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Calling All Clinton Republicans! Now Is Your Chance To Get Involved!

We are seeking a mix of people to include younger family people who are active in the community or want to become active. You may even want to run for office some day. Let us hear from you.

By Phil Sengle: 

Calling All Clinton Republicans

Some say the Republican Party Organization in Clinton is too old and has too many of the same faces.  I agree, we need a good mix of new and older blood.  As Chairman of the Republican Town Committee I want to make this happen.  But I can only do it with your help.  What’s a town committee you say?  It is the lowest level of party organization in Connecticut.  Major parties must have them by law.  Since we have no counties here, the next level is the state organization.  Our job is to recruit candidates and win elections, but there is more.

 Since Clinton is largely run by volunteers, we search out and interview Republican and Independent (legally known as unaffiliated) voters who we recommend to the Board of Selectmen for appointments to bodies like the Shellfish, Inland Wetlands and Harbor Commissions.  There are over one hundred such positions available and vacancies always exist.  We also select delegates to state and federal conventions who nominate Republican candidates for Governor, U.S. Senate, Congress and State Senate and State Representative.  On the state level it would be the seats currently held by Art Linares (R) and Tom Vicino (D).

 How can you help revitalize the Republican Party in Clinton?  Rather simple actually, join the Town Committee and here is a great way to do that.  We are holding a caucus of all Republican electors (voters) on January 9, 2014 at the Town Hall at 7:00 PM.  A caucus is a meeting and any registered Republican can attend, speak, vote and be nominated for the Town Committee.  You can be nominated from the floor or as part of a slate.  Then a vote will take place.  There are 35 positions available but it is not necessary to fill them all.  An organizational meeting will be held in March with the new Committee to elect officers.  Town Committee membership is a legal position that has a two year term.  This new group will have its terms expire in January of 2016.  We meet monthly at the town hall.

 This is your chance to make things happen.  Instead of sitting on the sidelines and wondering how the process works or worse yet, complaining about it, you can make changes for the better if you don’t like how the town or party is run.  You are invited to participate.  Call or contact me through our web site at www.clintongop.org by using the “Contact” Tab.  We are seeking a mix of people to include younger family people who are active in the community or want to become active.  You may even want to run for office some day.  Let us hear from you.

