Arkadiusz Piegdon ’08 sent in a message about Catherine Johnson, who is running on the Republican ticket for Connecticut state House against Joe Serra in our district:
I worked for an urban planner in Middletown and she’s running for
election this year and I think it would be great if she got some votes
from Wesleyan students tomorrow.
He also included a message from Catherine Johnson, which was a bit long, for which I apologize; however, I think it’s interesting, so I didn’t want to cut any of it out. Bolding is my own:
Hello, my name is Catherine Johnson. I’m running for state representative in District 33 against Joe Serra who’s had the job for 16 years. Because I may not have the opportunity to meet you before the election Tuesday, I want to give you a little background on local politics and myself.
Why I am Running
I want to move Middletown toward a more sustainable way of life. I am committed to investing in mass transit, open space preservation, diversifying housing, and providing access to daily needs within walking or bike-riding distance. I believe we should rebuild our train and bus network and I’d like to see Middletown at the top of the list of places to start. Outside of planning, my primary goals are protecting civil rights and improving education. Both my parents were teachers, and it is the profession I most admire.
These issues seem particularly timely in Connecticut as the State Legislature began looking at Smart Growth issues for the 2009 session. As an architect & town planner, I have been able to contribute to ideas reviewed in their four committees since April. It seems as though my candidacy has come at an incredibly relevant moment in our state’s history.
Local Politics and Making a Difficult Choice
After watching the decision-making process here in Middletown for about 3 years, I’ve realized that there are rarely new ideas. The common council has barely changed members in 20 years. Few new people are let in, if ever, and no one wants to change that. This is unhealthy. Consider what happens to the body when there is no movement. That is the state of our city government.
Last summer, I realized I had to get involved formally in planning or Middletown was going to be entirely paved over in 10 years. I either had to run for the P & Z Commission or move to Copenhagen.
I proudly have been an Independent my whole life, voting Democrat for president in every election, which I will do again this year. But I realized I needed to join one of the two parties because here in Middletown no Independent is ever elected. Also, I had heard unflattering things about one of the parties, and I hesitated. I simply did not know what to do.
I decided to follow the example of David Bauer. If you were to attend just one council meeting, you would see the difference he makes. He is inviting new people into the process where new is not welcome in this city. He ran for state rep and common council as an Independent and did not win, then ran for council on the Republican ticket and won. Amazingly, he now chairs the Republican town committee (which, by the way, has about only 14 active members). Last year, I ran for the Planning and Zoning Commission on the Republican ticket and won. This March, David asked me to consider running for state rep. suggesting I could continue working on Smart Growth for Middletown but now at the state level.
What I support
That is the whole story of how I came to acquire the unlikely rubric of Republican, and the story of what I see going on in the city. I would be happy to answer any of your questions about what I support. Please call me at 343-1611 or 343-8286. To end the suspense, I am pro-choice, pro-marriage rights for everyone and believe we should consider legalizing marijuana. There’s more on CatherineJohnson08.com. My article in this Sunday’s Hartford Courant (Nov 2) Commentary explains more in detail what transit investment could do for or economy here in central Connecticut. I leave it to you to decide if I am worthy of your vote.
Thank you for your time,
Check out her website; it’s an interesting read, and some pretty decent designing, too! It even seems to include an interview by Wesleyan’s very own bio prof, Stephen Devoto.