Report on the 2019 Lyme DTC Picnic

On August 24, the Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) held its annual picnic to raise money for the coming year. The event was catered by Fire in the Kitchen, a popular, mobile pizza truck featuring a wood-burning-oven, offering many types of unique, delicious, pizza flavors.

Speaking at this year’s event were State Senator Norm Needleman, Probate Judge Jeannine Lewis and First Selectman Steven Mattson.

Needleman’s speech highlighted the achievements he has accomplished during his short tenure as state senator – from the offshore windmill project, to three gun-safety bills he has been pushing in the senate. The senator emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in this day and age saying, “I don’t think anybody has a monopoly on good ideas.”  Praising Representative Joe Courtney on his bipartisan work, Senator Needleman spoke of the hope that good days are ahead of us and will continue to occur if we work together. 

Second to speak was Saybrook District Probate Judge Jeannine Lewis. Lewis spoke of the challenges faced during her first year in office, working for a court that serves 9 towns and 62,000 residents.  As a probate judge, she handles a wide variety of issues that affect residents. Her most recent project has been increasing consumer awareness of grandparent scams in Connecticut, which have defrauded many elderly residents of their money. These scams – which Lewis said are designed to affect “anyone with a heart” and are “more prevalent than you’d think” – typically involve tricking elderly residents into believing a loved one is facing an immediate peril that only their swift financial intervention can resolve.  Lewis said she is also working to help educate future probate judges, in order to pass her experience and expertise onto those not yet serving. “I am very honored to have this role,” she said. “We (probate judges) serve some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The final speaker at the picnic was First Selectman Steven Mattson. His speech focused on the history of the Lyme DTC and Democratic turnout in local elections. Beginning with history, Mattson called attention to a guest, Loraine McFarland, who served as chair of the DTC for many years before Mattson (and later, John Kiker); and who flew in from California to be present at the event. Regarding turnout, Mattson talked about the importance of the upcoming municipal elections. In past years, the said here have been no contested races other than for the Board of Selectmen.  This year, there are contested races for four spots on the Board of Finance, the Planning & Zoning Committee, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  In order to win, Mattson said the committee needed to focus on generating outstanding Democratic turnout. “Let’s get four wins!” he said, to applause and cheers from the crowd. 

The election this year is on Tuesday, November 5.  Residents have a real opportunity to shape the future of our town by simply showing up and voting.

NOTE:  This article was written by Sadie Frankel, a student at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, and originally appeared on the Lyme DTC Facebook page.