 Phil Sengle; Chairman – Clinton Republican Town Committee

Phil Sengle January 08, 2014 at 08:59 AM
Of course we want to grow the Republican Party. And as you point out the election result showed that Mr. Fritz has lost a lot of ground. Several factors are at work causing this, two are his long tenure and the dissatisfaction regarding the direction of the town. But I have no interest in "fighting the last war". We live with the outcome. I understand the reasons why a third party was formed. I disagreed with it, but "they" were not to be dissuaded. I predicted to many what was likely to happen and it came to fruition. "They" should no longer claim that their goal is to remove the current town administration. It simply will not happen with this approach. Obviously working together for the betterment of Clinton is an option if egos and personal agendas are shelved. Now back to the caucus. It is our legal duty and responsibility to form a new town committee every two years and tomorrow night Jan. 9th is the time. Registered Republicans can attend and vote. And of course I invite everyone and anyone to join our party at any time. If you want to serve your town, let me know and I will explain and complete the process
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 08, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Wait, I may be confused, but I think, technically speaking, this is a meeting for registered Republicans to pick the Republican Town Committee for the upcoming year. It's the same in every other town, and for Democrats as well. It's fine and probably a good idea to have other meetings to discuss strategy, and third parties, and the like. But this is the Republican Town Committee caucus and Sengle just wanted to make sure that all Republicans knew they were invited. Anyone who is a registered Republican in town should consider going, if only to meet the people who will be making decisions about who will serve the town and run for office, as representatives of the Republican party.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 08, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Oh, I hope it's not your last post. I just wanted to make sure people understood that in order to participate in either the Republican caucus or the Democratic caucus (the same night) they have to be registered with that party.
Steve Bristol January 08, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Correct, but the article also included an invitation for people to join the Republican Party in hopes of providing the RTC with a potentially larger pool of prospects for boards and commissions. I think that's what Jeff was commenting about. As a former member of the RTC, I think I can say that the goal of the Third Party WAS to remove the current administration but not to replace it with (some of the RTC candidates) who they considered little different from what was already in place. Remember, the party only officially emerged AFTER the RTC selected their candidates. Working together would be spectacular but I find it a bit narcissistic for any party to believe that 'they' have to come to 'you' for that to happen. The somewhat surprising relative success of Clinton First is indication enough that many were driven away by either the DTC or RTC.
Phil Sengle January 08, 2014 at 01:55 PM
Pem: Thanks for clarifying for Jeff's benefit. I was not slamming a door on anyone. As you point out (and I thought I had) both major parties by law must have town committees and must select new members every two years and this is the time. Although I invited others to join our cause, by necessity, law and logic, only members of the Republican Party can select members of their local party organization. Same for the Democrats.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 08, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Jeff, Steve ... Is Clinton First having a nominating convention? Who would be the best person to contact about that?
R Alvin January 08, 2014 at 03:30 PM
Will someone please explain why Mr. Cashmen is ranting about Phil's post. I am a registered Democrat and I fully understood what Phil was saying and think he was doing the town a good service by informing people about the process. Mr. Cashmen is way out of line with his comments.
Phil Sengle January 08, 2014 at 03:36 PM
Minor Parties like Clinton First operate under a different set of rules. To my knowledge they don't have conventions and may not be required to have the equivalent of town committees. It would be interesting to know. They do have to file by-laws that control their operation. This may eventually prevent the co-mingling of Clinton Taxpayer Association money and resources like data bases with the Clinton First Party. This is something the CTA promised to not do but it seems likely the did as the same people are behind both organizations.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 08, 2014 at 03:54 PM
If Clinton First is having a nominating convention and they'd like me to post something about it, they are welcome to email me at pem.mcnerney@patch.com.
VIN CIMINO January 08, 2014 at 11:12 PM
I received several emails and calls asking me to take a look at this article and the comments that followed. I'd like to correct and clarify some points. Only the current members of the Clinton Republican Town Party and the Clinton Democratic Town Party are able to vote and thereby pick their party's new town committee, Pam. The new Clinton First Party is not yet required to select its new committee. Of course, Steve is absolutely right, the Clinton First Party was created in response to the Democratic and Republican slates. We ran a great campaign that stuck to the issues. The vote totals for Clinton First candidates were huge for a new third party. Phil attempted to blame Clinton First for his devastating loss, but the last election provided clear evidence that the Clinton Republican Party has fallen apart at the seams. Yes, more voters voted against Fritz than for him and they desperately want him replaced. But, the