the consequences, and Connecticut needs to inspire many more mental health providers to work in the state. We also need to protect working parents and support their childcare by expanding initiatives like care4kids. In addition, the cost of higher education continues to skyrocket and has generally outpaced inflation for the past 40 years. And we are letting down the next generation – my children’s generation – on the issues of climate, gun safety and our democracy.
“Second, gender equality. We need to turbocharge more coding at earlier ages, especially among girls and young women. As a small business owner who has created jobs, I want to stimulate more small business development centers for minority/women-owned business enterprises. We also should employ strategic micro loans to these businesses early in their development.
“Third, our seniors. I want to be the go-to state senator for our seniors. My late mother talked frequently about how difficult getting old is. We can provide more relief for seniors on their pensions and annuities. We have to offer more homebound services and support for seniors so they can age happily in place.”
“Fourth, endemic Connecticut. The state has fared better than other places economically, but a pandemic is not a strategy. I will be a hammer on the transportation issues that dog our communities. Among other things, we need to repair the bridges that slow down Metro-North and move to more and faster trains. We also need to continue to attract people by expanding our arts and outdoor activities.
“There is an urgency to our work together. Our children only have one chance at a world-class education. Our seniors only have one chance at a peaceful golden age. And we are running out of chances to bring more compassion to our discourse.”
Michael and Linda Gordon, with their children.
Gordon began his career as an attorney at Skadden, then joined the Clinton administration. His first role was with the Secretary of Education on policy issues including college affordability. He moved to the Justice Department, as a spokesperson for Attorney General Janet Reno.
A few years later, Michael started a corporate communications firm in New York, Group Gordon. Half of his practice is in the public interest for nonprofits. He has worked on a range of issues including education, health care, the environment, food insecurity, civil rights, gender equality, domestic violence services and senior services.
Crain’s named Group Gordon one of New York’s 100 best workplaces, regardless of size or industry, and the SABRE Awards named it one of the top 5 corporate agencies in North America.
In addition to chairing the Board of Edcuation, Goron has served on boards of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, ADL Connecticut and the local Jewish Federation. Michael and his wife Linda were honored with ADL’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award.
The couple have 3 teenagers. Over the years, Michael coached or managed more than 40 Little League baseball and Westport soccer teams for them.
In his spare time Gordon is a diligent music fan and a perpetually-frustrated Detroit Lions fan.
Presidents make State of the Union speeches. Governors have their own (weirdly named) State of the States.
Now Westport introduces the State of the Town.
Unlike the other events, this one is a public forum. Questions are welcome from normal (as in, you and I) citizens.
It’s set for Sunday, January 28 (4 p.m., Town Hall). First Selectman Jim Marpe and Board of Education chair Michael Gordon will discuss town and school issues. Both are in charge of big budgets — and both wield important influence on what this town is, and where it’s going.
The State of the Town is a joint project of Westport Sunrise Rotary and the Westport Rotary Club. Incoming presidents Eileen Flug and Jeff Wieser joined current presidents Ron Holtz and Susie Basler to make the event a reality.
The State of the Town is a great way to learn what’s going on — and give feedback.
Something was missing this week, when the RTM considered Westport’s 2 budgets.
On Monday night, the legislative body unanimously approved $79 million in town spending for 2015-16. That’s a 2.51% increase over the current year. Included in the funding: $37,714 previously cut from the Transit District.
Last night, the vote was again unanimous: $111 million for the Board of Education. That’s a cut of $300,000 from what the Board of Finance approved in March; it’s up 1.8% from last year.
RTM members praised Jim Marpe’s administration, the superintendent of schools and Board of Ed for the care and scrutiny with which they prepared their requests.
Budget season in Westport used to be high drama. Proponents claimed that every dollar was sacrosanct to the future of Westport. Opponents shouted that massive cuts were needed to avoid fiscal ruin. Invective would spew. Referendums were threatened (or actually held). Things got ugly.
And the next year, the same thing happened all over again.
Budget season has been quiet for a while now. A couple of elements are at work.
Selectmen, the superintendent and Board of Ed have been prudent and honest in their requests. They’ve worked closely with the Board of Finance to understand what’s realistic — and the Board of Finance has worked hard to understand realistic requests.
All sides have tried to balance the all-important (and very elusive) concept of “quality of Westport life” with the economic realities of the 21st century.
Political posturing has been replaced with true bipartisanship.
No one in Westport threatens a government shutdown. No one wants to sequester funds. No one panders to a special set of constituents or supporters. That’s the way democracy works. Or it’s supposed to, anyway.
We haven’t heard a lot of names of local politicians lately. Many Westporters don’t even know who is chairman of the Board of Finance (John Pincavage) or Board of Ed (Michael Gordon). One is a Republican. The other’s a Democrat. Together, they and their boards govern effectively — and without egos.
The Board of Finance sets the official mill rate 2 weeks from today. A minimal increase is expected from the current 17.94.
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