September 2023

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August's welcome news was the indictment of Donald Trump and a band of co-conspirators in Georgia. This long-anticipated event adds to Trump's previous indictments in three separate federal cases. Much as we welcome seeing Trump brought to justice, we need to remember that putting Trump on trial -- and even convicting him -- does not guarantee the end of his ability to undermine our democracy. Even if convicted, he can still run for President, even from prison. And if he is re-elected as President while serving a prison sentence, there would most likely be a Constitutional crisis, perhaps resulting in a suspension of his sentence while he serves his duties as the "duly elected" President. The best, and really only, way to protect our democracy is to make sure that Trump never gets re-elected.

So, while the wheels of justice grind on, we should not be distracted by those events. Our attention and energy should be on ensuring that Joe Biden wins, and wins decisively. Along with keeping Joe Biden in the White House, we must make sure that we help elect Democrats everywhere -- in Congress, in state houses, and in local governments.

Right now, many important races are underway outside of our immediate area. Read below about some of the many ways that you can play your part in those out-of-state elections right from here in Salisbury (or wherever you are). We don't need big heroic efforts, just the power of many individuals doing their small part. Together we can be a mighty force that bends the arc.

With best wishes for a happy Labor Day,

Your faithful editor


At its July meeting, the Salisbury Democratic Town Committee nominated an outstanding slate of highly-qualified candidates for municipal offices. Please get familiar with these candidates and prepare to vote for them on November 7.

First Selectman - Curtis Rand

Second Selectman - Christian Williams

Board of Education - Lucia Philipp and Barrett Prinz

Regional Board of Education - Flora Lazar

Board of Finance - Michael Voldstad

Planning & Zoning Commission - Michael Klemens

Planning & Zoning Commission (Alternates) - Danella Schiffer and Beth Wells

Board of Assessment Appeals - Elvia Gignoux

Zoning Board of Appeals - Stacey Weiner and Lee Greenhouse

Zoning Board of Appeals (Alternate) - Harding Bancroft

Please spread the word among your family and friends about the importance of voting for our Democratic slate in November.


The following letter to the editor appeared in the July 5 issue of the Lakeville Journal regarding a physical attack on state legislator Maryam Kahn as she left Eid al-Adha prayer services with her family at the XL Center in Hartford on June 29.

Summertime in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut can be idyllic, with warm days, beautiful lakes, and endless trails to hike. Surrounded by all this, it can be easy to miss the importance of events outside our community that threaten our country, our civilization, and humanity itself. One of our state legislators, Maryam Khan, was attacked as she left Eid al-Adha prayer services at the XL Center in Hartford last week. Her three small children were witness to the attack. Authorities are investigating a bias motive, but reports suggest misogyny, racism, bigotry, or all three may have been a component.

Any instance of violence is unacceptable in a civilized world yet in recent years some elected officials have promoted the idea that certain beliefs or backgrounds or genders are appropriate targets for disparagement or, as in this case, for violence.

The Salisbury Town Democratic Committee and the local grassroots group, Saving Democracy, believe in the need to defend the rights and freedoms of all residents of the United States. We honor multiculturism for the richness it brings to our society. We oppose all instances of segregation and malignment of groups defined by their cultural or chosen identities. We know that we share those beliefs with many of our neighbors, regardless of their political affiliation.

The future depends on each of us taking on the challenge of refuting hate in any of its manifestations and replacing it with respect and compassion for our compatriots in our community, in our country and around the world.

Al Ginouves

Salisbury Democratic Town Committee

Kathleen Voldstad

Saving Democracy


Just a few weeks ago, Ohio voters rejected a Republican-backed amendment to the state constitution intended to thwart an abortion rights amendment. The contest was seen as a test of efforts by Republicans nationwide to curb voters’ use of ballot initiatives. Ohio had a previously-scheduled vote this November on a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to abortion. In an effort to make that ballot initiative more difficult for voters to pass, the Republican-controlled state legislature scheduled another ballot measure called "Issue 1" on the ballot for an August vote. Issue 1 would have raised the threshold to pass any constitutional amendment from a simple majority to 60%. As an added barrier, Issue 1 would have required as a condition for any future ballot initiatives to appear on the ballot that they first be backed by petitions from all 88 Ohio counties instead of the current requirement for 44 counties. These requirements would have made it very difficult to pass the fall abortion amendment or any future amendments, effectively stripping voters’ rights for direct action outside of the legislature. The GOP timed the special election on Issue 1 for the middle of the summer when, they assumed, voters would not be paying attention.  

