Election 2021 Letters to the Editor — Oct. 1, 2021

Every Friday until Election Day, GOOD Morning Wilton publishes Letters to the Editor that we’ve received about the candidates and/or election-related issues. Learn more about our election coverage guidelines and policies, including word count maximums and requirements for Letters to the Editor. Letters are printed in the order in which they are received. To send a letter to the editor, email it to editor@goodmorningwilton.com.

No Room for “Radical Views” on Board of Education

To the Editor:

It was disturbing to see the Republican response to Bob Carney’s letter and GMW’s factual follow-up. It’s a classic example of avoiding answering the question.

While decrying “the last 18 months” of difficult times, Republicans are perpetuating that very time on a local level by running candidates for the Board of Education who seem to have a political agenda. Words of ‘equity,’ ‘Open Choice,’ ‘school mask policy’ are spoken to promote fear rather than acceptance, reconciliation, and good science.

Last year COVID created real difficulties for the education of our children. Any out-of-step candidates elected could set back the progress of our children’s education. There can be no room for radical views on our school board.

The Republican Town Committee needs to be clear whether it supports its candidates’ views.

These candidates running on the Republican ticket need to come clean with their views and not hide behind an obscuring statement.

Do they really believe that the Open Choice Program is “school busing”? That Native American imagery on a logo should stay?

Did they take down statements on social media before running for office because they changed their views? Or did they take them down to hide their agendas?

John Kalamarides

40 Years of Local Teaching Experience Prepared Pam Ely for Board of Education

To the Editor:

I very strongly support Pam Ely for election to the Board of Education.

Pam has 20 years of experience leading the Children’s Day School of Wilton and, with two Master’s degrees (in teaching and special education) and 40 years of local teaching experience focused on the particularly crucial early childhood years, she is especially well-prepared to plan for our children’s education.

She relates well with our public schools’ teachers, administrators and staff and is a very well-organized and insightful person who cares deeply about children’s growth and progress through all of their schooling. I’ve sat with her at Wilton High School graduations and watched as she congratulates her alumni/ae from Children’s Day who surround her after the ceremony still fondly remembering those early childhood experiences with her.

Pam has a great heart and extraordinary knowledge in both teaching and administration.  In short, she is exactly the right person to trust to help guide our children’s growth and development.  Please join me in voting for Pam on Nov. 2.

Sincerely,

Steve Hudspeth

Longtime PTA Officer (and More) Nicola Davies Knows Our Schools

To the Editor:

I support Nicola Davies for the Board of Education. I met Nicola at a PTA meeting when I moved to Wilton seven years ago and have worked with her across school PTAs and in numerous volunteer roles. Nicola has spent extensive time working to support and improve our students and schools, including as a PTA officer or committee member at all four schools, the WHS Band Booster chair, a Wilton Schools Zero Waste Initiative volunteer, a substitute at Middlebrook, and as a website content creator for the district. She knows our schools intimately — including areas where our schools excel, and also how they can improve.

As a PTA president, Nicola introduced the concept of an online directory and membership platform to streamline the process and require fewer volunteer hours. I worked with her to implement this project and saw first-hand how she brings a thoughtful approach to researching issues and gathering consensus to implement solutions.

Nicola Davies has my strong endorsement and I encourage you to vote for her on Nov. 2.

Laura Rowley

Choose Candidates Who Support Science, Safety and Masks

To the Editor:

The challenge of COVID shows how important it is that candidates for BOE believe in the science and support the advice of medical authorities, including masks. Masks are a simple and effective way to help stop the spread. Given our younger students are not yet vaccinated, masks are their main defense to minimize covid transmission.

The Republican candidate for BOE appears to aggressively oppose masks. She has advocated against masks on social media and an “unmask our children” Change.org petition. Preparing to run for BOE she apparently cleaned up her social media. Why is she hiding this information from voters after being so vocal against masks? It’s time to reject far-fetched, and objectively wrong views on public health policy. We cannot have science deniers making policy decisions regarding the safety of our children on the BOE or elsewhere (even when they try to hide their views).

The Democratic candidates have extensive school experience thru work and volunteering. Importantly, they believe in science and recommendations by the CDC and public health experts. Support experience on the BOE, vote Democratic and give our children what they need to be safe and healthy in our schools.

