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Political representation… We all want it. We all deserve it.

Political representation is the cornerstone of democracy.  It is the fundamental right that we all seek and deserve.  Regardless of political affiliation, every individual wants to be heard and represented.  When we invest our time in understanding a candidate and cast our vote, we do so with the expectation of being represented.  Even if our chosen candidate is not the victor, we anticipate that our perspectives will be acknowledged and advocated for.

However, the recent turn of events in East Norwalk District C has left many feeling unheard and unrepresented. The abrupt resignation of not just 1, but 2, elected Common Council representatives, Jenn McMurrer and Melissa Murray, has left East Norwalk residents of District C feeling abandoned and voiceless.  The charter rules that allow for the Town Committee of the resigning party, to appoint replacements without electoral input raises serious questions about the democratic process and the accountability of elected officials.

Granted, circumstances happen. Jenn McMurrer has been a strong advocate for East Norwalk during her tenure. However, shouldn’t all the people have a say in who represents them, especially when those representatives fail to fulfill their commitments? Melissa Murray was elected just 7 months ago. If a representative steps down just 7 months into their term, should they automatically be replaced by another candidate of the same party?  How was the time commitment of this office overlooked prior to running for office?

I would like to express my deep reservations about the circumstances surrounding these resignations and subsequent appointments.  It is imperative to reevaluate the current system and ensure that elected officials are held accountable to the constituents they serve.  The people of District C, and all of Norwalk, deserve transparency, integrity and genuine representation. The residents of East Norwalk deserve elected officials who uphold their promises and prioritize the needs of the community. 

That said, I would not think it unreasonable to request an amendment to the Charter wherein, a special election be held to fill a council vacancy if there is more than a year left in the term. With less than one year remaining, one could more arguably, remain a committee appointment. 

As we approach the upcoming elections, it is essential to consider where we place our trust and votes.  

Take the time to look, to choose candidates who will truly stand for the interests of the community and who will fulfill their commitment to serve.

The future of East Norwalk District C depends on our collective commitment to ensuring that every voice is not just heard but valued and represented.

Political representation… We all want it. We all deserve it. 

Dona Menton

District C Chair, Norwalk Republican Town Committee 

Comments

6 responses to “Political representation… We all want it. We all deserve it.”

  1. Jenn McMurrer

    I rarely comment on these articles, but since I am literally called out by name I felt compelled to do so.
    First of all, I agree representation is important, but who is to say that a better person will not be appointed to this job? Also, because we agree representation is important, I feel it is necessary to point out that District C is so much more than East Norwalk. We represent a wide area all the way to Wolfpit and to the Westport border.
    As we saw last year and in years past, it can be challenging to update our charter. But I encourage anyone who wants changes to attend the meetings we are hosting as a Council. The charter is our constitution, fortunately or unfortunately, the rules are laid out by which we govern the city in that document. If any changes are proposed, they must be added to the ballot and be voted on a general election.
    I also think it’s important to point out that when my friend Tom Keegan resigned from the Council, the RTC had no problem appointing someone to his seat from their very party.
    I know this feels abrupt to the public, but this is a decision I have been weighing since January. I have tried to make accommodations in my own life with my family to see if I could continue and have spent much of that time weighing all of the possibilities. I did not come to this decision lightly or abruptly. And although my circumstances have changed with my family, I do not feel it is my duty to go into all of those details with the public as they are in fact private.
    I have made the very deliberate decision to stay on until the date by which a new appointment will be made so there is no gap for our district.
    I have served for three years and it has been the privilege of my life to serve as I have, but I feel I can walk away from this position with my head held high knowing that I did what I could and worked hard for my neighbors.

  2. David Muccigrosso

    When barely 20% of the electorate turns out in every election, THIS is just jumping at shadows.

    What exactly are you trying to imply, anyways? Do you seriously think there’s some sort of conspiracy… by the Democrats… to replace Democrats… with other Democrats? On a council where they wield a 14-to-1 super-DUPER-majority?

    The real conspiracy is by the entire Norwalk political machine to keep turnout low with oddly-timed off-year elections, so they can be dominated by entrenched interests.

    The real conspiracy is by the two-party system to use obsolete our obsolete First-Past-The-Post voting system to keep any other party from challenging them.

    There’s a LOT that needs to change about the way our “democracy” works. This ain’t even in the top 10.

  3. Ana Tabachneck

    While the author feels abandoned and voiceless, I don’t know that they can speak for the residents of East Norwalk. That said, I think it is a great idea to look at whether special elections, rather than committee appointments, would make more sense in this context. Happily, the charter is currently open for revision. I hope the author and anyone else who wants such a change will added the chart revision meetings and submit public comments requesting such a change. What are the pluses and minuses of special elections vs. committee appointments? I look forward to learning more about it.

  4. Tysen Canevari

    Welcome to Norwalk. You can attend all the council meetings in the world but you are only allowed 3 minutes to voice your concerns about something that will be talked about later. No opportunity for dialogue at all. When the whole leaf blower ban was presented and voted on it was already pre determined what the outcome would be. We voiced our concerns and the council looks back at you and says thank you. Thats what you get in return. I applaud Mrs McMurrer for her 3 year commitment and service. Family comes first and she stated that. Mrs Murray quits after 7 months. Really? The people of Norwalk need to come out and vote so we dont have this one way street we call the council. I seem to think Tom Livingston runs the city anyway and Harry justs cuts the ribbons. BTW i still hear those leaf blowers loud and clear! Here’s to the working men and woman!

  5. Fred Wilms

    Dona makes a lot of sense. If the vacancy is early in the term, then there should be a special election. Later term vacancies can remain town committee appointments. A worthy topic for the next charter revision.

  6. Elsa Peterson Obuchowski

    I see Mrs. McMurrer has already stated what I was going to write: District C includes much more than just East Norwalk.
    As for the comment about “oddly timed off-year elections,” unless I’m mistaken it is the State of Connecticut constitution that calls for municipal elections in odd-numbered years, whereas state & federal elections are held in even-numbered years.
    https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_146.htm#sec_9-164
    Various groups have proposed changing municipal/local elections to synch with state and federal elections. For example: https://citizensunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Moving-Municipal-Elections-to-Even-Numbered-Years-Citizens-Union-report_FINAL.pdf
    and
    https://www.theday.com/editorials/20191023/should-municipal-elections-move-to-even-years/ [paywall]
    Also, a few states elect their governors and other statewide officials in odd-numbered years, which Connecticut does not do.
    https://www.npr.org/2019/11/04/767959274/why-these-5-states-hold-odd-year-elections-bucking-the-trend

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