Fortunately, Ohio progressives, joined by concerned citizens from around the country, got wise to this scheme and organized a huge campaign against Issue 1. In the end, voters resoundingly defeated the ballot question by 13 percentage points, 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent. As a point of comparison, the roughly 2.8 million votes cast dwarfed the 1.7 million votes counted in the state’s 2022 primary elections, in which races for governor, the US Senate, and the US House were on the ballot.

Here are some takeaways: First, this was a test of Republicans’ efforts nationwide to curb the use of ballot initiatives, one of the only ways that voters can overcome barriers imposed by Republican-controlled state houses. Second, this case was a potential indicator of the political climate going into the 2024 election, including a backlash against Republican anti-abortion measures. Finally, we can overcome GOP extremism and anti-democratic scheming by staying vigilant, keeping informed, and getting organized.  Here in Salisbury, we can be proud that concerned citizens joined in postcarding and phonebanking to help defeat the ballot measure. Thank you, everyone who pitched in!

A final piece of follow-on good news: Ohio groups have started collecting signatures for a state constitutional amendment that would require the state's congressional and legislative maps to be drawn by a bipartisan redistricting commission, rather than the GOP-controlled legislature. The possibility of passing this proposed constitutional amendment would be much more difficult had Issue 1 not been defeated.

For more on this episode, read Michelle Goldberg’s excellent analysis, "The Critical Election Republicans Are Hoping You Won’t Notice" in The New York Times as well as The Times’ postmortem “Why Ohio Voters Said No to the Ballot Measure."


The work continues at Saving Democracy, the grassroots political action group founded by your neighbors here in Salisbury. Over the summer, its stalwart postcarders sent 1200 cards to registered Democrats in Ohio encouraging them to vote against Issue 1 in the August special election. Members also joined phonebanks and textbanks to spread the word and help voters defeat this GOP-backed effort to thwart abortion rights. (See article above about Issue 1.)

Saving Democracy recognizes that many of the issues important to us, such as education, reproductive rights, voting rights, healthcare, racial justice, climate change, and the environment, are determined at the state level. State legislatures have the power to impact all these issues. For decades, the GOP has understood the importance of dominating state governments and has been laser-focused on electing Republicans at the state level. Democrats need to work hard to reclaim lost ground. One way that Saving Democracy is fighting back is by supporting The States Project which provides focused, well-researched, and critically-evaluated methods to turn state legislatures from red to blue.

Currently, Saving Democracy is running a campaign to write postcards to Democrats in Virginia and Kentucky, encouraging them to vote in November. In addition, the group will be writing postcards to support candidates in Virginia who have been identified by the States Project as strong contenders to win their races. Members may even meet some of these candidates on Zoom! The group meets to write postcards every week on Tuesday afternoons from 2:30-4:40pm at the White Hart in Salisbury. Everyone is welcome to join. If you’d like to write cards, but can’t make it to the White Hart, other arrangements are possible.

This work requires funding, of course. A group of Saving Democracy members have formed a "Giving Circle," the States Project’s vehicle for fundraising. Melissa Walker, director of Giving Circles, made a visit to Saving Democracy in Salisbury in August. If you missed the chance to meet her in person, look at this video to hear the compelling reasons for their work and the great successes they have had. If you’d like to join the Giving Circle (called State by State) by making a donation, you may do it through this link. If you’d like to know more about why the elections in Virginia are so important this year, look here

For more about Saving Democracy or to join its email list, please email [email protected].


September 18 at 1pm: Climate March in New York City. Marchers will gather on Broadway, between 54th and 57th Streets and proceed on a route that will end up with a rally at 1st Avenue and 49th Street, near United Nations headquarters. CT Sierra Club and other organizations are working to organize buses and other transportation. For more information, contact Duste Dunn at 203-241-8403 or dustedu[email protected].

September 19 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.

September 22 - Reception 5:00pm, Program at 6:30pm: Housing + Jobs + Conservation: A Roadmap for Action. This event is sponsored by the Salisbury Forum in partnership with Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and will take place at Salisbury School. Housing is rapidly becoming less affordable for residents in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and the surrounding region, making it difficult for those who work in local businesses, schools, and nonprofits to find a home. This forum will explore how towns and local organizations can expand housing affordability while balancing other important issues, including land conservation. Discussion will focus on building a unifying process that merges the imperative for housing solutions with long-term commitments to conservation and preservation of open spaces. The forum will be facilitated by Steve Rosenberg, co-convener Hudson Valley Affordable Housing & Conservation Strategy, formerly of Scenic Hudson. Panelists will include Jocelyn Ayer, Litchfield County Center for Housing Opportunity (LCCHO); Michael Polemis, Chair, Land Trust Alliance; and Gordon Ridgway, First Selectman, Cornwall, CT. Click here to find out more about this event.