Savet Constantine

Kim Healy Would Bring Instant Impact, Thoughtful Contributions to Bd. of Selectmen

To the Editor:

Elections are a cornerstone of freedom of choice and voicing one’s values and priorities in this wonderful country. Elect those that will represent you well and are authentic and transparent in his/her views and mission. Seek positive change and advancement. Kim Healy is all of this. Kim would be a valuable addition to our Town’s Board of Selectmen, undoubtably bringing instant impact and thoughtful new contributions. Kim has decades of experience and vast expertise in operations and finance, successfully leading and advancing organizations, and cultivating inclusive environments. Her many years of volunteering and giving back within the Wilton community and beyond displays her dedication and passion for doing what is right, not just what is easy. Vote wisely. Vote for Kim Healy and Row B this election.

Anna Marie Bilella

Monty Du, A Pragmatic Problem Solver for Board of Finance

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to endorse Monty Du for the Board of Finance. Monty has been serving the Zoning Board of Appeals, with that he has gained valuable experience working for Wilton. More importantly, his passion for serving the community differentiates him from the power-grabbing political circus which unfortunately we get used to nowadays.

Monty has been an excellent engineer for years. His capacity to quickly understand how things work and his strong sense of fiscal accountability help him to be a great candidate. Nowadays, more than ever we need someone who can practice common sense and have Wilton in mind. Monty’s effort in the push-back of school regionalization clearly demonstrates that.

It bothers me that some of the letters call for voting strictly along the party line. At the end of the day, this is a local election about Wilton. Please ask yourself, “Are my candidates having Wilton in mind and putting Wilton’s interest as a priority?”

We believe in family values and hardworking. I hope you can join me to support Monty, make Wilton financially sustainable, and continue to be a great place to raise a family.

Xuehai Ling

No More Qualified Candidate for Bd. of Finance than Sandy Arkell

To the Editor:

In 2020 Sandy Arkell was chosen unanimously to fill a vacant position on the Board of Finance. Such a bipartisan show of support is unusual but totally understandable in Sandy’s case. She is Executive Vice-President and Principal Accounting Officer for the credit card giant MasterCard, in charge of global financial reporting among other things. As a former banker and 14-year Wilton resident I truly understand the importance of having her financial experience on our BOF.

Though they might have moved almost anywhere in the area, Sandy and her family moved here because they fell in love with the character and charm of Wilton. Her desire to contribute to the town was the reason she volunteered for the BOF spot when an opening occurred. Now she is running for election to a full term and I can’t imagine a more qualified candidate than Sandy. We are lucky to have her. Arkell for Board of Finance!

Sincerely,

Tom Gunther

CORRECTION:  The original letter misidentified Sandy Arkell’s job title. She is an Executive Vice-President and Principal Accounting Officer for Mastercard. The letter has been updated to reflect the correct title.

Long-time, Dedicated Volunteer Nicola Davies Would Bring Experience to BOE

To the editor:

I am writing to endorse Nicola Davies for the Wilton Board of Education.

During Nicola’s tenure as Cider Mill’s PTA president, I had the good fortune to serve as a Special Education representative and saw firsthand how committed she was to supporting our schools. Nicola cared about the success of all the children, whether they were gifted or average, sailing or struggling. She spearheaded new programs, like Odyssey of the Mind, to address unmet student needs, while at the same time expanding successful existing programs.

As a mother of two, she has dedicated countless hours as a volunteer to all of Wilton’s public schools, and thus she is deeply familiar with the needs of students at all grade levels. She is tactful, reasonable, collaborative and kind, and bases her actions on facts and evidence. She has vision and drive, and she is also willing to listen to — and learn from — others’ perspectives.

In short, Nicola would make an outstanding member of the Wilton Board of Education. At a time when our schools face many complex issues, we would be fortunate to have her on the Board. I hope that readers will support her — and her extensive experience — with their vote.

Sincerely,

Mary Jane Reis

Rich Santosky has Character, Intelligence, Can-Do Spirit Wilton Would Be Fortunate to Have on BOF

To the Editor:

I’m excited to write this letter in full confidence and support of Rich Santosky for Board of Finance. I’m convinced that when it comes to local elections Wiltonians are far more concerned with character, intelligence, and the can-do spirit we have throughout our great town than simply if they have a R or a D in front of their name. I believe Rich embodies all of this and more. Rich Santosky is the president of a construction company and has been running construction companies for the last 20 years, during much of that time he served selfishly for all of us in the US Army and in the US Army Reserves. As someone who works with business owners often, I know the most important trait one must have is to be able to work with a team, make clear-headed decisions, with a determined and disciplined mindset. I genuinely feel as though we as a town are fortunate to have people like Rich offering to volunteer in such an important role in our town, let’s take advantage of this opportunity to add to our fantastic group of volunteers in Wilton, Vote row B for Rich Santosky!

