Category Archives: Hot Topics

SDTC and its endorsed candidates share their goals and ideas…

Taking Stock—Accomplishments with Don Lowe as First Selectman—Through Feb 14, 2022

As Sherman enters the fourth year with Don Lowe as First Selectman, it’s gratifying to appreciate what he and the town have accomplished together. Here’s a list of 37 of the more noticeable items.

Taxes and Finances

  1. Taxes have decreased more than 8% during Don’s first 4 years
  2. Surplus and capital fund and Happy Acres restricted Fund all significantly bolstered
  3. After complicated negotiations, we added Sprint/T-Mobile as a carrier and gave Sherman a $26,000 increase in yearly revenue
  4. Offered property tax relief to disabled Sherman Veterans
  5. Chose a better investment company for Town employees

Happy Acres

  1. Happy Acres Farm is now properly managed and, finally, is once again a working farm and a place that Sherman can be proud of calling its own
  2. Repaired, resurfaced, and repainted the Happy Acres barn and house.

Public Works including Roads and Public Facilities

  1. Purchased several new implements for Public Works
  2. Veterans Field Bathrooms are fixed and working.
  3. Re-surfaced Town Beach Pavilion
  4. Fox Run detention basin project, the longest-running agenda item in Sherman history (14 years) was completed in Don’s first year
  5. Strong and active response to blocked roads and power outages from storms
  6. For the first time ever, Mallory Town Hall has been provided a generator for power outages; Public Works has been provided with a new generator
  7. After 25 years of requests,  the BOS installed ADA compliant entrances into Mallory Town Hall
  8. Paved the Town/Trinity Church road
  9. Solved several longstanding drainage issues on Town roads including Hardscrabble Road, Fox Run, and Taber Road
  10. Improved the face and landscaping at Mallory Town Hall
  11. Helping the Sherman School move forward with capital repairs and a phased modernization plan
  12. Better relationship with State partners resulting in Route 39 S being paved and Route 39 N chip sealed.

ESF and Charter Hall Improvements

  1. Drilled a new well for the Sherman ESF Building/Charter Hall and solved several longstanding water issues there.
  2. Fixed venting system and improved air safety in the garage bays at the ESF building
  3. Repaired the floor in Charter Hall
  4. As promised, there is a far more effective ESF/Charter Hall maintenance plan in effect

Public Health, Safety, and Emergency Response

  1. Strong and active response to the Covid-19 pandemic
  2. Formed an Emergency Response Team that meets regularly and continues to improve services during storms, blocked roads, and power outages.
  3. Formed a CERT TEAM (Citizen Emergency Response Team) – first time ever in Sherman.
  4. Surveillance cameras at Town parks for better safety
  5. Increased traffic safety awareness
  6. After complicated negotiations, we added Sprint/T-Mobile as a carrier and gave Sherman a $26,000 increase in yearly revenue
  7. As promised, the coordination between Town agencies is greatly improved
  8. Park and Rec programming has been expanded to include more programs for adults
  9. Increased tree cutting and removal

Improvements to Quality of Life

  1. Secured a state grant to improve the Sherman Scout House
  2. Provided water for the community gardeners
  3. Better relationship between Town and Eversource and Charter cable
  4. Added more kayak space
  5. Made recycling stickers free
  6. Offered tuition waiver for pre-school parents who suffer financial hardship
  7. More attention to Candlewood Lake quality-of-life and a stronger more vital Candlewood Lake Authority


The Current State Senator for Our New District Will Retire

The SDTC has had a close relationship with our State Senator Julie Kushner (D) who represents the 24th Senate District which includes New Fairfield and Danbury.
The 2020 Census has shown Danbury to increase in population. Therefore, the CT Legislature has all but ratified moving Sherman into another senate district, District 30. Sadly, effective Jan 1, 2023, we will leave Senator Julie and join 13 towns — including New Milford, Sherman, Kent, and parts of New Fairfield. Sherman will vote in Nov 2022 for a Senator to represent that district.
Currently Senator Craig Minor (R) leads that district. Although he also serves as the chief deputy Senate Republican leader, Sen. Miner will not seek reelection in November.
State Rep. Stephen Harding, a four-term Republican from Brookfield who is the top GOP House member of the Environment Committee, is expected to seek the nomination to succeed Miner.
As of mid-January, Sen Kushner knows of no Democrat who is expected to run. If you know someone or are interested yourself, please email
We remain in District 108 (for the State House of Representatives) which will expand more eastward into New Milford and extend into Danbury differently.
We are currently working on our next newsletter which will feature a wide-ranging interview with First Selectman Don Lowe. Any other ideas or contributions to that newsletter are welcome.

