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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Blankley Knocks on Doors in Greenwich

GREENWICH, Conn. – The following letter is from John Blankley, the Democratic candidate for Greenwich first selectman:

These past few months I have been out and about around the town knocking on doors and introducing myself to voters. Effectively it’s been a listening tour, finding out, on the ground, what people want from their local government. I’m looking for votes, of course, let’s not lose sight of that, so I have a highly targeted potential constituency that covers a particular selection of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters. In this traditionally Republican town I need to reach across the party divide to appeal to voters beyond my own Democratic Party.

I will confess in the early going I felt some trepidation as I rang the bell of Mr. X, aged 75, and marked on my sheets with an “R”! Would he be a gruff curmudgeon, a kindly gent, or totally indifferent?

Well, I’ve met all of the above and I can say that kindliness or curmudgeonly behavior is not confined to any one party! A universal, however, is that almost everyone I have met has been delighted to meet a candidate for First Selectman, and I want to thank all those who have greeted me with civility and even enthusiasm. Most gratifying, however, have been the occasions when I’m greeted with, “Oh, I recognize you from your picture in the papers.” Permit me a little conceit!

Of course, the moment I open my mouth I reveal my origins (I was sent here by my British company almost 30 years ago and decided to stay), and as often as not we get into discussions about a future constituent’s third cousin twice removed who used to live in London, and “isn’t London wonderful so why did you come here?”

That answer’s simple: Greenwich really is special. My family and I chose this place to settle all those years ago, and in fact, we made a second choice after I left my big corporate career – that we would never “retire” to Florida and that we would see out our days in this, our home, Greenwich.

With increasing artfulness I steer doorstep conversations back to local issues, away from British origins and also away from national politics.

Sometimes the floodgates open: Why don’t we have a sidewalk here, what are you going to do about the schools, I told the town about that dead tree three months ago and they still haven’t removed it, I don’t like my tax assessment, my trash collection’s now only once a week, look at these abandoned houses, what are you going to do about the traffic and I hate that new cell tower.

And sometimes I get the deer in the headlights. No issues? Seriously, none at all? So then it’s “have a nice day” and on to the next unsuspecting Mr. X.

There are many more doors to knock on between now and November 8th and I and my volunteers can’t possibly reach everybody, so please go to my website ( ). I’d really like to hear from you – because I’ve found a joy in retail politics that has frankly surprised me and confirmed me in my purpose – to bring new leadership to Greenwich and to make my hometown an even better place for all of us.

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