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Groton voters should reject the GOP town chairman, too

Groton Democrats, voting in a Town Council party primary in September, rejected the candidacy of the chairman of the Democratic town committee, Conrad Heede, who finished last.

By not granting Heede, an incumbent councilor, a place on the November ballot, voters seemed to be rejecting the chairman's prominent role in choosing an unqualified and unvetted developer for the Mystic Oral School project.

Portia Bordelon, the incumbent councilor who finally opposed the Oral School plans, was the top vote-getter in the primary, which she forced after being denied nomination for reelection by her party.

I hope town voters continue to express their displeasure with the way the all-Democratic council botched the Oral School development process and then went mum on explaining how the town ended up involved with someone who pleaded guilty in New York to bribing public officials.

Some of that voter messaging to Democrats should include electing Republicans and creating bipartisan checks and balances. I hope, though, that voters reject the council bid of John Scott, the Republican town chairman, a flawed candidate who shouldn't be able to simply ride dissatisfaction with Democrats to win a seat on the town's governing board.

Voters for good reason rejected Scott in the last two election cycles in which he sought to regain the seat in the General Assembly, which he held for one term.

In his initial 2016 bid for reelection, I believe voters smartly punished Scott for the outrageous beginning of his first term in the General Assembly, in which he baldly used his new office in a way that could have enriched himself.

Scott, then the owner of an insurance agency, introduced a bill that could have benefited his business, which was contracted to provide insurance coverage to University of Connecticut students. Scott's bill, which was killed, would have prevented students from opting out of insurance coverage if they qualified under low-income guidelines for state Medicaid coverage.

The fewer students covered by the school plan, the less Scott's firm could make from student fees.

After losing his reelection bid in 2016, Scott made another run for the seat in 2018. He lost that race after a story surfaced that he was being sued by the Groton landlord of his business because, the lawsuit said, he had stopped in April of that year making the rent payments of more than $3,000 a month.

So those were pretty easy calls for voters to reject Scott in 2016 and 2018.

It should be even easier this year, given the GOP chairman's criticism of Town Councilor Aundré Bumgardner, who suggested — after candidate President Donald Trump, in the debate for his 2020 reelection campaign, told the white supremacist Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" — that it would be racist to vote for Trump.

Scott, who said Trump's comments on the Proud Boys were taken out of context, went on to continue to harshly and publicly attack Bumgardner, a person of color, for, among other things, what he called a failure of integrity. That's rich, coming from someone who, in one of his first acts as a legislator, tried to pass a law that could help his own business.

You don't have to look much beyond the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to see which Groton politician was right and who was wrong about Trump and the Proud Boys.

I have a lot of faith in Groton voters, and I hope that this election season will bring a full bipartisan rout of the two party chairmen in town.

And if Scott loses his third race in a row, he ought to, as the Democratic chairman should, listen to voters and resign his leadership position with the party.

This should be a cathartic election for Groton voters, with a fresh start and new leaders for both parties.

This is the opinion of David Collins


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