A Democrat's take on the Republican primary

I really have no business offering advice to local Republicans regarding their primary for state representative in the 136th District on Aug. 10. I am also not naive enough to believe that I will sway many undecided Republicans (even if some of them are my friends) in advance of Tuesday's vote.

It's still worth a try.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a Democrat. I have always been a Democrat, but I don't blindly support all Democratic candidates -- much to the chagrin of my party's leadership. I know Jonathan Steinberg, I respect Jonathan, and I will likely support him in November to fill Joe Mioli's seat in Hartford.

Steve Rubin is also an attractive and strong choice for our state representative position. Steve won the Republican caucus in May, but he faces a primary challenge from Nitzy Cohen, who ran unsuccessfully for this same seat in 2008. Ms. Cohen received about 35 percent of the vote to Joe Mioli's 65 percent.

Through my work on the Board of Education, I have seen Jonathan and Steve (both members of the RTM) aggressively and passionately support causes important to our schools and our town. Most of the time the issues were budget related, but not all -- Steve is also a champion of school safety. Both gentlemen are always prepared and often win the support of the undecided because of the breadth and depth of their knowledge.

I am writing this letter because I take exception to the knock on Steve from his opponent is that he is "not a true Republican." The criticism may be driven by Steve's willingness to work with both parties to solve issues. Steve's style is what makes him a respected, effective and prominent member of the RTM. I am a big believer in an approach to local government that stresses listening, learning and compromise where appropriate. Most of all, I believe that individuals should conduct themselves in a civil manner in front of the camera and behind it. Anyone who watched the debate between Ms. Cohen and Mr. Mioli prior to the last election would be hard pressed to describe it as "civil."

If you try to get along with your colleagues, regardless of what side of the aisle they are on, you're far more likely to get things done. Steve fits that mold and Jonathan does too.

Finally, why would I write a letter to support a Republican when I have stated that I will likely vote for the candidate from my party? Two words: Al's Angel's. I attended a fundraiser for that wonderful charity founded by Al DiGuido. Steve Rubin was right up there with Al, selflessly helping kids -- and has been for years. That's what Steve does.

Please consider Steve when you cast your vote on primary day.

Don O'Day

Westport

Editor's note: Don O'Day is chairman of Westport's Board of Education. He wrote this letter on his own behalf; it does not represent the views of the board.

Rubin the right choice to represent Westport

On Aug. 10 we're being asked to vote in the primary for the person who will go to Hartford and, first and foremost, who best represents the intersts of everyone in Westport. We will not find a better person who meets this criteria than Stephen Rubin. Anyone who has worked with Steve on the myriad of town, community, civic and charitable projects he has been involved in over many years knows of his commitment and dedication to Westport. Sending him to hartford will only be an extension of his proven track record to public service.

John Laurino

Westport

Cohen will bring `fiscal sanity'

It is my pleasure to endorse Nitzy Cohen for state representative for Westport in the Aug. 10 Republican primary.

Nitzy is an unequivocal voice for fiscal sanity in Hartford. I guarantee she will not flinch in the face of an almost overwhelming Democrat super majority (114 Democrats to 36 Republicans), which has lead to unbalanced legislation and a total lack of fiscal discipline.

Her professional experience as a business owner needs to be brought to bear up in Hartford's "La La" land. In her world and my world, two plus two still equals four. This concept needs to be force-fed to some folks up there and Nitzy is the right person to do it.

Join me in voting for Nitzy on Aug. 10 and in the general election in November.

Bill Harris

Westport

`Rubin is Ready'

Westport Republicans, please vote for Stephen Rubin on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Republicans have a clear choice with Steve. He is a well known, experienced legislator with a track record. Steve has served our community on the RTM and in civic and charitable organizations for over a decade.

No surprises, no embarrassments, no off the wall comments to derail his campaign against the Democrats in November.

Steve is our best bet in Westport to put a Republican in Hartford and stop this fiscal insanity by the Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.

Please join me this Tuesday by voting for Stephen Rubin to be Westport's next state representative!

