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Newtown Republicans pull BOE candidates from town hall event due to harassment, intimidation

The Newtown Republican Town Committee has pulled three Republican board of education candidates from participating in a scheduled candidate event with their fellow Democrat candidates due to public hostility both online and in town.

“Here in town, property has been destroyed, eggs thrown, and candidates verbally harassed in public. Some residents have engaged in bullying and intimidation of local businesses over political views,” the RTC wrote in a letter to the Newtown PTA/PTCA informing them of their decision to withdraw.

“Postings on Newtown social media pages allegedly express intent to target candidates at the forum. These reports come from multiple people in our community and from a variety of political affiliations. In view of the belligerence exhibited nationwide in public forums such as school board meetings, our board takes these social media postings very seriously,” the letter continued.

The letter was posted on a private Facebook group page.

Local school board elections have become a hotbed of political activity and hostility both in parts of Connecticut and across the country as parents and school board members exchange accusations and debate what is being taught in the classrooms regarding racism and critical race theory and masks in schools.

In many instances, it has been Democrat school board members bearing the brunt of parents’ concerns and, at times, anger.

Last week, the Connecticut Senate Democrats posted a cartoon on Twitter that depicted parents as Hollywood movie monsters saying they were attending a board of education meeting. The tweet garnered the attention and anger of many national figures on Twitter and was reported on by Fox News.

However, in this case, it’s Republicans candidates for a local school board election who are bearing the brunt of an increasingly politically polarized country.

Reached for comment, Newtown RTC Chairman Dennis Brestovansky says that the RTC’s decision was not made lightly and does not reflect on the PTA/PTSA or any of the event organizers.

“They’ve done a tremendous service to the voters by trying to pull this together,” Brestovansky said. “But we had to make a decision about what’s best for our candidates given what they see happening to them personally and as part of their candidacy in social media and public events.”

“There’s been a lot of commentary made that’s just plain personal attack,” Brestovansky said, including comments made regarding candidates’ family members. Brestovansky added that he has not personally witnessed these incidents but is responding to reports he is receiving from the candidates.

Brestovansky said in light of the hostility, they felt it would be better to avoid further incidents by attending the candidate event. “It’s nigh on impossible for the board of education members who are currently sitting, or the organizers of events such as this forum for candidates running for board of education, to really control this and ensure that decorum is maintained.”

“It’s not anything against the organizers, it’s just virtually impossible to do that,” Brestovansky added.

Jennifer Padilla, a Democrat running for the Newtown Board of Education, wrote in a Facebook post that she has been “fielding questions and messages” on the topic and that while “childish behavior” should not be condoned, it should also not be an excuse to not engage with constituents.

“I do not condone bullying or violence of any kind but what all of us as candidates have experienced is not these things. It is the nature of politics. Our constituents should be allowed to voice their concerns,” Padilla wrote.

There are three Republican Board of Education candidates for the Newtown Board of Education – Janet Kuzma, Jennifer Larkin and retired Newtown school teacher Donald Ramsey.

“We believe all should feel safe and free to express their opinions to the public, including, if not especially, those who have volunteered their time in pursuit of serving that public,” the RTC letter concluded. “While this event has been very helpful to voters in the past as they seek to gather information to cast an informed ballot, we simply are not confident that the prior standards can be upheld this cycle.”

Marc E. Fitch

Marc E. Fitch is the author of several books and novels including Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science and Paranormal Nation: Why America Needs Ghosts, UFOs and Bigfoot. Marc was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and his work has appeared in The Federalist, American Thinker, The Skeptical Inquirer, World Net Daily and Real Clear Policy. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University. Marc can be reached at [email protected]

4 Comments

  1. Catherine Clinton
    October 29, 2021 @ 9:04 am

    It is so sad that this is happening, not just in Newtown, but across this great nation. George ORwell was a little too early with his timing. We are now living in 1984, complete with the “thought police” that tolerate only way of thinking- theirs.
    I am a former Democrat, who was always really an independent. I am ashamed of what that political party has beome. so intolerant of anyone else. we are losing the very soul of this contry- the Freedom to speak.

    Reply

    • Edward J Max
      October 30, 2021 @ 12:33 pm

      We are living like Germany 1933, not 1984. Question Authority. Resist cancel culture.

      Reply

  2. Kendall Svengalis
    November 5, 2021 @ 5:50 pm

    Similar behaviors were displayed in Guilford, where five reform, anti-CRT candidates, all of them parents, were intimidated on social media and harrassed by radical left Democrats and union forces. The heightened interest in this election brought out the teachers’ union to protect their “regulatory capture” of the present school board. This phenomenon is manifest across the country where teachers’ unions seek to elect their “bosses,” particularly in what are generally low turnout elections. Now, however, they are using the tenets of CRT and political advocacy to indoctrinate innocent schoolchildren and create future Democrat voters. They called our candidates “Trump extremists” in their campaign mailings, stole dozens of yard signs (including two in the yard of the RTC chair), and used character assassination in letters to the Guilford Courier. This campaign brought the worst aspects of political chicanery by Democrats.

    The worst aspect of this campaign was their fabrication of a fraudulent “fusion ticket” consisting of two Democrats (only two could run in this cycle) and three independents who were nothing but closet Democrats. Since Democrats in Guilford outnumber Republicans 2-1, they were easily able to convince Democrats to vote for the A- C fusion ticket, thus outvoting Republicans for all five seats. This effectively eviscerated the minority representation rule, with the Independents becong the supposed minority. This leaves more than 3,000 Republican voters without a seat at the table as far as representation on the BOE is concerned. The end result: a unified board that preserves a divided town. Disgusting, but the way fascists think.

    Reply

  3. Kendall Svengalis
    November 5, 2021 @ 5:58 pm

    It was great to see Newtown Republicans win three out of the four open seats on the Board of Education and stick it to the bullying Democrats and teachers’ union who think they should own the BOE. I wish we had these kinds of sensible voters in Guilford to stand up to this harrassment.

    Reply

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