Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Opinion: Florsheim Is the Only True Democrat

Submitted by Brandon Chafee. Chafee is a lifelong resident of Middletown, a civil engineer, and the treasurer for the Middletown Democratic Party. 
Democrats in Middletown have a rare opportunity this election cycle.  We have a choice between an unprecedented four mayoral candidates. Although each candidate has their own unique strengths and weakness, Ben Florsheim is the clear choice to be our next Democratic Mayor. 

Ben comes to the table with new ideas and isn’t afraid to listen to others.  He wants to make sure our riverfront is open to all residents and not just developers.  He wants Middletown to be a leader on education, youth services, and environmental consciousness.   

He’s the only true democrat in the race. While other candidates use buzzwords in an attempt to polish their image, Ben lives his ideals.  One candidate was a Republican just last year, one is being funded by numerous Trump supporters, and the other uses Republican talking points regularly. 

He’s running a grassroots campaign. While other candidates have resorted to taking money from city contractors, corporate lobbyists, and in some cases - Trump supporters, Ben’s camapign is funded by average people. Ben will be beholden to the people of Middletown, not big money donors.

He is the only candidate without extensive ties to family and friends in city hall. Middletown has a culture of nepotism and cronyism where jobs and promotions are doled out in exchange for political favors.  All too often people are hired or promoted based on who they know and not what they know. Ben is the only candidate who can break this cycle. 

His character shines.  Ben is a genuinely nice person. He is intelligent, thoughtful, honest, and compassionate.  He has the qualities and integrity that make a good leader.

Ben is extremely mature and accomplished for his age.  His experience working with US Senator Chris Murphy as a community liaison is hard to match.  Ben has served numerous towns throughout central Connecticut as Senators Murphy’s point person.  This gives him unique experience seeing various towns operate and knowing what works well and what doesn’t. 

For these reasons I am supporting Ben Florsheim, I hope you will as well!


Another True Democrat said...

Other than the DTC, what other town groups or committees is he involved in? Working as an organizer for Chris Murphy does not seem to be the varied experience one would need to run a town of 50,000. Is he managing Chris Murphy's staff, policy matters, or handling a budget? Has he had increasing levels of responsibility? He is young and smart, but to my knowledge he didn't start a company from the ground up.

Anonymous said...

I am utterly fascinated with the premise of this article: only a true democrat is qualified to be mayor of Middletown? Does this mean that other Democratic mayors haven’t been true? Or that “Republican talking points” have no governing merit?

Is the key emphasis on true or democrat?

If the former, why is true defined as living “his,” ideals, running a grassroots campaign (defined narrowly as one in which average people, not politically identified as Republicans, give small amounts of money), without extensive ties to family and friends in city hall, possessing a shiny character, and someone who has worked for a US senator?

If the latter, well, there is no explanation of what a Middletown democrat actually stands for.

But, for the sake of simplicity, let’s look only at your premise that other candidates use buzzwords and Ben “lives his ideals.” You seem to be suggesting that these ideals, belonging only to Ben, are the ultimate expression of being a “true democrat.”

What does that mean exactly? If Ben’s ideals are his, but also the definition of a true democrat, doesn’t your logic also mean that a different candidate, living his or her ideals, is therefore the true definition of whatever party they claim to be part of?

Your logic is circular: if Ben can declare his ideals as being the only truth, so can any other candidate. And the end result is that no candidate is the true embodiment of his or her party.

Which brings me to my point: voters, be wary of any candidate claiming to own the one true way.

In this case, Mr. Chaffee, on behalf of your candidate, you’ve notified any Republican (and untrue Democrat) in town that they don’t matter: their concerns are irrelevant and their point of view is a waste of your candidate’s time. You’ve also made it clear that a “true Middletown Democrat” wouldn’t be caught dead trying to build a Middletown that works for all of its residents, and not just the “true” portion of your party.

So why not just save time and put up a big sign that says No Republicans or Untrue Democrats wanted in Middletown?

Wait. Maybe that wouldn’t be the best move if you are also interested in economic development…

The more dangerous undertone to your opinion is the notion that anyone can own the truth. Truth is its own entity, belonging to no one party or person. Something is true or it isn’t. Period. There is no such thing as a true democrat or republican, and no one should want such a thing anyway. It leaves no room for compromise, compassion for other viewpoints or experiences, or plain human decency.

For Middletown to be a thriving, inclusive town, its mayor cannot be divisive and exclusionary. Middletown needs a mayor who can rise above his or her personal political preferences to do the most for the most. The position cannot be used to punish those who don’t agree with his or her preferences. Idealism is no substitute for effective governing.

I will agree with you on one point - Middletown hasn’t had a mayor like that in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Partisan politics is meaningless here in Middletown. If someone is a Democrat or Republican says more about relationships and alliances than political theory here. I think lots of Middletown voters have crossed party lines over the years, based on who they thought would do a good job, even if they wouldn't vote for that party in the national elections.

I'm voting for Ben Florsheim but its not because he passed some kind of democratic test for me. Its because after researching and talking to all the candidates, I think he has the best chance of being able to work with anyone - regardless of party. I'm really tired of all the grudges and favors owed with all the people who are part of the current system. Ben shows that he can listen and brings ideas that are successful from other places because thats what he does in his job for the last 5 years. He chose this place to live and he is invested in the future here.

No one is perfect, and they all bring something different to the table. I think Ben has more of what we need right now.