Michael Rea

Westport

Cohen is the clear choice

In the Aug. 10 Republican primary for state representative in Westport the choice is clear to me -- Nitzy Cohen.

One candidate owns and runs a business. The other candidate just stepped down as a public sector union (AFSCME) officer (after decades of being a union officer) to run for state representative.

Who do you want making the important financial votes for you in Hartford? Who do you think will have the right perspective on cutting spending; reducing the number of state employees; privatization and restructuring the outrageous state employee pension and benefit packages?

It is obvious to me that the "business person," Nitzy Cohen, is the only intelligent choice for state representative in the GOP primary on Aug. 10.

Nitzy will be heard in Hartford in the same way that Toni Boucher was always heard before she moved on to be our state senator. The House in Hartford has 114 Democrats and 36 Republicans and has been totally captured by the state employee unions, such as AFSCME. With their union dominated "super majority," the Democrats in Hartford totally ignore the governor as her veto can be overridden. Any budget or policies the governor proposes, such as cutting spending, eliminating duplication and reducing taxes, are rejected.

This is a terrible imbalance in votes on the important issues facing the state and it has led us down the road to our current fiscal crisis. Our next governor will need more support in making the tough financial decisions. Nitzy will help stop the overwhelming spending and taxing the Democrats have voted for in Hartford.

Nitzy will speak for you and her vote will be heard in Hartford. I hope you will vote for her on Aug. 10 in the GOP primary and in November.

Shayne Phares

Westport

Union president wrong for GOP voters

When Steve Rubin announced his candidacy for state representative I was somewhat surprised to see that little concern was voiced regarding his union leadership roles. Thus, I am focusing on a situation facing Republican primary voters in the hope that my fellow Republicans believe as I do, that the interests of state labor unions should not be represented in our state legislature because of obvious conflicts that would arise.

Steve Rubin is a 16-year veteran of the RTM and a good citizen of Westport. However, it seems to me that an inherent conflict arises between his long-standing union leadership and his ability to effectively represent our Republican ideals of smaller government and fiscal responsibility that emphasizes balanced budgets and badly needed cost reductions.

At the most recent Republican Town Committee meeting, Steve Rubin announced via a letter he addressed to the RTC that he was just now resigning his position as an officer of the public sector local of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). I certainly understand that union membership as a condition of employment is sometimes required. However, Steve Rubin has been an AFSCME officer for years by personal choice. In the past he has been president and treasurer of the AFSCME local, and has engaged in collective bargaining on behalf of the union.

One of the major problems with our state legislature is that it is totally dominated and held captive by the public sector unions, with AFSCME being the major player. The Democratic speaker of the house is himself a union leader. Today, the State of Connecticut is the largest employer in the state. In this legislature the interests of the union leadership come ahead of the interests of the rest of the citizens of the state.

I cannot imagine that any Republican would knowingly want to send yet another union leader to Hartford as our representative. What could be more counterintuitive to everything Republicans stand for? Who do we want representing us when decisions have to be made about spending cuts, employee reductions or re-negotiating contracts, pensions and benefits: an independent candidate with strong business experience who embodies strong Republican principles, or a public sector union official? Who do you think will have your interests at heart and who do you think will take up the gauntlet against the outrageous influence the unions currently have over our legislature?

My answer: Nitzy Cohen, a strong independent business woman and a genuine fiscal conservative. Gov. M. Jodi Rell endorsed her in the last election for state representative and she got 4,625 votes from Westporters. She is campaign tested and has been thoroughly vetted. She is the only primary choice for state representative by any thinking Republican in Westport.

Elections have consequences and we need to free our state legislature from its domination by public sector unions. To send a representative to Hartford who would likely be sympathetic to these public sector unions will merely prolong the financial problems currently facing Connecticut. Nitzy Cohen should be the overwhelming choice for Westport Republicans on Aug. 10.

Peter Thorner

Westport

Crossing party lines to support Rubin

I am writing to support Steve Rubin's candidacy for state representative. I will happily cross party lines to vote for him in November and encourage other Democrats and independents to join me.

