To the Editor:

On behalf of the Democratic Town Committee, I am encouraging all eligible citizens to vote for the budget May 15.

This is your opportunity to be heard, to take ownership in the business of New Milford’s government, and to exercise one of your most valuable rights granted in the United States Constitution.

For the benefit of our beautiful New England Town, I encourage you to vote “yes” for both the school and town budgets.

A “yes” vote will keep our town moving forward, despite the cuts in funding from the State of Connecticut. Continuing to build upon the progress of the last few years will ensure a brighter future for all citizens of New Milford.

Some of you may ask why the Democratic Town Committee and I would publicly support this budget. After all, this budget does not fully represent many of the values Democrats hold dear.

So why are we taking a “public” stand? Because to this point, the newly elected Republican Mayor and other Republican elected officials have remained silent.

Silence is not a new strategy for lack of leadership by New Milford’s elected Republicans. Instead, they defer to others to make negative public statements, whether it be in this newspaper or via social media.

Silence is not representative of leadership. Silence is not taking ownership of a budget crafted 100 percent by Republican hands. Silence appears more like playing politics than supporting our town. Silence suggests your elected leadership does not support their own budget.

Why would Republicans remain silent about the budget? The tax increase to support this budget is exactly the same as put forward by Mayor Bass on Feb. 20. It is also exactly the same as the Republican Town Council approved on March 9, and exactly the same as approved by the Republican Board of Finance on April 11.

If the tax increase is exactly the same after approval from three Republican lead entities, why are elected Republicans - especially the mayor - not publicly supporting “their budget?”

Democrats will not demand a public statement about this budget from New Milford’s Republican elected officials. But you, the citizens of New Milford, should expect more from those who asked for your vote. Silence is not golden from elected officials regarding a $100 million budget.

I am not afraid to take a public stand for New Milford. Please vote on May 15, and vote “yes” for your town.

Mary Jane Lundgren

Chairwoman

New Milford Democratic Town Committee