Despite the general feeling of mistrust of politicians (“They’re all crooks” or “They’re all just out for themselves”), the vast majority of them are in it for the right reason. Believe it or not, there are even some whose dedication to public service is above and beyond the average commitment. The Shad hates to see these folks disparaged and will always defend them in this space.
Such is the case with state Senate President Don Williams and state Rep. Mae Flexer and a column prominently featured in the Hartford Courant. If an opinion writer thinks Williams is unqualified to be president of a Quinebaug Community College, how about discussing those qualifications without personal attacks or silly sarcastic statements. If the writer has a problem with Flexer being on a committee screening candidates for the school’s presidency, say so without the insinuation of something nefarious going on.
The fact is it can easily be argued that having Williams as president of Quinebaug is what’s best for the school. That’s something not yet discussed—what’s best for the school and its students. As The Shad has already written, with Williams as president Quinebaug immediately gains some gravitas and an “in” with the legislature. That means the school (and the state community college system) gets its fair share of funding.
Further, suggesting that Williams wants the job simply to boost his pension is offensive. I know Don Williams and worked for him for several years. He wants the job because he thinks he can contribute to the students’ success at the school not because he can pad his wallet.
Mae Flexer is among the most dedicated elected officials I’ve ever seen. I worked alongside her for several years as well. Just because she contributed to Williams’ campaigns in the past doesn’t mean she will give him preferential treatment. Flexer is honest, forthright and always does the right thing. Anyway, if one is disqualified because of political contributions, we’re going to have a hard time getting serious, qualified people to serve.
Cynicism is at the heart of what’s wrong with politics in Connecticut. The Courant should rethink printing an over-the-top, nasty column that adds little to the political discourse on the issue on who should be the president of Quinebaug.