On the national level, hostile and inflammatory rhetoric is setting the tone of our political climate. Westport is fortunate with the Republican and Democratic candidates for State Representative. With the absence of unhealthy rancor we are going to make a choice based on our perspective of the history that the candidates have in addressing and impacting issues that are of important to us: Education, transportation, conservation, the arts, to name just a few, where state government plays a significant role in the quality of the quotidian of our lives in Westport.

There are two areas that are of great significance to me and have affirmed my support for Jonathan Steinberg as my choice for re-election as our State Representative. He understood and applauded Gov. Malloy's courageous decision to take on the direction that education was taking in Connecticut. I am a board member of a Public Charter School in Bridgeport, Bridge Academy; public charter schools are the model within our public school system that is of great value in communities that are challenged financially. They offer parents educational options that are within the public school domain and on a par with communities where constituents have greater personal financial flexibility. Steinberg was an invaluable resource and a knowledgeable sounding board when I needed to explore legislative issues that were going to have a significant impact on the way in which Public Charter School students would be funded.

The second area is his commitment to the arts in the State of Connecticut when so many states as well as the federal government are slicing away the arts in their budgets. It is reflected in his support for state funds for the Levitt. It is reflected in his work that began with when he was on the RTM and chaired a task force to reinvigorate our town with new energy. It became the impetus for an initiative to bring a cinema back to Westport; an initiative of which I am the director. All current educational related research supports Steinberg's commitment to strong support for the arts as a means of initiating increased opportunities for the way in which students elect to future employment possibilities. The arts inspire creative thinking and critical analysis.

Steinberg has proven to be a passionate but cautious visionary. He understands unintended consequences can be a significant factor in the success or failure of any road that is taken. Positive change sometimes needs to be slower than passion alone might dictate.

As our current representative, he has been able to work well with both sides of the aisle to find solutions. He understands the fine line a politician must personally define between finding the common ground and compromising one's integrity and moral stance.

In this time of economic concern we need to support politicians, like Jonathan Steinberg, who ennoble us through their proven leadership. A year in the state legislature should just be the beginning. We need to help him continue the journey with our vote.

Sandy Lefkowitz


EDITORS NOTE: Jonathan Steinberg is president of the Westport Cinema Initiative.