The town of Woodbridge is still mourning the death of First Selectman Ed Sheehy. Democrats in town are trying to move on and be sure a talented, insightful and experienced person can take over the office in the election next Tuesday. They couldn’t have found a better candidate than former state Rep. Ellen Scalettar.
I had the pleasure of working with Scalettar when I was on staff at the Senate Democrats in the General Assembly. She was and still is a top aide to Senate President Don Williams. She excels in heading the caucus research team as well in policy issues, strategy and teamwork.
The most impressive thing about Scalettar is that she reasonable—she’s willing to listen to other viewpoints and she’s a surprisingly independent voice in the caucus. (Many times the caucus sees only the viewpoint of labor and other groups in the so-called party “base” to the exclusion of the average Connecticut voter who is fairly moderate.) This is a quality very much necessary for a municipal leader.
Scalettar has a stellar résumé as well. There is no doubt in The Shad’s mind that she’d make a great chief executive for the town of Woodbridge.
She is also tough. In her 1998 bid for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state, she endured the scorched earth campaign of rival and eventual winner Susan Bysiewicz. It was ugly and to this day is something of legend at the state Capitol with many hard feeling towards SuBy remaining.
The big question is whether Scalettar will remain on the Senate Dem’s staff. It could very well be that Woodbridge’s gain is Don Williams’ loss. It would be difficult, but not impossible, for Scalettar to do both. She has by far the most experience on policy issues Williams has to deal with on an everyday basis. In addition, if she leaves her current position and wins the first selectman’s office, she would take a substantial pay cut. Her current position pays $137,967. The position of first selectman pays just under $76,000. So if she does leave the Senate Dems, it wouldn’t be for the money, it would be for the love of public service. That’s admirable.
The election is on May 7th. Scalettar will face Republican Cathy Wick.