While I have no doubt that either of the two candidates for first selectman will offer Westport a substantial upgrade in the position, I am proud to endorse Helen Garten for this most important leadership position in Westport government.

Helen and I were first elected to RTM in 2003, and I have seen her spend a decade as one of Westport's finest leaders and consensus builders -- both on RTM and the Board of Finance. Helen is a big-picture thinker who is also attentive to the important details. She will bring keen intelligence and sound judgment to town hall.

Republicans in Westport have long talked the talk on spending, while voting in ways that reflected a peculiar fear that they had to "outspend Democrats in order to win elections." On the Board of Finance, Helen has been an authentic voice for fiscal conservatism and common sense in government. Helen has always acted (and voted) with the interests of Westport residents in mind -- rather than looking for politically expedient answers to practical problems.

As we watch the current first selectman rush to develop as many acres of town land as he can before leaving office, we can also be confident that Helen will take a more measured approach to managing Westport's precious and limited resources.

For these reasons and many others, I will be honored to support Helen in the upcoming election -- and would encourage fellow residents to do the same.

Chris Grimm