Danbury’s superintendent makes $20 per student. Sherman’s makes $887 per student. Here’s why

June 12, 2021 Updated: June 12, 2021 9:58 p.m.
Written by
Photo of Julia Perkins

Experience, performance and their community’s affluence are among the factors local school boards consider as they set their superintendents’ salaries.

Superintendent average compensation in Fairfield County is higher than in other parts of the state, a Hearst Connecticut Media analysis found. The highest salaries are in southwestern Connecticut.

“But we also have to realize that property is much more expensive in that end of the state, so it costs more for living expenses, etc,” said Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

“It is also a municipality’s ability to pay, which goes into property taxes and all of that,” she added. “It really is dependent on the wealth of the community.”

School board chairs and other officials said they thought the superintendent salaries in their communities were fair.

“It’s fairly compensated,” said Peggy Katkocin, New Fairfield’s school board chair. “I know we walk a delicate line because it’s taxpayer money.”

Superintendents sometimes get various perks. For example, in Bethel, Superintendent Christine Carver received a $10,000 stipend upon the completion of the renovations to Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools.

Rabinowitz said she’s seen that in other districts.

“A superintendent spends an incredible amount of time outside of the normal duties of a superintendent working on a renovation project,” she said.

To become a superintendent, educators must complete a certification program approved by the Connecticut Board of Education. A doctorate degree is not required, but many districts pay more if the superintendent has a Ph.D.

“There is high demand for top quality superintendents, so the wages clearly reflect that,” Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton said. “For a school district like Redding, we want in a superintendent one of the best educators in the state and even the nation.”

Superintendents in Danbury, Brookfield, Bethel, Ridgefield, New Fairfield, Newtown, Sherman, and Easton, Redding and Region 9 have doctorate degrees.

“You need to get really qualified people who are not only good educators, but good administrators and incredibly good communicators to do these jobs,” Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn said.

Pay per student

The pay per student varies greatly in the Danbury area, with Sherman’s Superintendent-Principal Jeff Melendez earning about $887 per student, compared to the around $20 per student that Danbury Superintendent Sal Pascarella gets.

More Information

Superintendent pay per student

Sherman: $887.42

Region 12: $298.59

New Fairfield: $107.94

Brookfield: $93.73

Region 9: $90.04

Bethel: $75.26

Region 15: $67.03

Ridgefield: $57.95

Newtown: $54.45

New Milford: $52.08*

Danbury: $20.10

Per a Hearst Connecticut Media analysis of 153 superintendent contracts in the state

*This figure reflects the superintendent’s salary when she was the interim leader

Danbury area superintendent salaries

Ridgefield Susie Da Silva: $264,000 (No. 11 in the state)

Brookfield John Barile: $240,240 (No. 21 in the state)

Danbury Sal Pasarella: $237,874 (No. 23 in state)

Region 15 Josh Smith: $235,487 (No. 27 in state)

Bethel Christine Carver: $232,492 (No. 29 in state)

New Fairfield Pat Cosentino: $230,125 (No. 31 in state)

Easton, Redding, Region 9 Rydell Harrison: $225,000 (No. 34 in state)

Sherman Jeffrey Melendez: $223,631 (No. 35 in state)

Newtown Lorrie Rodrigue: $220,692 (No. 39 in state)

Region 12 Megan Bennett: $205,428 (No. 55 in the state)

New Milford Alisha DiCorpo: $194,400* (No. 85 in the state)

Per a Hearst Connecticut Media analysis of 153 superintendent contracts in the state

*This figure reflects the superintendent’s salary when she was the interim leader

The salary for Danbury’s superintendent appears “quite low given the number of students that there are and the number of challenges,” Rabinowitz said.

Superintendents still have many of the same responsibilities, regardless of district size, Rabinowitz said. Most superintendents work at least 60 hours a week, she said.

“The work is the work,” said Christine Carver, superintendent in Bethel who makes about $232,000 and runs a district of around 3,000 students. “It doesn’t matter if you have 18,000 students or 3,100 students.”

But she noted urban districts have a “tremendous amount of increased needs.”

Dunn said he was initially surprised superintendents in bigger districts like Bridgeport or Hartford didn’t earn two to three times Brookfield’s superintendent. John Barile earns about $240,000, which is almost $94 per student.

But Dunn said he realized smaller towns “have the capability to attract really qualified people.”

“To do that, you’ve got to pay more money,” he said.

He said Barile’s salary is fair.

“I don’t think we should be paying ours less,” Dunn said. “I think Hartford should be paying more.”

Barile has done a “superb” job in Brookfield and recently signed another three-year contract, Dunn said.

“I don’t see these as out of place,” Dunn said. “These salaries are what they should be.”

Superintendent Pat Cosentino earns about $230,000 to run the about 2,000-student New Fairfield school system, while Rydell Harrison gets $225,000 from the 2,500-student district of Easton, Redding and Region 9.