Respectfully,

John Macken

Devoted Father Jared Martin Stands for Defending Our Schools, Quality and Integrity

To the Editor:

I strongly support Jared Martin for Wilton’s Board of Education. In this world of ever-increasing complexities and demands, we need representatives who can absorb and process large amounts of potentially conflicting information and arrive at fact-based decisions without losing sight of the big picture and what really matters. As my friend and neighbor, I know Jared to be very well suited for this role. His professional accomplishments working on IT/technology projects for big-name companies require this type of analytical vigor on a daily basis. Being a devoted father to his son and daughter in the Wilton Public School system gives him the experience for what kids need to grow up successfully. He stands for defending our school system to maintain its quality and integrity, something we can all agree on.

My family with a young daughter in Miller-Driscoll’s kindergarten would surely benefit from Jared’s presence as a new BOE member — vote for him!

Sincerely,

Chris Hansis MD, PhD

Deborah Low, Nicola Davies & Pam Ely — Strong, Capable, Experienced BOE Candidates

To the Editor:

As the country and our town continue to navigate life with the COVID pandemic, we need consistent, experienced and capable leaders to guide our schools with a steady hand. Current Board of Education Chair Deborah Low has proven her exceptional leadership capabilities and unwavering commitment in a turbulent two-year (and no expiration date) period wherein our schools have not just reacted, but proactively kept our students, teachers, staff and volunteers as safe and healthy as possible. We can’t lose that steady hand now as we are still dealing with the virus.

Nicola Davies and Pam Ely bring decades of hands-on experience as parents of Wilton Public Schools students and as PTA president (Davies) and early childhood educator (Ely). Please vote for these strong, capable candidates for the BOE to keep Wilton’s school community strong.

Michele Bennett

Jess Christ for BOE will Voice Concerns and Give Parents a Strong Say in Wilton Schools

To the Editor:

Jess Christ would be a valuable addition to the Board Of Education. As the mother of three children currently attending Wilton schools, she can appreciate many of the varied concerns of parents. When elected, she intends to voice those concerns and give parents a strong say in the schools. Her goals include:

  • Representing the interests of parents and students ahead of all others
  • Ensuring greater transparency and accountability for the Board and the administration
  • Advocating for programs that support high achievement across grade levels
  • Promoting education based on free inquiry and exchange of ideas
  • Achieving more balance between standardized testing and creative classroom education

With Jess on the Board, these goals are attainable. She is an upbeat, strong supporter of Wilton schools who has shown that she also has the guts to share criticism. Her willingness to speak up is a quality that is badly needed now in our elected officials, as Cancel Culture and self-censoring pose a serious threat to honest dialogue and transparency. If you are eager to have a greater impact on the quality of your child’s education, please join me in voting for Jess Christ, a clear and strong voice for parents.

Yvonne Fielden

Excited to Support Democratic Nominees Debbie Low, Nicola Davies, Eric Fanwick and Ken Hoffman

To the Editor:

I am excited to support the Democratic nominees for this November election. I’ve come to know Debbie Low, Nicola Davies for Board of Education and Eric Fanwick, Ken Hoffman for Planning & Zoning in particular.

Debbie Low has served on the BoE since 2017 and as chairperson since 2019. Her experience as Wilton High School principal and superintendent of the Ridgefield school district, her temperament and fiscal mindedness is exactly what we need to guide our school district in these uncertain times.

I have known Nicola Davies as an officer and committee lead in every PTSA from Cider Mill to now at WHS. She has worked as a substitute teacher at Middlebrook and contractor for the district website. Nicola steps up and works hard. She brings insights as a parent, PTSA officer and district employee to the conversation.

Eric Fanwick and Kenneth Hoffman are both longtime Wilton residents whose children have graduated from our schools. They’re intimately familiar with the various development issues and opportunities we face. Eric has worked hard on the P&Z commission, carefully weighing different community opinions on town projects. Ken Hoffman’s intellect, careful deliberation, and experience in financial services consulting will be a tremendous addition to P&Z.

Jung Soo Kim