I have known Steve for nearly 13 years as a neighbor, friend and member of the RTM. He is a thoughtful, caring individual who listens to all sides of an issue before making a decision. We don't always agree, but Steve earned my respect and admiration with well-documented, selfless dedication to Westport for decades. I trust him to represent my best interests in Hartford.

Nitzy Cohen's website presents credentials and plans in impressive but disturbing detail. She calls herself an economist, but beyond a bachelor's of arts (BA) degree in economics, her resume shows nothing that would warrant that designation (With a BA in psychology I am no psychologist, but I know enough to be dangerous.) Her graduate degree was not in economics, nor has she been employed as an economist, making me question that claim and others.

Her positions reflect a simplistic view that lower taxes are the answer, regardless of the question. I would love lower taxes, but if that were the only criterion for attracting/retaining businesses they would have all moved to New Hampshire, Texas, or Florida -- states that have fared worse than Connecticut in the current down economy. We have to do better, but no single answer solves all our problems. Plans that rely on a silver bullet will fail. I trust Steve to study each issue, understand nuances and make the right decision.

While Ms. Cohen's international experience appears impressive, I am concerned with what she can do in Hartford. Helping people all over the world is great but she has no local government experience and her plans for Westport appear naive. For example, at the Republican nominating meeting in May -- when she lost to Steve -- she outlined a scary vision of shipping our seniors off to a "luxurious" complex in Bridgeport. Combined with another quote from that day, "If a town really wants affordable housing, we have the boards to do that," I see a disturbing pattern. The state has a responsibility to work with towns to deal with affordable housing, not let each town decide unilaterally whether or not to act.

Republicans who snipe at Steve from the right should remember that the goal isn't getting the most reactionary and polarizing candidate on the ballot. The goal is nominating a candidate who can win in November. Steve Rubin is the only candidate who can get voters to cross party lines and unite to fix the mess in Hartford. I hope he gets the chance to do that, for all of our sakes.

Adrian Bowles

Westport

Rell picked Nitzy three times

I think most people will agree that Jodi Rell has been a pretty good governor with high job approval ratings. I am going to follow the governor's lead and vote for Nitzy Cohen for state representative in the primary on Aug. 10.

The governor knows good government and is a good judge of talent. It's not surprising then that she previously endorsed Nitzy Cohen for the state legislature and has twice picked her for important state commissions and boards. When Rell endorsed Nitzy for the legislature, she said, "Nitzy Cohen is an outspoken leader that will represent the needs of Westport and Connecticut."

Because Nitzy is a successful international business woman, the governor appointed her to the Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission to foster business development and strengthen trade ties between our state and this important business partner. She also appointed Nitzy to the Advisory Board for Technical High Schools as Nitzy has served as a technical consultant to the United Nations, teaching business entrepreneurship and business skills development to third world women.

I think we should follow the lead of our great governor on this one. If Jodi Rell wanted Nitzy Cohen helping her that's more than a good enough recommendation for me. I will be voting for Nitzy Cohen on Aug. 10 and I hope you will too.

Carol Asness

Westport

Nitzy Cohen -- The Governor's Choice

Governor Jodi Rell has fought to lead our State down a path of fiscal restraint and time and time again has been stymied by the supermajority in the legislature, which has taken away her veto power and continued the taxing, spending and borrowing policies that are destroying Connecticut.

Governor Rell knows firsthand what characteristics are needed to be an effective legislator, and in 2008 she endorsed Nitzy Cohen to be the State Representative from Westport saying "Nitzy Cohen is an outspoken leader that will represent the needs of Westport and Connecticut."

I agree with the Governor that we need Nitzy in the legislature. Nitzy has the courage to help our next Governor clean up the fiscal mess in Hartford so let's vote for Nitzy in the August 10th primary and in November.

Nicole Pappas

Westport

Nitzy Cohen -- No-nonsense and fiscally wise !

Many readers will recognize the name NITZY COHEN -- because she ran for election as State representative 2 years ago. She was then a forceful, energetic and knowledgeable candidate, and today she is the same, but more mature, much better prepared to deal with the issues that MUST be challenged in this campaign. Nitzy has grown to be now precisely the kind of candidate we need to represent us in Hartford.

