Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Jean de Smet wins in CT

photo by stephenallcroft.com
Cynthia McKinney with Jean de Smet

Connecticut Green Party member and co-chair Jean de Smet won the election for First Selectman (Mayor) of the Town of Windham, Connecticut. At 9:30pm with all voting districts reporting and absentee ballots counted, Jean was 120 votes ahead of the Democratic candidate and very far ahead of the Republican.


Anonymous said...

Congrats Jean. Your hard our in tthe Windham Community earn the respect and admiration of the voters!!

There is hope for our country. America, join Windham in electing alternative candidates!

Anonymous said...

Yeah Jean!!

As to the poster that used my image in this blog? Shame on you!!!

The image is copyrighted to me
Stephen Allcroft

The credit appears on all places on web the image appears on internet except here.

Jason Nabewaniec said...

Sorry I'll credit it, I got it from Google so it came without text.

Jason Nabewaniec said...

*Green Light From Voters (on front page of Hartford Courant)
History Written In Windham With Election Of Third-Party Candidate
*JEAN DE SMET was elected first selectwoman in Windham Tuesday, the first
Green Party candidate to win a top municipal post in state history.
By REGINE LABOSSIERE | Courant Staff Writer

November 8, 2007

WINDHAM - As she knocked on doors throughout town over the past few months,
Jean de Smet had an inkling she was going to make history on Election Day.

De Smet, a Green Party candidate for first selectman, was met, she says, by
unexpected warmness at the homes of many strangers.

"`Come on in!'" she said the residents greeted her as she walked up to their

"I had very good indications that I was going to get elected this time, but
you never know what can happen," she said Wednesday, the day after she
became the first Green Party candidate to win the top spot in any
municipality in the state.

The path of a third-party candidate is usually a quixotic pursuit, one with
few successes. But de Smet and several alternative candidates in Simsbury
and New Milford were victorious Tuesday.

At the local level, third parties typically emerge around an issue, said
Howard Reiter, a professor of American politics and head of the political
science department at the University of Connecticut. That was certainly true
in Simsbury, where opposition to a $200 million, 60-acre project that would
mix office, residential and retail space and include a Target store, spawned
the Simsbury Citizens First party. John Romano, a disenchanted GOP selectman
topping the party's ticket, placed third in Tuesday's race for first
selectman but garnered an impressive 23 percent of the vote. Four other
Simsbury Citizens First candidates won seats on various land use boards.

Of course, when the issue fades, the fortunes of the third party tend to
fade as well. In East Hampton Tuesday, the fledgling Chatham Party lost
three of the five seats it won in 2005, when it seized control of the town
council. As in Simsbury, the Chatham Party originally was energized by
public concern about development, specifically the town's rapid residential
and commercial development.

Activist And Fixer

De Smet's energy Wednesday defied her claim that she was tired from her hard
campaigning. With curly blond hair and blue eyes that were half-hidden
behind glasses, she spoke vividly of her triumph and of her plans for the
next two years.

She sat in campaign headquarters on Main Street in Willimantic in front of a
poster that sums up the Green Party mantra: "Never doubt that a small group
of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: Indeed, it's the only
thing that ever has."

De Smet, 52, knows what it's like to be slightly different. She's a member
of the Green Party who has lived, campaigned and been involved heavily in a
largely Democratic town. Before beating the town's three-term Democratic
first selectman, Michael Paulhus, on Tuesday, de Smet had run unsuccessfully
in town for first selectman and the board of selectmen and also for
lieutenant governor of the state on the Green Party ticket. A master
electrician who refers to herself as a construction worker, de Smet said
she's one of fewer than 10 women in her 500-person union.

"I'm not intimidated," she said of her experience in the worlds of work and
politics. "And I'm trained to fix things."

State Rep. Walter Pawelkiewicz, D-Windham, said residents sent a message to
town government by electing de Smet - but not because of her political

"I think more so than people electing a Green Party candidate, I think they
elected Jean de Smet," he said. "I think what the voters were looking for
was a fresh perspective, and Jean has lots of energy and I think that people
really looked more at her as a person than her political ideology."

De Smet is a founder and co-coordinator of the popular Third Thursday
Streetfests, which brings thousands of people to downtown Willimantic from
May to October.

She organizes and gives wagon tours of Willimantic's Victorian neighborhoods
and has helped produce and run a number of local festivals. De Smet has
served on the town's affirmative action commission, the open space and
conservation commissions, the board of the local food co-op, the YMCA and
the Community Land Trust of Windham Inc.

Pawelkiewicz said residents wanted de Smet to translate what she has done as
a volunteer into actions as an official.

Christel Donahue, de Smet's campaign co-manager, said it was obvious to her
that Windham was ready for something different.

"She has so much potential and enthusiasm that it grabs you. A few were
naysayers [who said], `It can't be done. You can't shake up the
establishment.' But I think the naysayers even wanted change," Donahue said.

De Smet said she plans a shake-up when she takes office, the kind that will
"turn town hall into a public service" and allow residents to have more
involvement in government, such as on advisory boards and committees. She
said she wants local residents and businesses to help revitalize downtown by
finding ways to use vacant buildings that blight a section of Main Street.

De Smet, who calls herself fiscally conservative and says she wants to
pursue energy efficiency in town to save money, said she wants to make
Windham more than a nice place to live and work.

"I really believe that a town the size of Windham, with a city and beautiful
rural areas around us, [can be] a model for that around the country," she
said. "A good, livable city."

Contact R?gine Labossi?re at rlabossiere@courant.com.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the photo credit,

Stephen Allcroft