I have been a life-long registered Republican. This has not, however, prevented me from supporting Democratic candidates when their qualifications are as strong as those of Helen Garten.

I was fortunate to meet Helen when she was the chairman of the Board of Finance de facto chairman of the several Westport pension boards and committees of which I was a member (having first been appointed in Nov. 2006 as a resident member and re-appointed for two subsequent three-year terms). Helen impressed me with her fierce protection of Westport's financial position, tempered by a respect and sensitivity for the individuals whose pensions were being reviewed.

Only rarely have I inserted myself into the political process. In fact, the last time was in the late 1980s when I was involved with the candidacy of former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley. I bring this up because, with the exception only of playing basketball at an NBA-championship level, the qualities I found to be so very attractive in the senator -- intelligence, integrity, fiscal prudence, social awareness and responsive to the needs of others less fortunate, and a genuine ability to work with people on all sides of an issue -- are the very same qualities that I observed in Helen Garten for the three years that we served together on the several pension boards.

Helen would make for a highly effective and totally committed first selectman of whom the entire town would be proud.

Edward Brennan