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The Weston Forum’s political endorsements

Weston voters will once again be asked to make many choices when they head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6. A few of these choices are difficult — most are not.

Registrars

State law ensures the two major parties’ candidates for registrars of voters will be elected as long as they receive at least one vote. If the Green Party candidate, Jane Weston, receives more votes than either the Republican or the Democrat, the town would then have three registrars.

Weston’s Republican registrar of voters, Susan Moran, and Democratic registrar, Laura Smits, have served impeccably in their respective offices for years and easily deserve to be re-elected. Both are qualified and have a proven record of serving all of the town’s voters, regardless of party, fairly. The Green Party candidate may share the town’s name, but she is not a resident, and it is not necessary for the town to have a third registrar.

State representative

This is one of the toughest choices for Westonites, because both candidates bring great strengths to the 135th District seat. Republican incumbent John Shaban, concluding his first term in office, is an environmental lawyer who understands the legal ramifications of bills that come before the legislature, which is a plus. Mr. Shaban has been willing to listen to and work for his constituents and to work with the leaders in all three towns he represents, regardless of political affiliation.

But Mr. Shaban, while active in the local community and a man of strong character, approaches his post first and foremost from a businessman’s perspective. Especially when it comes to environmental decisions, he has placed financial considerations above actual environmental ones, and that is not what’s best for Connecticut’s future.

Democrat Leon Karvelis has the financial know-how the job requires, but he approaches it from more of a public servant perspective. A member of the Region 9 (Redding and Easton’s Joel Barlow High School) school board, he has more than 35 years of experience in public finance, public policy research, and state and local government analysis. His expertise has saved Region 9 a great deal of money through refinancing of bonds, and his intelligent, well-thought-out approaches to fiscal problems would be a welcome asset to state government. The state needs Mr. Karvelis.

State senators

Republican incumbent Toni Boucher has been a hard-working, relentless advocate for 26th District towns on issues ranging from education to train service. She is a “hands-on” legislator who listens and makes great efforts to faithfully represent the needs and desires of her constituents. While her challenger, Democrat Carolanne Curry, is wise to focus on addressing ever-increasing local property taxes and protecting public education, Ms. Boucher has proven she is the right choice for the 26th District.

We’ve said it before, and unfortunately it still holds true: Ms. Boucher’s counterpart in the 28th District, Republican John McKinney, could use some lessons from her on the importance of “face time” in the district he serves. However, his experience and record — and, frankly, his clout as the Senate minority leader — outweigh this flaw and should earn him re-election.

U.S. representative

One of the tighter races is bound to be the one for the 4th Congressional District. Both candidates recognize the importance of being a moderate in a district that is the very epitome of moderate.

But even though Republican challenger Steve Obsitnik offers some innovative ideas — not the least of which is his pledge to serve no more than eight years so that he cannot be influenced by special interests — and he is to be commended for running a positive, issue-driven campaign, Democrat Jim Himes clearly remains the best choice.

In his four years representing southwestern Connecticut, Mr. Himes has proven to be a moderate Democrat who votes his conscience and has a track record of working across party lines — no small accomplishment in this Congress. The nonpartisan Concord Coalition honored him as one of just 38 members of Congress — 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans — to vote for a budget based on the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, Mr. Himes has been a leader when it comes to fiscal responsibility. At the same time, he is thoughtful and compassionate, and he brings to both domestic and foreign policies a cool head and an impressive skill set. He has earned a chance to return to Washington for another term.

U.S. senator

While Republican Linda McMahon would like voters to think the race for Connecticut’s open Senate seat is a tight one, Democrat Chris Murphy is the clear and obvious choice.

The three-term congressman, who also served in Connecticut’s legislature, is an advocate for society’s less fortunate and a strong voice against military adventurism. Mr. Murphy has shown he knows how to be a legislator, working across the aisle for the greater good. He will continue to bring commonsense solutions to areas like Medicare and Social Security, advocate for level-headed foreign policy, and remember always that cutting government programs for the poor, veterans and seniors to pay for more tax cuts for the very wealthy is no way to run a country.

Ms. McMahon has not run a political campaign, she has run an advertising campaign. She has repeatedly refused to address real issues or to directly answer questions about her positions, and has chosen instead to try to malign Mr. Murphy’s character in the hope voters will overlook the flaws in her own and her lack of substantive ideas. Mr. Murphy is the one who deserves voters’ support.

President

The choice for president of the United States is also clear. Democrat Barack Obama was the right man for the job four years ago, and he continues to be the person who will lead the country on the path it ought to go down.

Flourishing businesses, a strong economy, and good, stable jobs are obviously important for the health of the country and to all of its citizens. But our country is a democracy, not a corporation, and it should not and cannot be run like a business.

An effective leader of the United States must be focused on protecting the most vulnerable, not helping the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful in the hope they will hire more underlings, thereby “raising up” the underclass.

Mr. Obama’s approach has always been hopeful, deliberate, intelligent, inclusive, and pragmatic. The economy was in free-fall when he took office four years ago — markets collapsing, banking in crisis, jobs vanishing. He took bold and often unpopular — but ultimately necessary — steps to stabilize it, and in so doing, averted real disaster. The recovery has been much slower than anyone would like, but a Republican opposition in Congress that vowed from the get-go to make ousting Mr. Obama its primary goal, rather than helping the American people, must shoulder much of the blame for that.

The president has taken some heat for “pushing” health care reform at a time when the economy was crying out for attention. But health insurance costs were spiraling out of control, and a failure to address the problem would only have created further economic disaster for millions of Americans. It’s ironic that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, now disavows the very same ideas about health care he once championed as governor of Massachusetts, simply because, one must assume, it’s Mr. Obama’s plan. It’s also indicative of much of Mr. Romney’s positions: It’s hard to tell exactly what his position is on so many issues, because he seems to say whatever his audience at the moment wants to hear. That’s not leadership.

One position Mr. Romney has made clear is his desire to see military spending increase, a clear difference from Mr. Obama’s. With one war over and a second quickly winding down, the idea of ramping up military spending as Mr. Romney proposes, rather than redirecting it to those struggling here at home, as Mr. Obama wants to do, is baffling.

Mr. Obama is cool-headed, smart, and committed to fairness and balanced solutions. His approach can be painfully slow and messy — but we’ve said it before: Democracy is messy. It’s about hashing out ideas, making compromises without giving up what is fundamentally important, and working for a greater good. Mr. Obama has proven he is up to the task; let’s hope a new Congress will be willing to help and allow him to complete it.

Charter revision

Vote Yes. See last week’s editorial.

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