Clinton First slate consisted of Republicans, Democrats and Independents and its votes came from Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Phil's assertion that Clinton First cost him the election assumes that he would've otherwise received all the votes cast for Clinton First. We all know that's definitely not the case. Not by a long shot. Phil's further assertion that Clinton First's goal is anything other than to win office is so negligent and disrespectful that I refuse to believe its what he really feels. I'm confident Phil knows that Clinton First candidates run because they feel strongly that they represent a better option than either the Republican or Democratic candidate. We don't have a national party to lean on and the associated hard core party line voters, but that's not going to deter us. As a new third party candidate who received 70% of the Republican Party candidate's vote total, I know there are a lot of voters who are dissatisfied with both major parties, and that number is growing every day. Clinton First will only continue to grow bigger and stronger. We look forward to the next election. Pam, Clinton First will certainly keep you informed along the way but, frankly, the next election is almost 2 years off. Right now, we should all be preparing to scrutinize proposed budgets. It's very disturbing that we currently don't have a Finance Director again as we enter the budget season. I don't even know that we've heard the real reason why he's no longer employed by the town. I do know that we have a lot of spending going on and a lot of reliance on grants from a state that's looking at a billion dollar deficit. We need to reduce the tax burden on residents....and spending is not the answer.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 07:49 AM
Yes, as I said, registered Republicans can vote in the Republican Town Committee caucus and Democrats can vote in the Democratic Town Committee caucus. If you're not a registered Republican or Democrat, you cannot participate, but I'm guessing both parties welcome new members anytime. Both caucuses are Thursday evening. As for the rest of it, I will just say that Clinton is lucky to have so many people interested in local politics. That's a good thing. It's been a long time since I've seen an election night gathering as lively as the one I saw this past election, in Clinton. I hope all three parties do what they can to bring more people into the process, because more is always better when it comes to having a say in your local government.
Kirk Carr January 09, 2014 at 09:23 AM
Pem - You may need to check your facts with Larry Ouellette (DTC Chair) and Phil Sengle. I believe both caucuses are closed to current DTC and RTC members. It has been that way for the DTC for many years and only recently for the RTC thanks to bylaws changes made when Mr. Cimino was the RTC Chair. You may seek clarification so people who attend these caucuses are not disappointed. Thank you.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 09:34 AM
OK ... wait, gotcha ... checking on that.
Kirk Carr January 09, 2014 at 09:35 AM
Pem- That is very clear. I don't believe it is accurate. Perhaps Phil Sengle can weigh in for the RTC to correct me if I am wrong.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 09:47 AM
Hi. Just spoke with Larry Ouelette. The DTC meeting and caucus tonight is open to ALL registered Democrats in town, (not just current DTC members). Tonight there will be a meeting, and then a slate of candidates for the DTC will be nominated and voted upon by any registered Democrat in town who chooses to participate tonight. If those nominations are not challenged, that will become the new DTC in March. If the nominations are challenged, then there is a primary in March. So tonight is open to all and Larry encouraged any Democrat to participate. Kirk, I think your misapprehension is very common, and so that's why I wanted to make sure to clear it up. A lot of people think it's all members-only, back room stuff when it comes to local politics. And certainly there is some of that in any town. But for people who do want to get involved, tonight is a great time to check out how this stuff works. If you are a registered Democrat, show up and have your say.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 09:48 AM
I'm calling to check with Phil, but I think the article he wrote above is pretty clear ... " This is your chance to make things happen. Instead of sitting on the sidelines and wondering how the process works or worse yet, complaining about it, you can make changes for the better if you don’t like how the town or party is run. You are invited to participate. Call or contact me through our web site at www.clintongop.org by using the “Contact” Tab. We are seeking a mix of people to include younger family people who are active in the community or want to become active. You may even want to run for office some day. Let us hear from you."
Kirk Carr January 09, 2014 at 09:57 AM
He is looking for volunteers for appointed boards like Design Review that has had vacancies for months. But people should not expect to vote in the caucus. Only current party COMMITTEE members can vote in the caucus.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 09:58 AM
OK, I see ... I have a call in to him to make sure we get this right. Thanks for asking.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 10:00 AM
I'm just going back to the article he wrote and he wrote ... " A caucus is a meeting and any registered Republican can attend, speak, vote and be nominated for the Town Committee."
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Still, have a phone call and an email in to him to make sure that is correct.
Pem McNerney (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Just heard back. The caucus is open to all registered Republicans, who are welcome to discuss, nominate and vote for the new Republican Town Committee.
Phil Sengle January 09, 2014 at 02:55 PM
