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Connecticut Education Association News Release
October 26, 2012
Firsthand Experience vs Advertising Distortions: Cheshire teachers set the record straight
Cheshire teachers are urging voters in Connecticut's Fifth Congressional District to listen to educators' voice of experience and dismiss Republican Andrew Roraback's extreme distortion of Democrat Elizabeth Esty's history as a Cheshire parent and Town Council member.
"There's no substitute for my firsthand experience when it comes to Elizabeth Esty," says Jeff Leake, a longtime teacher and resident of Cheshire.
He continued, "Her commitment to my community is long and deep. I've known her as a parent championing adequate education funding. I've witnessed her advocacy on the Town Council for senior citizens and her sensitivity to their property taxes. As the former president of the Education Association of Cheshire, I attended countless meetings with Elizabeth. My clear recollections provide direct testimony about what Elizabeth did and didn't do."
At present, Leake is the vice president of the Connecticut Education Association, an organization endorsing Esty in the Fifth District race. He is very concerned that an Ohio Super PAC is trying to influence the outcome of the Fifth District race through advertising that aims to confuse the public with distortions. "The Ohio group is an outside, unaccountable organization—with unclear motives—that has no regard for even a semblance of truth in its advertising," said Leake.
Leake urges voters to talk to long-time residents of Cheshire who closely followed education spending, local budget issues, and property tax relief for seniors for a great many years.
Bill Benedetto is one of those residents and a retired teacher. Benedetto says, "The Esty whom I watched for years is not the Esty being portrayed in an ad produced by an Ohio PAC for Roraback. She always had the best interest of Cheshire residents at heart, whether she was pleading the case for schoolchildren's needs or deliberating about how best to relieve the tax burden on seniors."
Benedetto is hardly alone. Bruce Richardson says he's "grown intolerant of the distortions seen on TV put there by out-of-state forces with no firsthand knowledge of what happens in my backyard." Richardson continued, "Esty will protect my backyard as well as my back as a senior citizen. That's why I'm standing up for her in the face of distortions."
Susan Casavina is a former colleague of Benedetto. "Esty never minced words when it came to doing what was best for Cheshire. From school spending to innovative approaches to local taxes, Esty was often in the spotlight. It was a spotlight she deserved as a strong advocate for a strong community—a community I continue to call home today and where I served as a teacher for many years."
The Connecticut Education Association represents 43,000 teachers in Connecticut.