During its annual breakfast at Trackside Teen Center on Saturday, April 2, the Wilton Democratic Town Committee bestowed its highest service awards on two long-time party standouts, selectman Dick Dubow and registrar of voters Carole Young-Kleinfeld. In the process they got some heartening news about the 2016 Presidential race from one of the state’s most respected political experts.

Dubow won the Committee’s Lifetime Achievement Award for almost four decades of service to the town, including multiple terms on each of the town’s major boards—Selectmen, Finance and Education—and his leadership on building committees for Wilton High School, Cider Mill Elementary School and, most recently, Miller-Driscoll Elementary.

Young-Kleinfeld received the Democrat of the Year Award for her non-partisan promotion of voter participation, including advocacy for online voting, simpler and more accessible registration for all voters and, lately, support of a more enhanced role in registration by the Department of Motor Vehicles. A former health official in New Hampshire, she was instrumental in that state’s adoption of infant-and- toddler car-seat legislation.

Both recipients were were praised for their quiet, wise and non-partisan commitment to public service. State director of elections and former CT representative Peggy Reeves, by video, called Young-Kleinfeld, who moved to Wilton in 1997, “an advocate for all of democracy” who was “never about politics or partisanship.”

Former first selectman Bill Brennan, who worked for years with both, praised not only their competence and expertise, but their commitment to collaboration across party lines. He said Dubow’s service, “I’m sure, has broken a bunch of records.”

Both Dubow and Young-Kleinfeld have received countless citations from their party and the state for service throughout the years and as a bi-partisan crowd of about 100 filed in they passed a table with more than a dozen of the honors displayed.

The DTC also used the occasion to honor the late Fred Herot and his widow, Louise, for their decades of service, and announced that the Wilton Democrats would be lead sponsor of the 10th Anniversary Lecture Series of the Wilton Library and Historical Society in their name.

“We didn’t do anything different for Wilton than all of you have done,” Louise Herot told the gathering. “Maybe we just did it longer.”

In character, Young-Kleinfeld used the occasion to urge attendees to vote in the Presidential primary on April 26. On that score, the Democrats got positive news from guest speaker Dr. Gary L. Rose, chairman of the Government, Politics and Global Studies Department at Sacred Heart University.

In politics “demographics is destiny,” Rose said, and that bodes well for the Democrats in the 2016 Presidential election. While describing the current presidential race, especially on the Republican side, as remarkable for its divisiveness, Rose argued that the country’s changing demographic make-up may in the end determine the election’s outcome. With declining white population and the growth in the number of voters of color, Rose said—citing work by Republican pollster Whit Ayers—the Republican nominee must either, a) “nearly double” the percentage of African-Americans and Latinos supporting him from the 17 percent in 2012 to 30 percent or, b) increase white support from the 59 percent that Mitt Romney received to 65 percent, a level garnered in recent memory only by Ronald Reagan.

Given that the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, enjoys substantial support among voters of color, “In the end, for the Republicans to win, I think it has to be Plan B,” Rose said, but suggested that the level of white support enjoyed by Romney was probably the “ceiling.”