November 2023

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The world seems to have flown off its axis since the horrific events in Israel on October 7. Whatever comes next is full of unknowns, but this much is certain: There is going to be much more suffering on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict as well as spillover elsewhere in the region. The conflict will also inflame our own domestic politics, as we are already seeing from the growing divisiveness and intolerance in the dialogue about the underlying, decades-long Israel-Palestine conflict.

As spiraling events elsewhere occupy our attention, here in the US we must also remain focused on defending our own civil society against the constant attacks by forces seeking to destabilize it and undermining our democracy.  

With just days left before Election Day, please make your plan to vote on November 7 or earlier if you have an absentee ballot. Also, there is still more work to be done, especially encouraging voters elsewhere to turn out and vote. Please read below about how you can still make a difference by taking action through the get-out-the-vote activities of Saving Democracy in key elections outside of our state.

Thank you everyone who came to our candidate meet-and-greet at the Town Grove last Sunday. Despite the unfavorable weather, we had a large turnout and a great showcase of our stellar candidates. We also want to thank the many volunteers who helped organize the event and brought delicious food, much of it homemade. 

With gratitude and best wishes,

Your faithful editor


Our democracy works best when all of us vote. It is our collective opportunity – and duty -- to show that the right to vote really matters. Please make a plan to vote next Tuesday, November 7 and encourage your friends and family to turn out, too. And please support our great slate of Democratic candidates, including both our proven incumbents and the newcomers who are stepping up to volunteer their time and energy. You can educate yourself by clicking to preview the ballot.

Salisbury voters have told us that they are confused about how to indicate their choices in the school board election, so we thought it would be worth a moment to explain how the voting works in this specific race. There are five candidates on the ballot for school board: two Democrats (Barrett Prinz and Lucia Phillip) as well as two Republican candidates plus David Valcin, the current chair of the Board of Education, who is running as a "petitioning candidate." Because of an anomaly in the nominating process, David was forced to run independently, rather than as a Democrat. As a voter, you may select a maximum of two candidates. Our two Democratic candidates are excellent choices, but David Valcin has done an outstanding job as chair of the board and deserves your vote. We cannot afford to lose him, especially at this time. Among other responsibilities, the board will have the critical task of hiring a new superintendent to step into the shoes of our highly-regarded superintendent, who is retiring. Therefore, please consider casting one of your votes for David Valcin on the “Petitioning Candidate” line and your other vote for one of the two candidates listed on the "Democratic Party" line. 

Voting takes place at Salisbury Town Hall from 6am to 8pm.

If you missed the cut off date to register to vote, you can still register and vote on Election Day!

For further information, please contact the Registrar of Voters at (860) 435-5175 or the Salisbury Town Clerk at (860) 435-5182.


Saving Democracy, our local grassroots organization, finished its postcard writing campaign for this election cycle just a few weeks ago. About 50 volunteers worked tirelessly from July through October and have mailed nearly 11,000 postcards to voters in other states. Each card had a handwritten note advising voters of upcoming elections, promoting awareness of the issues at stake, and/or supporting specific candidates. Here's a sampling of this initiative’s achievements:

  • Ohio: 1200 cards sent in July alerted voters to the Republican scheme to change the state constitution to make it more difficult for voters to protect abortion rights. Fortunately, the postcard campaign helped thwart the GOP’s plans. An additional 1000 cards were sent in September reminding new voters that they needed to register by October 10 in order to vote in November.

  • Virginia: 4000 cards sent to voters urged them to vote in the coming November election in which all state seats are up for election. In addition, 500 cards were sent on behalf of Josh Cole, a Democratic candidate in a close state race.

  • North Carolina: 1000 cards were mailed to voters in the Mecklenburg County/Charlotte area, which had been identified as a “flip” opportunity for Democrats.

  • Kentucky: 2000 cards were sent urging voters to participate in November, hoping that their votes will re-elect Andy Beshear, a Democratic Governor in a red state.

  • Louisiana: 1000 cards were sent, reminding voters to turn out for the state's November 17 elections. 

Kathy Voldstad, initiator of Saving Democracy, expressed gratitude to all of the many volunteers who contributed their time, energy, hearts, and money to the group’s work. She also expressed special thanks to Sarah Zarbock and John Hoffman, who took on the responsibility of obtaining and repackaging the postcards, printing address labels, and ensuring that clear directions were included in every packet of cards. She added special thanks to Sophia deBoer, who spent hours every week baking sweet treats to fortify the postcarders. 


