\u201cIt\u2019s good to see the Democratic Party is alive and well in Wilton,\u201d state Attorney General George Jepsen told Wilton Democrats Saturday, Sept. 6, as they gathered at Merwin Meadows for their fall barbecue. Although the weather was anything but fall-like \u2014 temperatures were in the low 90s \u2014 candidates up for election or re-election took the opportunity to address the party faithful, with less than two months until voters head to the polls. Mr. Jepsen reminded Democrats the results of an election in a town like Wilton can have national repercussions. \u201cTowns like Wilton used to be [staunchly] Republican,\u201d he said, but now they can go either way. \u201cJimmy Carter lost Connecticut,\u201d he said of the 1976 presidential election. As the state has changed from red to purple to blue, he said, it allows national campaigns to invest more money in other states and thus, \u201ccan tip a national election.\u201d Mr. Jepsen was followed by Jim Himes, who stepped up to the microphone and said, \u201cI have one message I am uniquely qualified to give as the only elected official you have going to serve in the House of Representatives. I see every single day that what happens in November is essential\u201d to the way the nation thinks about education, healthcare, a woman\u2019s reproductive rights, and the environment. \u201cFor all these things they say \u2018no,\u2019\u201d he said, referring to members of the Republican Party. \u201cNot turning out to vote is not an option,\u201d he said. \u201cIf you want your voice silenced or marginalized, then don\u2019t vote. Local candidates Keith Rodgerson, running for the 143rd State House District, said, \u201cI am really glad to be part of this team. We\u2019re the voice of progress.\u201d Mr. Rodgerson, who has qualified for public financing and thus will receive more than $90,000 in public funding, introduced Phil Sharlach, who, he said, is in \u201ca bear of a race\u201d for the 26th State Senate District. Mr. Sharlach has not reached the threshold for public financing, falling short by about $5,000 to date. Every speaker urged assembled Democrats to help Mr. Sharlach reach that goal. \u201cIf we don\u2019t qualify,\u201d Mr. Sharlach said, \u201cit is like writing the Republican Party a check for $115,000.\u201d Mr. Sharlach said he was qualified to go to Hartford based on his life in management consulting, including time spent at the U.S. Accountability Office in Washington. He believes he can improve operations of state government and keep taxes down. He also champions expanded use of freight trains over trucks and improving the commuter rail lines. The Democrats will open their campaign headquarters Sept. 25 in the Crossways plaza in Wilton Center.