Hurray, and thank you for taking part in your local election on November 8! As a permanent resident of the city, I welcome your participation. You have decided to vote in a city that is rich with history, personalities, and contradictions. Please do a little research before casting your vote, because in Middletown the best candidate might not be a member of the political party you generally support.

For most of the local candidates, the “Democrat” or “Republican” does not correlate with stances on the environment or social and economic justice. I know many residents who find themselves voting for Republican candidates locally, while casting decidedly left-wing votes on the state-wide and national level. Conversely, I can readily imagine residents voting for Democratic candidates locally, while casting right-wing votes nationally. The Middletown Eye, an online volunteer newsblog, has extensive coverage of the candidates and the issues. I encourage you to do some research there. Here are three candidates on the Republican side who I think deserve strong consideration from left-leaning voters.

For Mayor: Sebastian Giuliano. Giuliano has led the city for 6 years. He is a strong supporter of the arts, not only in the budget he presents to the Council, but in his presence at visual and performing arts events throughout the city. He tutors children, and has been a forceful supporter of other community service programs in the city. As everybody at the Mayoral debate in Crowell saw, he is readily accessible to everybody, arriving 30 minutes early and staying 30 minutes late to speak with students and other residents.

His challenger, Dan Drew, is running on a platform that has inherent contradictions and does not align with progressive values. Drew promises to cut taxes and “attract industry.” In the last Middletown Democratic administration “attract industry” meant a huge tax giveaway to the Kleen Energy Corporation. Drew also expresses support for education, but he fails to explain how he can cut taxes and still provide schools with the educational resources (teachers!) they need. Giuliano has successfully attracted new industries to our city, without providing outrageous corporate tax giveaways.

For Common Council, you will be able to cast 8 votes, from among 18 different candidates. Deborah Kleckowski was a life-long Democrat until she was pushed out of the party for her opposition to the party leadership on Planning and Development. She has provided a thoughtful and progressive voice on the Council for the past 4 years.

For Planning and Zoning, you will be able to cast 4 votes, from among 8 candidates. Planning and Zoning makes decisions about land use in the city, such as whether a particular manufacturing plant, a housing subdivision, or a shopping center is appropriate. Molly Salafia is young and dynamic, she describes herself as a progressive Obama supporter. She is the only candidate for Planning and Zoning who is trained as an architect, and she will bring progressive values to land use decisions.

These are not the only good candidates, and I will be voting for many Democrats as well. However, these 3 candidates stand out as Republicans who deserve the support of all of us who might otherwise vote a strictly Democratic party line.