Elections have consequences, and all of us as voters have a duty not only to vote on Election Day, but to take a really good look at who are the candidates. If voters examine the materials received from Nitzy Cohen, and they are most readable, then they will see a candidate who's ability and determination to face down inaction and negative politically-based preferences are among her many assets. .

I have spent a lifetime in the corporate world and in Town government, as a professional involved with financial accountability and performance. When I look at the current state of Connecticut's fiscal affairs I am dismayed, and appalled by the amateurish irresponsibility of our State legislative majorities, and the financial mess they have promoted.

The situation is grave and getting worse, so we must elect serious, committed legislators who really care to tackle the problem -- not people who will sit on the back bench playing computer games. Westport cannot afford to send someone to Hartford who does not have the skills, courage, and economic understanding necessary to challenge the unsustainable fiscal path the Legislature is taking. Westport cannot afford "back bencher" legislators whose sole claim to fame is to toe a party line that is demonstrably defunct and self-serving.

Choosing Nitzy guarantees one thing for sure, you will have a candidate who will never give in without a well-directed word, opinion and effort to achieve change in Hartford. It may be a tough slog, but Nitzy, as those who know her, is not a quitter, and we deserve that kind of representation .... NOW !

Look at www.NitzyCohen.com. You will see why she gets my vote, and why I see her as one of those to spearhead riddance of the political hegemony and open conflict of interest by the current majority who do such damage to our State.

Gavin Anderson

Selectman, Westport

Nitzy -- The Lifeguard

Nitzy knows Connecticut is drowning in a sea of Red Ink and she is on a mission to try and save us from going under.

If you have the bad feeling we are sinking under runaway State spending, ever increasing State taxes, hemorrhaging deficits, out of control borrowing, mounting job losses and a lousy business environment then you need to be voting for Nitzy Cohen for State Representative.

Nitzy is an educated, street smart, strong willed international businesswoman who has the courage, will and skill to swim against the union dominated Democratic supermajority that is dragging our State underwater.

Nitzy is the only candidate who understands the economics of the private sector and has any real world business experience. She knows exactly what works and what doesn't. Others can mouth the words, "jobs, jobs, jobs" but they don't have a clue what they are talking about. Nitzy is the only candidate who has ever owned a business or created a single job. Nitzy is an entrepreneur, a small business owner and a job creator -- exactly what we need more of, if we want Connecticut to be competitive in the global economy.

Nitzy will treat every taxpayer dollar like it is her own money. She will fight to reduce the size of government, shrink the number of State employees, cut State spending and reduce your taxes.

Nitzy is the only fiscal conservative in this race. If you care about your business, job security, taxes and keeping Connecticut economically competitive then you should grasp on to the life preserver Nitzy Cohen is throwing you and vote for her on August 10th and in November. You only get one chance at being saved!

Dewey Loselle

Westport

Editor's note: Dewey Loselle is Nitzy Cohen's campaign manager.

Nitzy Tells It Like It Is!

Some of you may not know Nitzy yet so let me tell you a little about her. First she is highly intelligent, educated, business smart and is one of the most caring people you will ever meet. However, one of her best traits is that she is blatantly honest and straight forward. She will tell you exactly what she thinks and believes. With Nitzy there is no double talk, no obfuscations, no "nuances" no dodging and no talking down to you about how some topics are just far "too complex" to be easily understood (by you).

Nitzy is a "straight shooter" who just tells it like it is. Wouldn't that be refreshing for our legislator? Now you may not always agree with Nitzy (which is fine) but you will always know where she stands on an issue. If you like to engage in dialogue you will find Nitzy a great listener and someone who also likes intelligent debate.

I think Nitzy is exactly the type legislator Westport needs to send to Hartford and give those folks a little "straight talk"! I hope you agree with me and that you will vote for Nitzy on the August 10th and on November 2nd.

Zahava Gordon

306 Silver Creek

Norwalk