Newtown’s Lorrie Rodrigue makes less than $221,000 in the around 4,000-student district.

Megan Bennett earns about $205,000 running the 688-student Region 12, which serves Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington. She said she has a smaller office staff than larger districts.

“You’re doing more roles in a smaller district,” she said.

Alisha DiCorpo, who became New Milford’s superintendent in February, earned about $194,000 running the about 3,700-student district when she was interim superintendent. A contract signed in March put her salary at $202,000, with an additional $2,000 annuity.

“You really cant compare one superintendency to another,” said Greg Cava, chair of the Region 12 school board. “No. 1, they are different levels of experience. No 2, they are different levels of taxation expectations. No. 3, they have different jobs. Superintendents in Connecticut do different things from town to town.”

School budgets in Region 12 have stayed fairly consistent over the years, Cava said.

“I don’t think anyone is saying we can’t pay the superintendent X dollars because the taxpayers won’t stand for it,” he said.

Factors in pay

New Fairfield looks at the superintendent’s ability to lead and engage with the community, as well as how she has met her goals and how students rank academically against other schools in the state, among other factors in setting the salary, Katkocin said.

“Unfortunately, I think sometime people think you should only evaluate superintendents on whether they make everyone happy,” she said. “That’s impossible for any leader anywhere.”

In Newtown, the board considers the superintendent’s performance and local and general economic factors, said Michelle Ku, school board chair.

“It’s also what the community supported in terms of a budget increase when they came out and voted,” she said.

Typically, the Newtown school board does not have information about what other districts pay, she said.

When Region 12 hires a new superintendent, the school board examines the candidate’s experience, market factors and what the board is trying to accomplish, Cava said. Raises for existing superintendents are based on how he or she fulfilled previously set goals.

“This is not something where you sit down and check off a box and do an evaluation,” he said. “It’s a little bit more subjective than that.”

Student achievement may be one of those goals in districts, but it doesn’t play a large role in the superintendent’s compensation, he said.

“I don’t think people pay a superintendent because they achieve a certain level of testing, unless there were some huge deficiency you were trying to correct,” Cava said. “That’s not a factor here.”

District size and the superintendent’s background is considered in New Fairfield, too, Katkocin said.

“You certainly wouldn’t pay a brand new superintendent what you would with a superintendent with more experience,” she said.

The way superintendents managed the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be another factor, Katkocin said.

“I’m sure every Board of Education is looking at how their superintendents functioned in this very difficult year,” she said.

Attracting strong candidates to tough job

The average tenure of a superintendent in Connecticut is four years, Rabinowitz has said.

That’s not good because the “quality of education suffers” when there is superintendent turnover, said First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton, a former member of the Region 9 school board.

“I’m not concerned about super salaries per se,” she said. “What I am concerned about is that our superintendents are being put in positions that lead to them leaving their jobs and going elsewhere. I think we see that around Fairfield County, it is like musical chairs.”

Social media has made superintendents’ jobs harder, and parents expect to have constant access to the superintendent, Pemberton said.

“You’re doing the job of public relations and you’re also the educator in chief of the community,” she said. “Those barriers have fallen. That’s a good thing, but I think our superintendents in many districts become overworked.”

Superintendents are responsible for everything in their district and are always on call, officials said.

“Any time there is an incident in their school, any time a fire alarm goes off, everything falls on the superintendent’s desk,” Katkocin said. “They need to answer to everything.”

Superintendents have advanced degrees, are experts in their fields and manage a “complex system,” Carver said.

“There are some people who still think I don’t work during the summer,” she said. “When I tell you it’s 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job, you can just talk to my husband. I rarely take a vacation where I don’t have to be constantly responding to things.”

Julia Perkins has been a reporter with The News-Times since June 2016 and covers the towns of Bethel and Brookfield. She also has covered breaking news for Hearst Connecticut on weekend mornings. Graduating from Quinnipiac University in 2016, she served as the editor-in-chief of The Quinnipiac Chronicle, the weekly, student-run newspaper. She is a huge “Harry Potter” fan.

Campaign Kickoff to Re-Elect State Senator Julie Kushner at Mark Weber’s House, 1 – 3 p.m. Sunday, January 26

Former SDTC Chairman Mark Weber and Current SDTC Chair David Silvay are co-hosting this kickoff party.

David writes “Since 2018, I’ve had a front seat view of how hard she has worked as our State representative addressing the issues that face Danbury, Sherman, New Fairfield, and Bethel.Julie has been tireless in her efforts to connect to her constituents. Passing paid family leave, fighting for working families, mandating air quality monitoring, and bringing millions of dollars in funding back to the 24th district are only a part of her successes as a first-term Senator. Check out her Facebook page here..

