In the Tradition, Pizza and Politics

October 13, 2015

The most famous of Norman Rockwell’s paintings of the Four Freedoms is his depiction of a Thanksgiving dinner, with a plump turkey ready for carving at one end of a gleaming white table surrounded by a happy family. My favorite of the four shows a man on his feet at a town meeting, not as well-dressed perhaps as those around him, but commanding their attention as a fellow citizen.

Democracy requires give-and-take among neighbors, and elected officials meeting directly with the people is a great enduring practice of the American republic. No matter how bloated and distorted our government has become, this tradition is one I’m determined to help preserve.

Once upon a time in New England we met around a barrel at harvest-time to debate and to decide our politics. My good friend Representative Rob Sampson and I have tried to restore that tradition in a contemporary setting, with our Pizza and Politics events. We visited three pizza parlors in the district, and met with constituents over a slice. Topics included Common Core, the notorious Busway, Donald Trump’s surge, and Dan Malloy’s malaise.

The meetings gave us an opportunity to speak with people who had specific problems we can help with or issues we needed to hear about. Politics can’t be done in isolation; we don’t have an office in the district, so we have to make ourselves available for conversation where people can find us. We appreciate the businesses that host us, and consider it a pleasure to bring them hungry customers.

I would like to thank McBrides, Formaggio’s, and Five Guys Flippin’ Pies for letting us meet in their restaurants. We have enjoyed each slice of our Pizza Tour. Well over a hundred friends and constituents joined us over the three evenings, and we thank them all for coming out.

State Representative Lezlye Zupkus and I will hold a Pizza and Politics in Prospect after the start of session in February; Rob Sampson and I will return to Wolcott around the same time. I will keep you posted on the specifics as the date approaches.

The opportunity to speak face to face and work together for a cause has kept our democracy well-founded. I want to help keep that conversation alive, and I invite you to join in.