In the short time remaining, you can make a positive impact by joining Saving Democracy’s final initiative for this election cycle: Get-out-the-vote calling in battleground races. Recent history shows that many elections are decided by just a few votes and that citizens really do need to be reminded to vote and given important information about voting locations and hours. That’s why get-out-the-vote activities can be so decisive. These calls are to friendly voters who just need a reminder and a nudge to vote – so don’t worry if you’re a shy person. You might even have voters thank you for your reminder. It’s crunch time and even an hour or two of your time can make the difference between a candidate’s victory or defeat. To find out more, please contact 

[email protected]


The Supreme Court will hear US v. Rahimi on November 7. The court will decide if an abuser who has a protection order or restraining order against them can legally keep their guns. If the Supreme Court overturns this law, it would likely increase domestic gun violence and put lives—especially the lives of women—at risk. The current law has been in effect for almost 30 years.

Grandparents Uniting for Gun Safety has made it easy to send a snail mail letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court ahead of this hearing. Generate your letter by clicking here. You have to open the template in a Word document and add your name and address, and then print and mail.


Now thru November 30: Salisbury Affordable Housing Exhibit. If you want to learn more about the urgency of affordable housing in our community and the projects underway or proposed, please visit the exhibit currently on display at the Academy Building onn Main Street. It is presented by the Salisbury Association and was co-designed by the Salisbury Affordable Housing Commission, the Salisbury Housing Committee, and the Salisbury Housing Trust. The exhibit presents eye-opening information about the state of affordable housing in our community, including the fact that nearly 300 households in Salisbury spend more than 50% of their income on housing and that nearly 100 families are on waiting lists for affordable rentals. The exhibit also shows maps and renderings of the various affordable housing projects that are in planning or development in our community. The exhibit is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.

November 5 from 4-5:30pm: Food Security - A Community Conversation. Hosted at Troutbeck. Join The Guild x the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon for this social justice panel on food insecurity in the Tri Corner. Come learn from these experts:

  • Linda Quella, Tri Corner Food Equity, Education & Distribution, moderator
  • Jordan Schmidt, Food Program Director North East Community Center
  • Sarah Chase, Farmer Chaseholm Farm
  • Renée Giroux, Manager NWCT Food Hub
  • Sarah Salem, Hudson Valley Food Systems Coalition

This panel will address what we can do to be part of building an equitable food system in our Tri Corner community and efforts currently underway to support farmers and the production of healthy food and address environmental concerns and food waste.

November 11 at 11am: Veterans Day Commemoration. Meet in front of Salisbury Town Hall to honor those who have served our country. Hosted by Post #70.

November 19 at 2pm: Housatonic Valley Association’s “Auction for the Environment” at South Farms in Morris. As a conservation organization dedicated to the entire 2,000 square-mile tristate Housatonic Watershed, the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) acts to protect the natural character and environmental health of the entire river valley from the Berkshires to Long Island Sound. HVA’s Auction for the Environment will celebrate and support this mission. The event will be hosted by entertainer Christine Baranski and auctioneer Sherry Truhlar will be back by popular demand. The event kicks off at 2pm with cocktails and a silent auction. The live auction starts at 3pm. Seating is limited, so reserve your place.

November 21 at 7pm: Salisbury Democratic Town Committee. This regular monthly SDTC meeting will be held at Town Hall and via Zoom. The SDTC is committed to promoting good government and democratic principles at every level of our civic life. The SDTC recruits candidates for local elective and appointed offices and supports the most qualified Democrats to run in municipal, state, and national elections. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of every month. Contact Al Ginouves to receive a copy of the agenda and the link to the meeting.

December 1 at 7:30pm: Our Pandemic Future in a Rapidly Changing World -- sponsored by the Salisbury Forum. This event will take place at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. Dr. James Shepherd, a faculty physician at Yale University, will lead a forum on how the world must confront infectious diseases in the 21st century. Dr. Shepherd has spent the last two decades as an infectious disease specialist, including in Africa and India treating HIV and TB, and managing public health systems and disease outbreaks. He is also a farmer in Sharon, growing hops for local brewers and raising cows and sheep. With his broad experience as a doctor and a farmer, Dr. Shepherd provides a unique perspective on epidemics, the changing environment, and the place of our species among the community of animals, plants, and pathogens. For more information click here.


We Did It! Wisconsin Republicans Retreated From Threats to Impeach Liberal Justice. Last month, we reported that Wisconsin Republicans were threatening to impeach a progressive, newly-seated Supreme Court Justice, Janet Protasiewicz, before she had even heard her first case. The GOP’s goal was to preempt her participation in ruling on gerrymandered legislative maps that have cemented the GOP’s hold on power in the state. The election of Justice Protasiewicz earlier this year had given progressives a majority on the court for the first time in many years. Fortunately, thanks to a massive campaign by Wisconsin Democrats (with support from some of you!), the state Republicans backed off from their impeachment threat. This episode shows how getting organized to work against anti-democratic forces can pay off. For more, read this article in The New York Times.

