By Bridie Bolger’24
The greater municipal elections of September have passed us by, prompting discourse over the stability provided by candidates in Derby, Bridgeport, Hartford, and others. Now, our local elections, with candidates we know in the community, are coming up, and we’re excited to tell you about them! On Tuesday, November 7, citizens of Washington will be tasked with voting for candidates in nineteen local government positions. Only three positions, however, are contested. The office of members on the Board on Finance and Zoning Committees and that of Treasurer will be filled one way or another, but local democracy is in the hands of the people, as it should be.
In the Zoning Commission, Democrat incumbent Valerie Anderson ran against Rebecca Rebillard (R.). While the commission can vote for up to two candidates for a full term, there is one Democrat, Jennifer Averill, and one Republican, David Werkhoven.
For the office of Zoning Commissioner, Valerie Anderson is the incumbent. A Democrat and Washington resident of over thirty years, she has been dedicated to the facts of her job, serving our community by investigating her own questions. According to the WDTC (Washington Democratic Town Committee), she firmly believes that it is “Her duty to help preserve our past and protect our future here in Washington.”
Challenging Anderson is Rebecca Rebillard from the Republican Party. A life-long local, she grew up in the Washington school system and is now running for local government with the goal of collaborative work to act in the best interest of the town’s citizens.
Every year, a new generation goes to the polls. Young voters are growing alongside their influence on our democracy, and Americans have diverse perspectives. At the Frederick Gunn School, a branch of the newly-founded non-profit organization, Youth Commons, has been researching and polling issues important to new voters. I spoke with founder Ryan Ryu, who issued the following statement on behalf of Youth Commons.
“Although the local election doesn’t get much of a spotlight, it is pivotal, as it directly impacts residents’ day-to-day lives by determining policies related to schools, public safety, infrastructure, and more.”
The younger generation’s interest in local elections has decreased significantly, mainly because they don’t seem to matter much. In the grand scheme of the country, why should smaller elections matter to new voters who have come of age in the Trump era?
“For students who have just turned eighteen years old, participating in local elections is crucial as it allows them to have a say in decisions that affect their immediate community, shaping the environment in which they live, study, and grow. As a leader of Youth Commons, a non-profit political youth activism organization, I helped the students at the Frederick Gunn School who are over 18 to register to vote and reminded them of the importance of voting.”
Youth Commons and other political-minded students at The Frederick Gunn School look forward to seeing students at the polls next November. Still, foundations for the biggest change begin with small, systematic shifts, and that is what students should have in their minds as they go to the voting booths.