It’s important to start the campaign with a lot of momentum — and a lot of support.  Joining us on Sunday, January 26th will help us to start strong! ”

The Kick Off party will also be an opportunity to help Julie meet her goal to qualify for a public grant to finance her re-election.  Every contribution helps — the minimum contribution is $5, the maximum is $250.

Please RSVP to David by clicking here

Can’t attend but you would like to support the campaign?  Go to her secure donation screen by clicking here..


Sherman Democratic Town Committee Newsletter 07/23/2019




Welcome to the newsletter of the Sherman Democratic Town Committee, particularly to our new subscribers. Our goal is to share with local Democrats news and resources to help us stay involved for positive change on a state and local level. We are committed to working for and with the citizens of Sherman to promote issues, initiatives, and candidates that will make Sherman a better place to live and work.

Upcoming Event:
2019 Sherman House and Garden Tour

URGENT: Need for tour destinations. 

Please send any ideas and suggestions for homes or gardens that might be added to our tour, to

Saturday September 21, 10 am – 1 pm

This self-guided tour affords one-day-only access to several of the region’s most magnificent private residences and their gardens. Ticket holders will receive a program that describes what to expect at each home, along with addresses. In past years, the Sherman House & Garden Tour has featured lakeside estates, historically significant homes, working farms and horse properties, and Sherman’s most architecturally stunning abodes.

A party with refreshments will take place after the tour.

The Sherman House & Garden Tour is sponsored by the Sherman Democratic Town Committee. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Guido Tino Scholarship Fund.

Tickets will be available at local retailers later this summer.

From Our First Selectman to our Readers

Whew….where has the time gone! These first 18 months blew by and it will already be election time in 4 months.  I will be running again and there’s a lot of good stuff to run on. This second year of being First Selectman has been particularly busy and a lot has been accomplished.

I promised all through my campaign to lead a fiscally responsible effort and that’s been accomplished. This year we actually lowered taxes by 2.5% without cutting services and still added extra dollars to our capital fund.  (The previous year we kept the budget flat.)

In response to the high salts and chlorides that’s been in the town’s well water, we continue to make progress on putting potable water from Town wells into Town buildings. Through research and action we are going to achieve it this year.

Just this last week we installed an air monitor to measure baseline air quality in preparation of the Cricket Valley Power Plant starting up. After the plant opens for business, we will continue measuring and make a comparison to see if our Sherman air quality is adversely affected.

Throughout my term I have tried as hard as I possibly can to be responsive to the day-to-day needs of our citizens. Along the way, I have directed traffic, weed whacked grass for better sight-lines, hauled dead animals out of yards and driveways, and even chased cows a couple of times.  Our Town entities are better coordinated now, our Town employees are working well together, and it all makes for more efficient and effective services for our citizens. In addition, many people have remarked to me that they appreciate the town having a less “political” feel to it. If I helped in any of that good vibe, then I am pleased. Through NIXLE and social media I have done my best to communicate emergencies and other sudden public announcements concerning the health and well-being of Sherman residents. Not only has our Housing Commission been reinvigorated, but other boards and commissions are robust with wonderful volunteers who donate their valuable time to make Sherman the wonderful place it is to live.

I have continued to try and find ways to better serve the Sherman Senior citizens by increasing the budget for them and also by trying to find a new space for the Senior Center. But this remains a challenge. Another challenge will be to re-imagine Happy Acres Farm. I have already put the wheels into action on that and by the fall there should be a tangible plan on how to go forward.  In the meantime, we are painting both the house and barn, and making essential repairs on the barn.

All of the accomplishments that I have listed are the result of teamwork with Sherman citizens of all parties, ages, and social structures involved. If there’s one thing that I can truly lay claim to is that I am pretty good at getting folks to work together for the good of the Town.  This job has been the honor of my life!

The Newsletter Interviews State Senator Kushner

Just one year ago, the Newsletter pointed out the significance of the November 2018 election. The deadlock in the State Senate had blocked significant action on many important issues and our then-State Senator, Michael McLaughlin, had voted against such initiatives as the Family Leave Bill and an increase in the State minimum wage.

How times have changed!

Just after the close of the 2020 legislative session, the Newsletter interviewed our new State Senator, Democrat Julie Kushner.  Kushner told us of her experiences in the new Democratic-majority State Senate.

Much was Accomplished.

We got so much done,” Julie exulted. For starters, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed her signature issue, the nation’s most generous family leave policy. As Chair of the Senate’s Labor & Public Employees Committee, Julie took the lead in shepherding the bill through the legislature and getting the Governor’s approval. The act gives workers twelve weeks of paid leave (at 95 percent of their pay, up to $900 a week) to care for a newborn or a newly adopted baby or to deal with an illness in a loved one.

