November 3rd is fast approaching, and early voting this year means voting can begin as early as October 2, just 15 days from now.
Once again The Greenwich Sentinel offers its endorsement of the local candidates we feel best deserve your vote. We do this in the spirit of providing information that will be helpful to voters as they decide who would best serve our collective common interests in the state legislature.
As we described in an earlier editorial, we’ve approached this exercise differently this year by organizing an Endorsement Board to independently arrive at our endorsement decisions. The Board was comprised of six Greenwich residents, chosen for their dedication to Greenwich, their individual acumen, their varying demographics, varying backgrounds and spectrum of political philosophies. The Endorsement Board includes two Republicans, two Democrats, and two Independent/Unaffiliated voters.
They gathered and reviewed a variety of sources about all the candidates including education, responsibilities, and accomplishments in the public and private sectors, news articles, op-eds by the candidates, voting records, candidate profiles by third parties from previous elections, campaign websites and social media pages and campaign literature. The Board also prepared a list of questions for the candidates and conducted socially distanced interviews with those individual candidates who chose to participate.
The Board met (virtually) multiple times over the period from August 26 through September 14. The ground rules were that the endorsements were to be made on people, not party, and by unanimous consensus or at least supermajority (i.e., 5 out of 6). Members brought open minds, thoughtful questions, insightful analysis, and a light touch of humor to the task. The Endorsement Board was a small group of people coming together with complementary knowledge, skills, and experience – a real team.
All of the following endorsement decisions were made by the Board either unanimously or by supermajority vote, and each member of the Board fully supports them all. While it may seem cliché to say that all the candidates are exemplary, the Board felt that they truly are.
process in Hartford, The Greenwich Sentinel endorses Kathleen Stowe for State Representative serving the 149th District.
State Rep., House District 151
Harry Arora (Republican)
Harry Arora is running for re-election to the position of State Representative serving the 151st House district, having won a special election in January to fill the remaining term of Fred Camillo, who had been elected Greenwich First Selectman. His opponent is Democrat Hector Arzeno.
A naturalized American citizen, successful businessman and investment manager for over 20 years, Arora is very clear about his political philosophy and plans for the future: “I believe in small effective government, fiscal discipline, lower taxes and continued investment in education and transportation.” Arora favors creating a more business-supportive environment which can encourage business investment in the state, versus what he describes as a “hostile regulatory and fiscal regime” characterized by “red tape and a high tax burden” which has contributed to the exodus of businesses from Connecticut. He fought hard to defeat the effort in Hartford to take control of local property taxes and regionalize schools, and he advocates for the safe reopening of schools in the face of union pressure to keep them closed.
Arora supports inclusiveness and the need “to ensure that the opportunity to succeed and grow is provided to every individual in our community.” His background and personal story as an immigrant from India who created a successful life for his family in this country, gives him the inspiration and credibility to pursue that objective. Arora supports school choice and the option of outsourcing to turn-around failing schools, and better vocational training and two-year college degree options to supplement the traditional four-year residential college experience as means of enhancing opportunities for success in today’s economy. He argues forcefully that Connecticut “has a spending problem” overseen by a “bloated bureaucracy” that actually encourages spending that is “inefficient and wasteful.” Like Joe Kelly, Arora is not afraid to acknowledge and confront the principal drivers of our state’s fiscal instability – “It is no secret that our state employee benefits and pension systems need to be reformed” – and he is adamantly opposed to solving that problem by increasing taxes, which has long been the practice in Hartford. He favors intelligent solutions to environmental issues, improvements to our transportation system (and its financing) and serious attention and changes to our energy infrastructure. He also favors limiting state representative terms to 8 years.
Arora’s opponent, Hector Arzeno, is also a longtime Greenwich resident and member of the RTM who describes himself as a “big defender of public schools.” His mission statement explains that he is a “Candidate for State Representative for the 151st because Greenwich needs a strong, fiscally responsible, compassionate leader in Hartford.” Arzeno brings significant finance experience from a 40-year career in banking and an intimate knowledge of Greenwich – he has been active in the community since 1987, all four of his children attended Greenwich High School, he previously coached town youth soccer and he volunteers at both GHS and the Town of Greenwich Conservation Department. He is a trustee and executive committee member of the Institute of International Banks in New York and a cofounder of the Inter-American Financial institution.
While both candidates offer significant talent and skills, the endorsement board felt that Arora’s articulation of his policy priorities and proposals was clearer, and that as an incumbent he had the advantage of more familiarity with the legislative process and the workings of Hartford, which is a critical element in the successful achievement of real, constructive change.
Accordingly, The Sentinel supports Harry Arora’s bid for reelection and his fight to bring greater discipline and accountability to our state government and its finances.
An informed citizenry is best equipped to secure its future. Whatever your personal political point of view may be, The Greenwich Sentinel encourages you to exercise your right to vote.
Endorsement Board Members
Anthony Turner, Co-Chair
Daniel FitzPatrick, Co-Chair
Stephanie Dunn Ashley
Emma Whitney Barhydt
Peter C. Negrea