Bergstein: I’m Proud to be a Democrat

Letter to the editor submitted by Alex Bergstein, Democratic candidate for State Senate 36th district against incumbent, Republican Scott Frantz, submitted Sept 11, 2018

My name is Alex Bergstein and I’m the Democrat running for State Senate in the 36th district. I’m running because:

• We need leaders with good ideas, proven solutions and integrity.

• We can create a thriving, resilient economy while also building a civil, inclusive society. We don’t have to choose between them!

• Connecticut’s future depends on the choices we make. Its time to stop talking about problems and get to work solving them.

• Our lives literally depend on electing people who put us first, rather than their political career.

Until earlier this year I was an Independent, a party affiliation I chose because I used to believe neither of the major parties had a place for me, a socially liberal and fiscally conservative voter. Not taking sides, I believed, gave me the freedom to choose candidates who best represented me, sometimes Democrats and sometimes Republicans.

But I no longer recognize the Connecticut Republican Party. Trump’s vision for America has already made its way into our state. The Republican candidate for Governor gave Trump’s job performance an “A” and Republicans up and down the ballot have not distanced themselves from the President’s words or deeds.

Even when his actions embolden our enemies and threaten our national security, Republican legislators remain silent. This is nothing short of an abdication of responsibility to the people who elected them.

We must stand up for our values and beliefs. And the first line of defense is
the voting booth.

My decision to run for office is a direct result of the public service I learned from my family. My mom was mayor of our town and my dad was a judge.

But it was my grandparents – Alex and Elizabeth Kasser – who taught me what real service is. They were a young couple in Budapest, Hungary, when WWII began. They could have emigrated to the US but instead they chose to stay. For the next five years their mission was to save as many lives as possible. My grandfather was Director of the Swedish Red Cross and devised a system of protective “passports” for Jews. He also hid Jewish children in “safe houses” so they wouldn’t be deported. When Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Hungary, he teamed up with my grandparents, and they began pulling people off the trains headed to concentration camps. By this point, Alex and Elizabeth had two small children of their own.

Their lives were constantly at risk but they persisted in their mission of saving others. My grandparents never thought of themselves as heroes, just decent people doing the right thing.

Their example taught me that we are not defined by our wealth or power but rather, by what we choose to stand up for and what we do to help others. This age-old virtue of self sacrifice seems to be lost in politics today.

It has been replaced by shameless self-interest and profiteering.

This must end.

It is time to believe in ourselves again, in what we can accomplish when we work together. We need to view compromise not as a loss for one team but as collaboration with all teams. We must put aside the partisan blinders that impede our ability to see and embrace solutions that actually work!

Our nation is at a moral crossroads. This is a defining moment when we
each of us must ask: What do I stand for?

I choose to stand for a peaceful, just and inclusive future where each person has the opportunity and freedom to pursue their potential. A future where children never worry about school shootings or if the planet will survive.

I choose hope over fear and action over excuses. If you do too, I invite you to join my campaign at www.alex4statesenate.

Together, we can build the future we want!