We can only hope.
Back in January, I posted this article about Greg Kraut.
If you missed it, it was about a guy running for an unpaid office who wanted to attack and resolve some major issues in his town: a full stop sign, a new sidewalk, and noise from a transfer station.
Now he’s running to represent his town in Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, home to the Legislature and the source, he will tell you, of the state’s and town’s economic and demographic problems.
Tip O’Neill once said that “all politics is local.”
This race might be a test of that nostrum.
Greg Kraut moved his family from New York to Westport for the schools and his grade school age kids, the smooth commute to Manhattan, and the fair taxes for what he and his family would get from the town of Westport and the state.
Once settled, rather than move as so many residents and companies have done in the face of tax increases and threatened reductions of services including train schedules, he chose to stand up and offer solutions to the town’s and state’s fiscal problems even as he worked last year to get a full stop sign.
His race reminded me of William F. Buckley’s now forgotten book, Four Reforms.
Buckley thought the time (1973) was so filled with pessimism about war, the Presidency, the Mayoralty, that focusing on solving a few issues was the way to achieve some peace in one’s own time. Solving even one could bring a wave of optimism, the “ism” no one anywhere ever campaigns against.
But Buckley’s solutions, as chapters in a book, were abstractions. Greg Kraut, his family, his home, his town are for real.
He is running as a Republican in a Democrat stronghold against a Dem incumbent. He also got the endorsement of the Independent Party. He began his campaign with this non-partisan observation:
“One score and five years ago, Connecticut had no state income tax, a very pro-business atmosphere, and a stable revenue stream from its sales tax. Businesses and corporate headquarters were relocating here.
Then, our Governor and the Legislature imposed a personal income tax for the first time in the state’s history. Typical of ambitious politicians, he ran against it during his election campaign.”
That was non-partisan? Yes. The tax-raising Governor in question was of the party and line Kraut’s now running on, you know the old tax-cutting GOP.
Kraut went on:
“As it always is with income taxes, the Connecticut income tax was, at first, a flat rate of 4.5 percent. But as the number of tax brackets expanded to seven, the top rate jumped to 6.99 percent. Only politicians would think that we voters regard 6.99 any different from 7 percent. By 2013, Connecticut had the second-highest income tax per capita, at $2,161.”
From afar (Manhattan), my naivete thought this contest would result in a good civic discussion of local and state issues and end with a resolve by both of the candidates to lead in fixing what ails a now suffering state and community.
We will see.
Part II of this blog subject next week in which Kraut finds out what politics is all about.
Tom Messner worked forever in advertising. In politics, he avoided the predictable negative bent and did positive ads for Reagan in 1984 and for Bush in 1988 along with Bush’s convention film. The agency he co-founded created NASDAQ’s first branding, Volvo’s comeback, and Fox News’s "We Report. You Decide." Then learning from the pols he partnered with (Roger Ailes in particular), they brought attack ads to such formerly benign areas such as telecom (MCI). At 73, he’s doing two things he never did before: Blogging here on wildly unconnected subjects coming on the heels of last year’s adventure: the writing of his first play, a musical "Dogs" destined now for either Broadway or The Pound. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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