Julie also played a central role in passing an increase in the Minimum Wage. The new law increases the minimum wage in Connecticut from its current $10.10 per hour to $15.00 per hour. This fall the rate will go to $11.00 per hour. Then, in a series of steps, it will rise to $15.00 in June 2023. Thereafter, the state minimum wage will be pegged to the U.S. Department of Labor’s employment cost index to take future inflation into account. The Connecticut Department of Labor estimates that these increases will raise wages for approximately 130,000 Connecticut workers this year and more than half a million by 2024.

Julie also expressed pride in two other sets of laws. The “Trust Act” prohibits Connecticut law enforcement from turning over undocumented immigrants to federal immigration officials unless Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has obtained a warrant signed by a judge, the person is guilty of a serious felony, or the person is on a terrorist watch list. And the legislature passed three new gun laws: “Ethan’s Law” requires both loaded and unloaded firearms to be safely stored in homes where there are minors under age 18.  Another law prohibits storing a pistol in an unattended vehicle unless it is in a locked glove box, or a locked safe. A third prohibits the manufacture of “ghost guns,” guns created (sometimes using 3-D printers) without a serial number and plastic guns that can pass through security measures.


Despite the legislative session being remarkably successful, Julie lamented the failure to act on health care issues. The “Connecticut Option” would have created a public health insurance option for small businesses and non-profits, provided for additional subsidies for low- and middle-income residents, beyond those authorized by the Affordable Care Act. It collapsed in the face of heavy opposition from the private health insurance companies, including CIGNA, who reportedly threatened to leave the state if the bill was passed, costing thousands of jobs. This, despite the fact that CIGNA has received millions of dollars in State of Connecticut grants and state and local tax credits for creating jobs, while continuing to shrink the size of its Connecticut workforce, and despite the fact that CIGNA has stopped selling coverage directly to individuals and families in the state, while earning $21.5 billion in profits over the last ten years.   “We shouldn’t have to choose between helping hundreds of thousands of Connecticut citizens and protecting jobs,” said Julie.

Julie was also disappointed by the lack of progress on moving towards a more progressive tax structure. “There is not enough revenue to address the big issues Connecticut faces,” said Julie. “We need a focus on shifting taxes to the super wealthy, going forward.”

Many Constituencies Shape a Bill.

At a more personal level, Julie told us that she hadn’t anticipated how complicated it is to pass legislation. Her familiarity with contracts and negotiations and with labor conditions, gained through long years as a UAW official, helped her see her way through the complex process. But in labor negotiations, she noted, there are just two parties – the workers and the management. In passing a bill, there are many. A bill has to be formulated; details must be worked out with many individual members and caucuses in the legislature. The support of advocates has to be ensured; push-back from Republicans and hesitancy on the part of the Governor has to be resisted. Finally, the bill must be brought to the Senate. But “I like puzzles and challenges,” said Julie. “It’s exciting to be able to keep the pieces in place until it becomes a law.”

Her experience confirmed “what I have said for years,” Julie told us. “It’s not drafting the legislation that’s the big challenge, but having people advocating and building movements over many years. Large coalitions worked for years on family leave and on increasing the minimum wage. The passage of the bills would not have been possible without that.”

Looking towards 2021

Julie is already thinking about the next session of the legislature, which convenes in February 2020. The even-year sessions of the legislature can only consider non-budget items, but she is already thinking about how to work on health care and taxation. For instance, she hopes that a commission on progressive taxation can be formed, so as to lay the groundwork for action in 2021. Identifying coalitions to support action and finding potential allies are key.

Meanwhile, her schedule of events were filled through June. And then a long-awaited vacation!

To contact Julie,visit her site by clicking here. Or call her legislative assistant, Javier Smith, at 860-240-0509, or 1-800-842-1420. To sign up for Julie’s e-newsletter, click here.

Days above 90 degrees: from 10 to 40?

Heat Buckled Highway 

Increases in potentially lethal heat driven by climate change will affect every state, including Connecticut, in the decades ahead, according to a July 16, 2019 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The report found that historically, Connecticut has averaged about 10 days per year with a heat index above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. That would increase to 40 days per year on average by 2050 if no action is taken to reduce heat-trapping emissions. The days with a heat index above 100 degrees Fahrenheit would increase to 13 per year on average and CT’s larger cities would experience the highest frequency of these days.The heat index is what we feel the temperature to be when we factor in relative humidity.

Heat cramps, caused by the loss of body salts and fluids during sweating, can be painful. Heat exhaustion is how the body responds to loss of water and fluids from heavy sweating. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst, and heavy sweating. The most serious is heat stroke, which happens when the body gets so hot it cannot regulate its core temperature. People going into a heat stroke stop sweating, so their bodies cannot get rid of the excess heat,  Chart below is from *1  and indicates four heat index ranges with their corresponding physiological problems.