How Kari Lake’s Tactical Retreat on Abortion Could Point the Way for the GOP.

Kari Lake, along with other Republicans in battleground states, has come out against a federal ban on abortion as candidates try to attract general election voters. Anti-abortion activists, who have been staunch allies of the GOP, aren’t pleased. Kari Lake campaigned for governor of Arizona last year as a fierce ally of former President Trump. She was in lock step with her party’s right-wing base, calling abortion the “ultimate sin” and supporting the state’s Civil War-era restrictions on the procedure. But recently, she made a remarkable shift on the issue as she opened her bid for the US Senate: She declared her opposition to a federal ban, saying that the question should be left to the states. The maneuvering by Ms. Lake, along with similar adjustments by Republican Senate candidates in Pennsylvania and Michigan, is part of a broader strategic effort in the GOP to recalibrate on an issue that has become a political albatross in battleground states and beyond. The campaign arm for Senate Republicans, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is now coaching candidates to take the same tack as Ms. Lake — that is, clearly state their opposition to a national abortion ban. Read more in this article in The New York Times

Scholastic Removes Optional Diverse Book Section After Controversy. Children’s book publisher Scholastic has reversed its decision to create a separate, optional section for elementary schools for titles written predominantly by and about people of color and LGBTQ people. Scholastic's "Share Every Story, Celebrate Every Voice" was made up of 64 titles, that included such books as I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick, She Dared: Malala Yousafzai, and Justice Ketanji, about how Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to serve as a US Supreme Court justice. The list of restricted books also includes All Are Welcome, which promotes the message that everyone belongs, regardless of their race, family makeup, clothes, religion, or ability, as well as Because of You, John Lewis about a boy who becomes inspired by the late Georgia congressman, and I Am Ruby Bridges, a picture book whose author was in 1960 the first Black child to integrate a school in Louisiana. Scholastic's initial decision to make some books optional came as nationwide attempts to ban books spike across the country and as dozens of states continue to implement policies that restrict how the subjects of race, gender, and sexual orientation are discussed in schools. The decision was criticized as censorship, with advocacy groups claiming the move will encourage those behind book bans and restrictive laws. In the first eight months of the year, the American Library Association (ALA) recorded 695 attempts to censor library materials, impacting 1,915 unique book titles. The vast majority of challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or LGBTQ authors, according to the ALA. For more, read this article by ABC News.

Known for His Pointed Questions, a 15-Year-Old Is Ejected From GOP Event.

Quinn Mitchell, a New Hampshire high school student and an aspiring journalist, was escorted out of a GOP candidate summit there recently, though he was later allowed to return. According to his website, Quinn has attended more than 80 presidential campaign events since he was 10, taking advantage of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status in the nominating process to pose questions to candidates. Read more in this article from The New York Times.

“Truth in Journalism” - Sponsored by the Salisbury Forum in partnership with the Lakeville Journal and the Sharon Playhouse. In October, Brian Ross, who has had an illustrious 40-year career as an investigative journalist, most notably as the Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News, facilitated a panel that included Kurt Andersen, an American author of novels and nonfiction as well as television and theater, and John Coston, editor of the Lakeville Journal. They discussed the importance of maintaining the truth in all news media platforms. Also on the panel were playwrights Jeremy Kareken and David Murrell who discussed how facts become twisted into fiction in their critically acclaimed Broadway play "The Lifespan of a Fact" about the high-stakes world of publishing. Their play recently ended its run at the Sharon Playhouse. Click to watch the recording of this event.

Connecticut Receives Third Credit Rating Upgrade this Year. Fitch Ratings has upgraded the credit rating for the State of Connecticut’s UConn General Obligation (GO) bonds, part of the UConn 2000 program, from “A+” to “AA-.” Fitch cited the success and impact of recent budgetary reforms and the state’s commitment to higher education. Fitch demonstrated confidence in both UConn and the state’s capacity to fulfill their debt service obligations in the future. This is the third credit rating upgrade Connecticut has received so far this year. Kroll Bond Rating Agency upgraded Connecticut’s General Obligation bonds in May and its transportation bonds in October. All four of the state’s major bonding programs are now rated “AA” level or higher.

Housing Grant Funding from IOREBTA Program. The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) approved one-time grant funding awards as part of the Interest on Real Estate Brokers Trust Account (IOREBTA) Program, which includes grants for the Salisbury Housing Trust, Falls Village Housing Trust, Kent Affordable Housing, and Litchfield County Center for Affordable Housing. Each organization received a $5,000 grant. OREBTA Program funds annually support appraisal gap financing for first-time homebuyers, development of affordable housing projects, counseling for low- and moderate-income homebuyers, and second mortgage down payment assistance when the CHFA suspended its Down Payment Assistance Program.


