2009-11-25 / Letters to the Editor

Caucus legal and time-honored

We wish to respond to the lead article in the Nov. 19 Press with a defense of the American two-party political system. The implication of some of the quotes in the article is that party politics are somehow dirty and underhanded. In fact, the system has served America well for over 200 years, and is key to a functioning democracy.

To get a little more local, in June, the Jamestown Democratic Town Committee began its work of finding qualified candidates to run for town office. The task is not easy, because to run for office is time consuming and often thankless, and many capable people fear the commitment. We succeeded in getting nine candidates to file their papers by the deadline on Aug. 20. The Republicans failed to nominate any candidates.

Our next job was to raise some money so we could print brochures and run ads in the Jamestown Press, in order to inform the electorate of the candidates’ biographies and qualifications. We also arranged a meeting with the editorial staff of the Newport Daily News so the newspaper could endorse worthy candidates, and made sure the candidates knew about the various public forums being held.

The outcome of this effort was that eight Democrats were elected to the Town Council, School Committee and as Town Moderator. The Town Council winners chose to meet in caucus prior to their swearing in, a legal and time honored way of promoting party unity by deciding certain leadership issues in private. These candidates ran as a team and were elected as a team, so they, and they alone, had the right to discuss party matters together. The other members of the Jamestown Democratic Town Committee (of which Barbara Szepatowski is not and never was a member) were appropriately not invited to this caucus.

We are proud of the work we did to support this election, and believe that without organized Democratic Party efforts there may not have been a full slate of candidates. All of us should be thankful that these men and women

are willing to give so much of their time to serving the citizens of Jamestown.
Anne Livingston for the
Jamestown Democratic Town

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