On Saturday, July 20th, Danbury reported a record high heat index of 105 degrees.

Tracy Babbidge, who works in the air control division of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), said the study serves as a “good reminder for us to review that we are doing everything we can and should be doing to deal with the issues of climate change and reducing emissions.”  Current climate change is mostly caused by the fossil fuel emissions that increase atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Note that “Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.”

Babbidge said that Connecticut is enrolled in the Global Warming Solutions Act, which many refer to as Connecticut’s central climate commitment. It requires the state to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions to at least 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and to at least 80% below 2001 levels by 2050.

The number of high heat-index days was calculated by averaging projections from 18 high-resolution climate models between April and October. The report looked at these conditions for three possible futures.

The “no action scenario” assumes carbon emissions continue to rise and the global average temperature increases nearly 8 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by century’s end.

The “slow action scenario” assumes carbon emissions start declining at mid century and the global average temperature rises 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit by century’s end. In the “rapid action scenario,” global average warming is limited to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit — in line with the Paris Agreement.

The report states if the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement is met and future global average warming is limited to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, by late century the United States would see half the number of days per year, on average, with a heat index above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and almost 115 million fewer people would experience the equivalent of a week or more of “off-the-charts” heat days.

Connecticut is a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump declared his intention to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. The U.S. can’t exit the agreement until Nov. 2020, the day after the next presidential election.

Editor’s note: Sections of this article were from a scientific blog  and an article in the CT News Junkie.
*1 – Click here to see additional weather bio-indices. 

Upcoming Sherman Events

Sherman Dems Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, July 24th, 2019, 7:30 pm
Sherman Senior Center
8 CT-37, Sherman

Sherman Board of Selectman Meeting
Thursday, July 25th, 2019, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Mallory Town Hall Meeting Room
9 Rt 39 North, Sherman
To see the town calendar, click here

2019 Sherman House and Garden Tour
Saturday September 21, 2019 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Details forthcoming

Important Links

Donate to the SDTC

Sherman Democratic Town Committee Facebook

About Us

We are an organization of inclusion, not exclusion. We have a longstanding history of attracting both Democratic and unaffiliated voters and endorsing both Democratic and unaffiliated candidates. We work to represent the wide variety of Sherman citizens who hold many different viewpoints and opinions.

Paid for by the Sherman Democratic Town Committee, Bob Gamper Treasurer

Sherman Democratic Town Committee Newsletter 03/11/2019




Welcome to the newsletter of the Sherman Democratic Town Committee, particularly to our new subscribers. Our goal is to share with local Democrats news and resources to help us stay involved for positive change on a state and local level. We are committed to working for and with the citizens of Sherman to promote issues, initiatives, and candidates that will make Sherman a better place to live and work.

Upcoming Event: The Second Community Conversation

Sherman Firehouse’s Charter Hall
Saturday March 16, 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Meet with our newly elected State Senator Julie Kushner to learn about pending State Senate action on paid family leave, raising the minimum wage, tax reform, supporting quality schools, protecting the lake and Sherman’s air quality, and other issues. Continue the discussion began in January at the Senator’s First Sherman Conversation..

Shermanites with all political viewpoints are welcome.

Bring your questions and concerns.

The First Community Conversation with State Senator Kushner—Highlights

On Jan 26th, our new State Senator Julie Kushner held her first “Community Conversation” with Sherman area residents at Charter Hall. Chaired by long-time SDTC member Barbara Ireland, all Shermanites, regardless of their politics, were invited to dialog with Julie.

If you missed the conversation or just want to experience it again, then click here to see the video.

Julie’s Committees

Senator Kushner began by describing her first days in the State Senate. She will Co-Chair the Labor Committee, serve as Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Environment, and will be a member of the HousingTransportation,EducationAppropriations, and Executive and Legislative NominationsCommittees. . .

Life of a Bill

Julie described how bills are introduced, discussed, and acted upon. After a bill is introduced, committees may hold public hearings during which residents may appear or send in written comments. For more information, click here to find a bill of interest and whom to contact. Or ask Julie..Julie has already co-sponsored about 50 bills!

Bills of Note

Senator Julie talked about bills of special concern to her. First and foremost is her signature issue which she introduced,.the paid family leave bill (SB1), To read the bill, click here. It allocates 12 weeks leave at full pay for a new child and for illness in family members. Funded through a payroll tax, most Connecticut workers (also potentially self-employed workers) are covered. Elections matter! Our Republican State Representative, Richard Smith, voted against the bill.

She also co-sponsored the Minimum Wage Bill (SB2) which would raise the minimum from $10.10/hour to $15 over the next few years. To read the bill, click here. Our neighboring states, New York and Massachusetts, have minimum wages much higher than Connecticut’s. Again, Representative Smith voted against the increase.. An audience member then expressed concern about this legislation on small businesses and, went on to describe other needs of small businesses.

