Sierra Club issues "dual endorsement" in 143rd District

Endorsements in political races generally pick one candidate over another, but in the case of the 143rd Legislative District, the Sierra Club has taken an unusual stand. It has endorsed both candidates: incumbent Gail Lavielle, a Republican, and her challenger Ted Hoffstatter, a Democrat.

"It's what we call a dual endorsement," said Martin Mador, the political chairman of the club's Connecticut chapter. "It is very rare."

Mr. Mador said the club only issues "a dual endorsement in a situation where clearly there are strong reasons to endorse both candidates rather than only one of them.

"In this case we have an incumbent who has been very strong in the environment and is clearly worthy of a standalone endorsement because of her stand on environmental issues" and willingness to work with the Sierra Club, Mr. Mador said.

"We encourage Republicans to have strong positions on environmental issues," he continued. "We don't always succeed. The national Republican Party has abandoned the environment as an issue.

"In Connecticut we have Republicans who really do understand the need for a strong environment, how it helps our quality of life, building a strong economy instead of working against it. We feel Gail is really one of them."

According to a press release from Ms. Lavielle, during the 2012 legislative session she "fought to reduce harmful levels of phosphorus in Connecticut's rivers, lakes and streams; provide better, timely information to address sewage spills; and modernize the state's coastal zone management laws in a way that balances environmental concerns with the rights of property owners."

As for endorsing her challenger Mr. Mador said, "Ted Hoffstatter came to us and made a very strong case for his environmental values. We were very impressed with what Ted told us about his values, where he would be on issues in the future."

According to Mr. Hoffstatter, the issues they talked about included his work on Wilton's reusable bag initiative; his efforts to seek "an effective and humane approach to the increase of coyotes in our area based on safety, awareness and education"; keeping pesticides off children's playing fields; addressing the use of chemicals on lawns; and the state's Clean Energy Future.

Of the latter issue he said, "By investing in the exploration of renewable resources, we can get ahead of the curve on cutting-edge technologies that will spur job growth and attract growing businesses to Connecticut, while ensuring our children have a sustainable planet for their children and beyond."

Mr. Mador acknowledged that given the economic climate, environmental issues won't be a deciding factor on Election Day, "but an endorsement should be helpful" to voters.

"In this case both of them were so strong on environmental issues it really would have been unfair to endorse one and not the other.

"Both are entitled to claim they are endorsed by The Sierra Club."