The postings here boarder on the unbelievable. Most are wrong. I hope it's not part of a deliberate misinformation campaign. Any registered Republican can participate in our caucus. Why else would I publicize the meeting. I did not publicize just to solicit volunteers for boards and commissions as important as that is. BTW, both parties are in need of them now. As far as Cimino's post goes; as long as Clinton First exists, they will insure the Democrats (and WF) stay in control of town hall for the foreseeable future. I thought that is their obvious if not stated purpose. That will be proved as fact in subsequent elections. We now have exhibit #1 from last November's election. The claim that they draw from Republicans, Democrats and Independents is true. But you have to ask yourself, in what proportion? An analysis of the results for each office will give you good estimate. I apologize to the readers that I am giving some another excuse to respond.
VIN CIMINO January 09, 2014 at 07:40 PM
Clearly, the most unbelievable posts here are by Phil himself. His continued attempts to explain the most catastrophic defeat in Clinton Republican history on the existence of a new third party confirms that he has learned nothing. Huge RTC campaign postcards mailed out failed to even mention the word "Republican". That's the level of embarrassment Chairman Sengle and the rest of the RTC felt about their organization, yet he continues to blame the Clinton First Party. Take a look at every one of the Clinton First brochures. Not only did they proudly proclaim our party name, they proudly proclaimed our platform as well. No one in his right mind could ever conclude that the Clinton First Party's obvious or stated purpose is to insure the Democrats and Willie Fritz retain office. I understand Sengle intends to step down as chairman of the RTC and the wisdom of that decision is becoming increasingly clearer. "Exhibit 1" from the recent election is that the new Clinton First Party received remarkable support, while support for the Republican Town Committee continues to dwindle. We look forward to the next election. We continue to add new supporters, including in recent days long-time RTC members who have been informed by Sengle that they will not be nominated for membership tonight. Of course, we welcome them and all other residents who are dissatisfied with both major parties. I really do hope that Sengle sees the light soon, discontinues his attacks and concentrates on curing his party's glaring inadequacies.
VIN CIMINO January 09, 2014 at 08:04 PM
Pem, the Democratic Town Committee historically has restricted voting for new committees to DTC members. I confirmed that tonight with a recent committee member. It appears they may have been doing so incorrectly for a long, long time and have recently changed their practice. I have not seen any legal notice of a change of Republican Town Committee rules, which otherwise restrict voting to RTC members. I think the easiest way to confirm this is to ask for the specific language that provides for all registered party members to vote and the date of the change of practice, unless Patch has a current copy of party rules.
Phil Sengle January 10, 2014 at 02:57 PM
I'd like to know when (and why) the Republican Party and myself became the enemy? You have to ask yourself why would anyone attack the Republican Party when the Democrats and Willie Fritz are in control. This poisonous attitude is what turns voters off. Please keep it up! Here is one likely reason for the behavior to attack the party out of power. If your base of support is mainly from Party X members, then it makes sense to bash Party X in hopes of drawing more away. I prefer logic to rants. BTW I am glad to hear of my impending resignation as RTC Chair. That is news to me. Somebody has a bad source. And if the Republican Party is in the dumpster as charged, I wonder why the Chairman of the Board of Education, Police Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals are Republicans. I'm sure someone will tell us. Anyone has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own set of facts. Hey Vin, the audience is gone.
Phil Sengle January 10, 2014 at 03:03 PM
BTW the OPEN Republican Caucus went very well. Had good attendance with several new faces. Anyone could have participated. We were in the Green Room while the other major Party was behind closed doors in the Rose Room. I thank all who attended and look forward to working with the new committee. At our organizational meeting I will run for the Chairmanship again (contrary to false information above). We will work for the betterment of Clinton and will not spend our time on personal attacks and bashing everything in site.
VIN CIMINO January 11, 2014 at 03:32 PM
Once again, Chairman Sengle need not look very far to figure out the genesis of the perception of the Clinton Republican Town Committee. The absurd claim that he knows the "obvious if not stated purpose" why the Clinton First Party was formed, followed by the ridiculous assertion that it is to "insure the Democrats (and WF) stay in control of town hall for the foreseeable future??" As former RTC Steve Bristol correctly explained above, "the goal of the Third Party WAS to remove the current administration but not to replace it with (some of the RTC candidates) who they considered little different from what was already in place." Bravo, Steve. Sengle can try to ignore that the RTC continues to lose votes at an alarming rate. But that ignorance only leads to bizarre conclusions. The reality is that the number of residents dissatisfied with both major parties continues to increase and the Clinton First Party presents a necessary third option. We'll continue to get our message out and build for the next election. If Sengle keeps his word and discontinues his attacking, bashing and bizarre explanations, Party X will be far better off. I'm really looking forward to seeing whether their mailings next election will identify them as the Republican Town Committee or Party X. Only time will tell.

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