Bonnie Reemsnyder deserves another term in Old Lyme

In Old Lyme, the race for first selectman provides voters with a clear difference of opinion as to whether the town should explore regional solutions to meet some of its challenges.

Incumbent Democrat Bonnie Reemsnyder pushed for the Board of Selectmen’s decision to replace the town’s health department with membership in the regional Ledge Light Health District. Her Republican challenger, Judith Danenhower Read, criticized the move at the debate The Day sponsored in Old Lyme, calling it a mistake to cede such authority to an outside entity.

Read also opposes Reemsnyder’s decision to pursue discussions with neighboring East Lyme about the possibility of consolidating police services. Read sees no need to look beyond the current setup, in which a resident state trooper works with a small local constabulary. Yet at the same time, Read has criticized a lack of adequate summer policing in the busy beach communities.

It is no surprise this editorial board, which has long advocated exploring regional opportunities, sides with Reemsnyder. Tapping into the diverse services the regional health district can provide, and saving money in the process, was the right decision. And it would be foolish not to explore the possibility that consolidating police services with East Lyme could better serve the community.

The town’s first selectwoman since 2011, Reemsnyder has demonstrated a pragmatic approach to identifying a challenge and pursuing solutions. In an age of political division, she has appointed bipartisan ad hoc committees to advise the Board of Selectmen on such issues as the plowing of private roads, providing playgrounds and identifying road improvements.

On the touchy issue of addressing groundwater pollution in the densely developed beach communities, Reemsnyder has provided a leadership role as the town seeks to meet the demands of the state while addressing the worries and frustrations of property owners.

This doesn’t mean there haven’t been stumbles, but Reemsnyder has proven persistent in getting her administration back on task when they occur. In response to state environmental requirements, a plan is under development to install sewer service in beach areas.

Reemsnyder also deserves credit for her role in successfully fighting plans by the Federal Railroad Administration to build a high-speed bypass through the heart of her town.

The Day’s endorsement in the race for first selectman of Old Lyme goes to Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

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