There’s No Democracy in the US Without Democracy in the States

Faithful readers of this newsletter have heard us advocate working for voting rights in other states. As a recent article by the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center points out, there is no shortage of ways that states have tried to make voting more difficult. Examples range from gerrymandering of legislative maps to laws restricting ballot initiatives that are often the last resort for voters in states where Republicans control the state house. Fortunately, organizations like the CLC are fighting back through litigation, policy advocacy, and public communication. If you want to know more, try listening to the CLC’s podcast, “Democracy Decoded,” which has begun its third season with stories about how our ongoing national struggle to advance and improve our system of self-government plays out at the state and local level. You can access the podcast here.

Another great source is Democracy Docket, which we have recommended in the past. It delivers expert opinion and commentary about important litigation and policy that will shape our elections and democratic institutions for years to come. With a comprehensive database of over 600 cases, Democracy Docket tracks and reports on the latest election and voting-related litigation, providing filings, in-depth analysis, and up-to-date developments about court proceedings. Democracy Docket also offers its own weekly podcast, “Defending Democracy,” which covers the latest news in voting rights, redistricting and democracy. 


Here's our monthly dose of good news to remind us that while the struggle to make the world better can be hard and frustrating, we are making positive steps forward. Our thanks again goes to Jessica Craven and her Chop Wood, Carry Water newsletter for these bits of good news and encouragement:

  • More than 42,000 people have applied for the 20,000 jobs being funded for the American Climate Corps (ACC). More than two-thirds of respondents are between the ages of 18-35.  The ACC was created by the Biden administration to create skills-based training for careers in clean energy and climate resilience.

  • Major shipping companies are collaborating to demonstrate how high-tech sails can be retrofitted to conventional cargo ships, slashing their greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • After nearly two years of negotiations, a coalition of solar companies, conservationists, and other groups has come to terms on a set of principles that could speed up the construction of badly-needed renewable energy projects while also protecting wildlife habitat, preserving treasured landscapes, and benefiting nearby communities.  

  • The Department of Energy announced $3.46 billion in grants for 58 projects across 44 states to strengthen electric grid resilience and reliability.  

  • The EPA announced it has determined that lead emitted from airplanes is a danger to public health, opening the door for the agency’s first limits on lead fuel in aviation.  

  • The Federal Transit Administration announced it will provide approximately $197 million this year to replace aging railcars, improving reliability, safety, and accessibility on the nation’s rail transit systems.  

  • The Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that $26 million in funding will be invested over four years in the National Weather Service and the National Integrated Drought Information System to provide improved early warning for drought, flooding, fire, and other natural hazards.  

  • The US Supreme Court ordered two internet sellers of gun parts to comply with a Biden administration regulation aimed at "ghost guns," firearms that are difficult to trace because they lack serial numbers. Also, the Supreme Court left in place a lower court order blocking a Missouri law that invalidates federal gun restrictions.

  • Amazon said it has doubled the size of its electric delivery van fleet since July, to 10,000.

  • France has put an end to automatically printing hard-copy thermal receipts in most businesses because they are laden with Bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages and have health effects on the brains and prostate glands of fetuses and children as well as increase blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

  • A report out this week from a climate think tank projects that carbon emissions from electricity generation could finally peak this year, because of major investments in renewable energy infrastructure. 

  • Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker is launching a new organization focused on protecting abortion rights. Pritzker’s organization, Think Big America, will fund and support advocates aiming to expand abortion ballot measures across the country in 2024 and beyond.

  • South Korea has virtually eliminated food waste thanks to a compulsory curbside composting program.

  • The Internal Revenue Service announced the launch of its first-ever Direct File pilot program, the first step to creating a free, easy way for millions of Americans to file all of their taxes online.  

  • Three smalltooth sawfish pups were born at Sea World Orlando over the summer, marking the first successful birth of the endangered species at a US aquarium.

  • Five trailblazing women, including pioneering investigative journalist Ida B. Wells, will be featured on the back face of quarters to be minted for 2025.


Please send us any news or announcements that you would like us to share with our community. We publish on the first of each month, so please send us any submissions at least one week earlier. Please submit to the editor at [email protected].


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Paid for by the Salisbury Democratic Town Committee,

PO Box 465, Salisbury CT 06068, Pamela Kelley, Treasurer

Editor: Lee Greenhouse, [email protected]

Associate Editor: Sally Andre


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