To the editor:

Some candidates run to help others. Other candidates want their name emblazoned on yard signs and a microphone in front of their face — a chance to froth and foment.

If you value hard work, intelligence, transparency and decency, please pick Lee Goldstein and Neil Phillips for the Board of Education. They advocate for students, parents, taxpayers, and educators, and they do it professionally week after week. They know what makes a top-notch school system because they’ve actually created one. Along with write-in candidate Jill Dillon, they’re the adults in the race.

In their sad-trombone debate performance, Republicans Camilo Riano and Jamie Fitzgerald saw problems everywhere but couldn’t be bothered to suggest solutions. The awkward chats on their Facebook page are a series of sweeping abstractions by candidates who look like hostages in front of a dying log fire. Riano’s statements on the ultra-right-wing Connecticut Centinal site aren’t exactly inspiring, either. Here’s just one, from August 2022: “If the FBI can call me a domestic terrorist if I speak at my town’s Board of Education meetings, and can raid the home of a former president of the United States for political reasons, I am not in a democracy anymore. I am living in a totalitarian, tyrannical system.” 

How local Republicans can even think about inflicting these woefully inadequate candidates on an award-winning school system is a mystery. They’d be sand in the cogs of progress — which is the point, I guess. Their worldview is based entirely on their own children, not anyone else’s. What a failure of vision and duty and sympathy.

I urge voters to choose sense over nonsense, inspiration over conspiracy, local knowledge over national puppetry, and compassionate details over ignorant generalities. Westport deserves to go forward, not backward. 

Tom Prince