November 6, 2007
Jean de Smet at (860)456-2188
New Leader Seeks To Engage The Community In 'weaving A New Windham'
Windham, CT - The people of Windham, Conn., elected Green Party member Jean de Smet as their new first selectman tonight.
"The 'bottom line' is that Windham has risen above partisanship and politics-as-usual," de Smet said in her acceptance speech. "Tonight from the Thread City, we begin to weave a new Windham together. I want to thank the people of Windham – the voters who elected me. I am grateful for the faith that you have shown in my leadership and my vision."
De Smet was elected as a candidate on the Bottom Line slate, which is a nonpartisan group of petitioning candidates running for most positions in this Windham election. "I want to thank my fellow candidates on the Bottom Line slate," de Smet told her colleagues. "Thank you for your wisdom to see a bigger picture, for your courage in putting partisanship aside and for your willingness to work together."
Picking up on Windham's history as a thread-mill town, de Smet described the many different "threads" – in society, economics, education, politics, sustainability, and creativity – that she will bring together to "weave a new Windham."
"This election is about the future of Windham," de Smet told her supporters tonight. "We are going to listen to what the community wants. We are going to involve those not yet engaged. We are going to build on our community's strengths and on what's working. And – you better believe it – this Town is going to be a proactive participant with the community in working together on common goals."
De Smet's recent contributions to Windham have been as founder and coordinator of the 3rd Thursday Streetfests, which are held on Willimantic's Main Street on the third Thursday of each month from May to October. The Streetfests bring together thousands of people from Windham and beyond to engage the full diversity of the community, to share food and music, and to positively change the public perception of Windham.
De Smet described the monthly success of the Streetfests as something she wants to see happening everyday in Windham. "At 3rd Thursday, we see Windham's best assets, our best diversity, and our best talents shine," she said. "Each month, 3rd Thursday connects people. It connects neighbors to neighbors; Windham to the broader region; performers to the public; residents to local businesses and nonprofits; and the political right and the political left with the full spectrum of political views. As first selectman, I will connect people and ideas every day so that our community thrives and flourishes."
From her downtown Willimantic headquarters, de Smet congratulated her opponents, incumbent Democrat Michael Paulhus and Republican Harry Carboni, for engaging their time and energy in the democratic process. She also thanked Paulhus for his service to Windham and the contributions that he made to this community. "I look forward to working with him for a smooth transition in the coming days," she added.
After taking office on November 20 and through the end of the year, de Smet said she will be meeting with Town department heads as part of the transition process. "In the new year, we'll begin to implement our community agenda for weaving a new Windham," she said. "I look forward to delivering results, in collaboration with you the community of Windham. Together, let's imagine what might be."
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