Greenwich RTC Issues Statement Following SNAFU with Competing Petitions

Stephen Walko sent out the following RTC statement on Tuesday evening regarding the candidate nomination process, education charter change and ballot access:

Congratulations to all of the candidates who were nominated by the RTC on July 25 and thank you to those who participated in the process.  We have a great field of candidates, led by First Selectman Peter Tesei.  We are fortunate to have such experience in all of our nominated candidates to lead Greenwich for the next two years.   I hope you are all enjoying the summer and getting ready for the campaign season.

Unfortunately, events following our nominating meeting on July 25th compel this correspondence from your RTC officers.

We would like to address three issues: (i) decisions of the RTC relating to the nomination process; (ii) the proposed BOE Charter Change; and (iii) access to the ballot.

By now, many of you have seen or heard that various individuals are seeking to either petition on the November ballet as a third Republican candidate for the Board of Education or through a primary for the Board of Estimate and Taxation.

Our Party rules allow candidates to petition and thus this is their right.  This is not unexpected, especially when you have the quality of candidates we had this year.  While we encourage Republicans to support the endorsed candidates, we understand and respect the right of all Republicans to make their voice heard by utilizing the petition option.

We do want to address, however, comments pertaining to voter choice and the proposed charter change to revise the election process to the Board of Education.  At our meeting on July 25, the RTC voted to endorse two candidates for the Board of Education.  While voters may have various definitions of voter choice, this position is not inconsistent with the need for Charter change.

Under the current system voters all too often do not have a choice.  This is true when a party only nominates the minimum number of candidates that can be elected – as the DTC and RTC did this year in endorsing two candidates for the BOE.

Thus without Charter change, voter choice only occurs under the current system when either a party endorses more candidates than can win or an additional candidate petitions on, which may occur this year much as it did four years ago

The RTC’s decision to endorse two candidates for the BOE does not belie the need for Charter change.  Rather, it shows the flaw that the current system does not require true voter choice.  Our proposed Charter change allows for voter choice because, not all candidates nominated would be elected (for example, 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats would be vying for 5 seats).

You may recall that the debate at the July 25 meeting concerning the BOE did not center solely on voter choice.  Instead, the argument to endorse only two candidates focused on many issues. One issue was not allowing non-Republicans to choose which Republicans are elected in November.  This has been and will be an ongoing argument against endorsing more candidates than seats any party can win until the Charter is changed.

Another issue was the concern that one of the BOE candidates did not support the BOE sense of the meeting resolution regarding voter choice.  It is unfair and inaccurate to state that the RTC based its decisions concerning their choice of BOE candidates solely on the basis of their position on the proposed Charter change.

While our DTC friends have tried to spin the narrative concerning the RTC nominating only 2 candidates for the BOE, they only have to look in the mirror.

First, despite their rhetoric, the DTC only nominated 2 candidates for the BOE.

Moreover, when the RTC did the same, they cried foul arguing the RTC is somehow not for voter choice.  Maybe this series of events will finally show the voters that they, and not the political parties, should have the final say in who is elected to the BOE.

The second issue that must be addressed is the right of ballot access.

We, the officers of the RTC, do not condone any obstruction to one’s right to have their name appear on the ballot.  Whether a candidate is petitioning for a primary or to simply be included on the ballot in November, no one has the right to impede their access to obtain the necessary signatures.  Any such attempts are simply wrong and not in keeping with the virtues of democracy.

We encourage all Republicans, especially the members of the RTC, to remain engaged and to seek out the facts, and not the rhetoric or “spin” as to why individuals are endorsed or seeking signatures.

We thank you all for your efforts leading into our July 25 endorsement meeting. We look forward to working together, with all of you, this Fall and celebrating a great Republican victory in November.

– RTC Officers​

  • peterfalexander

    Leadership?

  • Lucy

    Let me see if I have this straight. The RTC can nominate as many candidates as it likes. The RTC is pushing for greater voter choice in the form of a charter revision that allows for the election of a greater number of BoE candidates from one party to have seats on the board. But, they would still be in control of the number of nominees should the charter revision move forward. Therefore, they would still be able to limit the nominees to those who agree with the platforms of their 57 members. Those who do not toe the party line would still have to petition to get on the ballot. So, still no *real* choice in candidates. And, they are limiting candidates this year because they don’t want non-republicans (which includes a significant number of unaffiliated voters) to be able to vote for republican BoE candidates, which is how the laws/ballot works. Despite the fact that this is America and while primary laws vary, the people, regardless of their beliefs or party affiliations, are lawfully encouraged to vote for ANY candidate they feel best represents their interests. This is not the first time I’ve seen commentary from RTC representatives bemoaning the fact that they don’t have 100% control of which republicans makes it onto the board, which is not how democracy is meant to work. It is especially egregious to take this stance regarding BoEs, which have a tremendous effect on the lives of ALL children attending the schools they control and the tax payers in the community, not just the children of republicans. This is a community, RTC, and it is diverse. It’s not your private club. This socio-economic diversity is what makes Greenwich special. If we end up living in the vacuum you are pushing so hard for, you will most certainly regret it.

    • C. Devlin

      Well said, Lucy.

    • Julie B.

      Yup, and this all has what to do with a better education for our children?

  • Greenwich Resident

    As a long time resident of Greenwich, I wholeheartedly support Peter Bernstein for BOE.

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