Of special interest to Sherman, Senator Kushner introduced SB585, which requires an air quality study in towns that may be impacted by the nearby, soon-to-open, Cricket Valley gas burning power plant.. To read the bill, click here. An air quality monitoring station is now operating at Kent School,The bill adds state support for using the data for longitudinal studies. An audience member wanted the Connecticut Attorney General, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Department of Health to also address this issue.

Julie: More State Revenue, Not Less Spending

Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe raised concerns about proposals to consolidate auto and property tax collections by the state. To read the bill, click here. He felt they would negatively impact small towns such as Sherman.

Julie commented, “We don’t have a spending problem in CT, we have a revenue problem. We have to ask our super-wealthy people to put more in.” We need an equitable way to bring in revenue, she elaborated, balancing the resources and needs of small and big towns, of richer and poorer people. One source of potential revenue is from currently un-taxed property owned by not-for-profit organizations such as hospitals. Reform of tax laws, she added, must be addressed in a holistic way, not piecemeal..


Several audience members raised concerns about the impact of the proposed regionalization of small school districts. How do we ensure that the needs of students take precedence over cost efficiency, while still making the system more efficient through regionalizing services such as special education, supervision, and high level management? Other speakers voiced support for UConn, asked about the proposed consolidation of community colleges and state university branches, wanted more development of trade schools, apprenticeship programs, and adult programs at schools such as Abbott Tech. Some were concerned with the statewide issue of funding teachers’ retirement plans. “We need to address this issue,” said Julie, “without threatening them.”

The Six Underfunded State Sponsored Post-Employment Benefit Plans

Another discussion focused on the problem of funding these plans. Julie said that Connecticut is in the middle of U.S. states with respect to what it offers new retirees, yet it has the third worst funding ratio for its biggest fund. Because the problem was long in the making (almost 100 years), it will be long in the fixing. State payments into the system will rise until 2023 then drop; by about 2032, the State will be in “a strong position,” and by about 2045 pensions will be fully funded. It’s a balance between becoming solvent without being too hard on state employees, who have already “given up more than $17,000 in wages and benefits”. One audience member observed, “People focus on how much we are spending on ‘state workers,’ forgetting they are really talking about spending on the services that the state delivers.”

Supplementing the above, a fresh approach is being undertaken that has other states interested. In lieu of cash, the state may donate some of its real assets as an in-kind contribution to its pension funds.

Audience Concerns 

The “conversation” with the audience continued. While many attendees asked questions or raised concerns to Julie, more often the questions served as a springboard for discussions within the audience. In several instances, audience members made plans for longer term interactions and joint projects among themselves.

Other issues raised by participants included:
•    Invasive species in Candlewood Lake
•    A proposed program for universal testing of children for dyslexia  
•    The impact of road salting on water quality
•    Investing in infrastructure, and in particular, in developing east-west public transportation in Connecticut
•    The problem of wage theft
•    Addressing the impact of the then-ongoing shutdown of the federal government in Connecticut.

To contact Julie,visit her site by clicking here. Or call her legislative assistant, Javier Smith, at 860-240-0509, or 1-800-842-1420. To sign up for Julie’s e-newsletter, click here.

With these issues warmed-up, the next conversation with Julie, this Saturday, March 16th at 1 pm, should be a lively one!

Time to Make the Sausage & Lots of It!

Since the Connecticut General Assembly convened for its 2019 session on January 9th, 3,629 bills have been introduced!.It’s the same number as in 2017 of which 265 became law. Brought on by the nation’s “Blue Wave” 2018 election, the new Democrat trifecta—Governor, House and Senate: all Democrat-controlled—has issued a crop of bills that reflect their mandate in content and perhaps will have their likelihood of success.

With the Governor’s budget just released in February, fiscal realities are soon to meet up with social ideals in the ugly grind of lawmaking that is traditionally likened to watching sausage being made. Yet, we can already report real legislative progress. .

Five new Democratic Senators, creating a majority of 23-13 in the Senate, and 12 new Democrat State Representatives, creating a majority of 92-59 in the House,.have brought new enthusiasm and commitment to creating laws favoring social and economic equality and opportunity, For example, Senate Bill 2 would raise the minimum wage to $15. Senate Bill 1 would allow people paid time off and job security in the event of a new child or family illness. Co-sponsored by our Senator Kushner, it is already on the calendar for a vote by the entire Senate. Stymied for years in a Republican-controlled General Assembly, this bill is expected to become law providing a compassionate, practical means towards saving families from spiraling into homelessness and poverty from job loss caused by illness.

