I’m not a sheep – I think on my own.
OPINION by Brian Kaskel, a Husband, Father, and RINO who writes what he thinks and thinks what he writes! The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Middletown Eye, its contributors, or the friends of the author, some of whom happen to contribute to The Middletown Eye.
I truly was undecided (like many people I know) up until Wednesday evening – roughly 24 hours after the last Mayoral Debate, held at Keigwin School. Why was I having so much angst with this decision? Historically, I have favored a more conservative approach than a progressive one. But what does it mean to be progressive? It’s not like I want to be regressive. Do my conservative tendencies truly hold up today? Honestly, I am really only conservative on a few fiscal issues, socially I am as open minded as the next person – maybe that is why more of my friends are Dems. I am not a staunchly “right” Republican, but I honestly don’t feel that I progressive enough for this town – which I am ok with. It just seems, I am a man, without an island.
[At the debate, I stood up and implored all of the candidates to strip down and throw out the “smoke and mirrors” routine and admit that no matter what, taxes will go up regardless of who the Mayor is. I begged them to tell me what THEY want to spend my tax dollars on. I asked them NOT to tell me what they think I want to hear. Do you think they did that? Nope – perfectly polished non-committal answers. So to me, they are all the same.]
That said, let me tell you why I am casting my vote for Ben Florsheim.
I had to take my own advice and vote based on values that were important to me. Reminding myself again that no candidate is perfect.
1. Most important to me is bipartisanship. For the council I will be “bullet voting” I will be choosing people on both sides of the aisle that I feel will work together and work together well. I think Ben Florsheim is best suited to work with a bipartisan council. I feel he will listen before acting. He will be calculated in his decision. And sure, there will be times his decision and the council’s won’t be what I am looking for – but that’s going to happen anywhere.
2. Perception is reality. I am not impressed with the way the RTC has run this campaign. If I am being honest, I am not impressed with the RTC leadership in general over the last few years. They have become one trick ponies, and it’s all about taxes. Very staunchly right. Very one dimensional. If you are to be considered a “real republican” you have to vote the entire slate or you are letting them down. I may be wrong about this – but it is my perception, so it is my reality. I think Ben Florsheim has a multi- faceted approach to how he is going to improve Middletown. Don’t get me wrong, I do think reigning in taxing and spending is important. But that is not ALL I care about. Education is paramount to me and I do believe Ben will have a better handle on moving education forward for Middletown, both now and in the future.
3. Seb Giuliano is a different man than he was 8 years ago. Full disclosure: I voted for Seb for Mayor, and I voted for him for Council. Considering the climate of our Nation in general, I have sensed a change in attitude that I am not on board with. I have had conversations in the past where Seb stated to me that people “don’t want Republicans that are almost like Democrats when they can have the genuine article” Maybe that’s true – but it flies in the face of what I am. I am center mast. Sometimes right leaning sometimes left – but center. I won’t associate with the National party and the local party has not proven to be any different. I am independent which makes my voting for Ben Florsheim fair game.
4. Let me also be clear, I am not in favor of career politicians in local politics. That said I am ok with making a career of politics. (Read that again there is a difference) I think all levels of government should have term limits. Basically move up or move out. You can’t stay in one spot forever. If Ben wants to make his career in politics and use Middletown as a stepping stone, I am ok with that – the only way he can do that is to do a good job. If he does a crap job he won’t have much of a career. Seb did his job, he was good for Middletown, and he did a fine job at the time he was Mayor. He has his place in Middletown history but now it’s time for fresh ideas. I am voting for Ben because he has fresh Ideas. I won’t agree with all of them but we will push forward not backward. I believe in cooperative leadership.
5. Lastly, I feel Ben listens. I fully anticipate not agreeing with his policies or actions 100% of the time. Maybe not even 50% of the time. But I feel Ben will consider all points of view and make an educated decision. Ben appears to respect the opinions of those he wishes to represent. I have witnessed a different style and approach from Seb. More of a, my way or the highway mentality. I don’t do well with that.
Ultimately this is one man’s opinion. And you know what they say about opinions. I understand that some people will agree with this way of thinking and others won’t. This may have helped you decide one way or another – and if that is the case then I am happy either way. I myself, have decided to vote for Ben, because I am not a sheep, I am a RINO.