State Budget in the Black for Fifth Straight Year. Thanks to Democratic leadership, the state government is poised to deposit $2 billion more into the budget reserve fund after posting a year-end surplus for the fifth year in a row. The deposit will bring the balance of the budget reserve fund from $3.3 billion to $5.4 billion. Read the full story in the Republican American.

How a Florida County Became the Book Ban Heartland of the US. As the extremist group Moms for Liberty flourishes in Clay County, their campaign of outrage has books disappearing from school shelves. Clay County has become a flashpoint in the state of Florida on the topic of book challenges. According to recent tallies, more than 175 books have been permanently removed from its public school libraries. This number ranks among the highest of any county in the US due to the county's unique policy requiring that books are pulled from shelves as soon as a challenge form is filed with the school district. Conservative activists from two organizations have seized on that policy, often filing multiple challenge forms at a time, which inundates the systems and committees that process the claims. Read the full story in The Guardian.

New App Helps Teens Read Books Banned in School. For the past two years, book banning has been on the rise in schools and libraries across the US, mainly due to far-right pressure. The bans are pushed either by local actors, like anxious parents and parent-led groups, or by politicians through broader state-level laws. A recent PEN America study found that the bans were most prevalent this year in Florida, Texas, Utah, Missouri, and South Carolina. Now the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is trying to fight back. It recently launched the Banned Book Program, with an app that grants free nationwide access to books restricted in schools or libraries. 

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Watch This Short Video: In a Major Reversal, the Republican National Committee Now Promotes Mail-in and Early Voting. In a major reversal, the RNC has released a 30-second advertisement encouraging Republicans to utilize mail-in voting and early voting as part of their “Bank Your Vote” campaign. This is a complete flip-flop from the last presidential cycle when the party, led by former President Donald Trump, repeatedly attacked these voting methods. Take a moment to watch the video and see leading Republicans, including Donald Trump himself, urge voters to vote early and by mail.

Voters with Disabilities Surged in 2022, Thanks to Vote-by-Mail. Recent research shows the power of vote-by-mail to close the participation gap among different segments of our population, including those with disabilities. Research by Rutgers University and the US Elections Assistance Commission shows that between 2018 and 2022, states with “mostly improved” access to mailed-out ballots increased the participation of voters with disabilities by 4.4 percent. In states that went from “excuse required” to “no excuse” mail ballots, voter participation among people with disabilities increased by 6.9 percent. In states that went the next step – from “no excuse” to an all-vote-by-mail model in which ballots were automatically mailed to all active registered voters, voter participation among people with disabilities jumped by 5.3 percent. States that did not improve access to mailed-out ballots saw voter participation among people with disabilities remain at previous levels. Read more from the National Vote at Home Institute.

He’s An Insider: Ramaswamy Has Deep Ties to Rightwing Kingpins. Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy brands himself as an outsider, but has close links to prominent conservative figures Leonard Leo and Peter Thiel. Ramaswamy accuses rivals for the Republican presidential nomination of being “bought and paid for” by donors and special interests. But the 38-year-old Ohio-based venture capitalist, whose sharp-elbowed and angry display stood out in the first Republican debate last week, has his own close ties to influential figures from both sides of the political aisle. Read the story in The Guardian.


Here's a 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 goes to Jessica Craven and her Chop Wood, Carry Water newsletter for these bits of good news and encouragement:

  • Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed legislation to automatically register Medicaid recipients to vote.

  • A three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court Appeals struck down Mississippi’s harsh felony disenfranchisement statutes; this is a big win for voting rights advocates in a state that permanently bars more than 10 percent of its adult population from voting.

  • In the first ruling of its kind nationwide, a Montana state court decided in favor of young people who alleged the state violated their right to a “clean and healthful environment” by promoting the use of fossil fuels.

  • Explosive growth in solar power means most EU countries will hit their 2030 renewable energy targets ahead of time, new data shows, fueling optimism on efforts to bring down global emissions.

  • India's greenhouse emissions rate dropped by a faster-than-expected 33% in 14 years as renewable energy generation rose and forest cover increased.

  • In California, the Modesto School District just rolled out 30 new electric school buses for the new school year. The change will save the over $250,000 in fuel costs annually, lower carbon emissions, and result in cleaner air.

  • Twenty-five percent of all vehicles sold in California during the second quarter of 2023 were electric or otherwise zero-emission.

  • A $1 billion solar project is planned in Eastern Kentucky at the site of a former coal mine, and it will generate up to 800 megawatts — which could power more than 500,000 homes.

  • Installation is set to begin this week on the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, located in the Atlantic about 15 miles south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

  • The Biden administration has proposed a new energy efficiency rule for residential water heaters, a move that would jumpstart the adoption of energy-saving heat pumps and significantly reduce carbon emissions from US homes.


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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