Julie Kushner has wasted no time in learning about local issues that affect her constituents and responding to them with proposed bills, all while signing on to dozens of bills that affect the state’s government and it’s citizens. As noted in the previous article, Julie Kushner has sponsored two bills that are very important to Sherman: one addressing Candlewood Lake’s potential infestation of mussels, and another establishing an air quality study in CT towns that may be affected by the Cricket Valley Power Plant.

To follow Julie’s actions as State Senator or to contact her, click here.

Most of the bills facing the General Assembly address the overarching issue of CT’s fiscal deficit. Governor Lamont campaigned on fixing it and his newly released budget addresses it. Highway tolls (see the article below), legalizing marijuana, school regionalization, and expanding gambling are proposals, among others, aiming to save or earn money for the state. Their fates are less certain because some measures are controversial (marijuana and gambling) and others challenge Connecticut residents to weigh the benefit of the whole population against individual disadvantage (school regionalization, tolls, and certain taxation proposals). However, with a newly enlarged and emboldened Democrat majority in power, these bills may succeed, albeit with much grumbling.

These are only a few of the major issues you are likely to hear about over the next year. On just about any subject, “there’s a bill for that”—and often more than one.  Bears in your backyard? You can support a bill for hunting them or a bill for researching nonlethal methods of bear control.

To learn more about whatever issues you are passionate about, or maybe if you are just in the mood to see if anything is being done about your pet peeves, check out It’s a robust resource, easy to navigate, and even kind of funny. The “Legislation 101” piece describes how a bill makes it through the legislature in Connecticut, and to realize that as ugly as it gets here, it’s worse in Tennessee and Nebraska (according to the author). By the way, as measured by public interest and activity over the last 72 hours until now, March 10, the number one trending CT bill requires immunizations against the meningococcal virus and human papillomavirus.(HB07199).

Highway Tolls in Connecticut?

On February 27th, the Sherman Board of Selectman approved a resolution to oppose the establishment of tolls in CT. First Selectman Lowe said tolls::

  • Financially penalize low-income individuals
  • Are among the least efficient taxation devices
  • Will increase local traffic as drivers circumvent the toll-roads

Currently, two bills in the House (HB’s) one in the Senate (SB) have been introduced to address highway tolls:

  • To (1) require the Commissioner of Transportation to submit a tolling proposal to the General Assembly; and (2) create the Connecticut Transportation Finance Authority (HB07280). This bill requires a vote in both houses within 15-days of the Committee hearing, if not, the bill is automatically approved by the General Assembly.
  • To exempt low-income residents from paying tolls in the event electronic tolling is implemented in the state (HB06968)
  • To establish electronic tolls on major highways and raise revenue for transportation infrastructure projects.(SB00102)

Also click here to read the 500-page report submitted to the then Governor-Elect Lamont by his transportation advisory panel.

The map below is from that report according to which shows 83 possible toll locations in red dots.The report itself does not recommend implementing that many.

Last Wednesday, March 6th, hundreds of proponents and opponents descended on the state Capitol for the hearing on electronic highway tolls.

“We’ve got to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century, and we’ve got to do it now,” said Governor Lamont, who was joined by scores of toll supporters at the Legislative Office Building. “This is about jobs…This is so key to economic growth and opportunity in this state.. ”, as reported in the Hartford Courant. It also said “Lamont’s budget calls for tolling all vehicles on I-95, I-91, I-84 and Route 15….The precise locations of the gantries and the tolling rates have not been determined. State residents with an E-ZPass would receive a discount of at least 30 percent, according to Lamont’s budget.” Lamont ran on a plan for tolls only on tractor-trailer trucks but now says that would not raise enough to fix Connecticut’s roads and bridges.

Almost all Republican legislators are against it and propose an alternative, a 30-year, $65 billion plan that would rely on state bonding to fix CT infrastructure. In his budget proposal, Some legislators want to wait to see how much funding Connecticut receives from the federal government for infrastructure improvements before making any moves on tolls. The Federal Highway Administration has already said Connecticut is in “new territory,” because no other state has undertaken tolling existing highways – and certainly not all the existing highways.

Clearly, this issue challenges Connecticut residents to weigh the benefit of the whole population against individual disadvantage.

Upcoming Sherman Events

Budget Workshop
Mallory Town Hall
Wednesday, March 13th, 2019  7pm
To see the town calendar, click here

A Community Conversation
              with State Senator Kushner
Emergency Services Facility – Firehouse- Upper Level
1 Rte. 39
Sherman, CT 06784
Saturday, March 16, 2019 1 -3 pm

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About Us

We are an organization of inclusion, not exclusion. We have a longstanding history of attracting both Democratic and unaffiliated voters and endorsing both Democratic and unaffiliated candidates. We work to represent the wide variety of Sherman citizens who hold many different viewpoints and opinions.

Paid for by the Sherman Democratic Town Committee, Bob Gamper Treasurer