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The Haddam Land Swap and Its Effect on Elections

If a candidate supports or opposes controversial issues like the Haddam Land Swap, does it greatly impact election outcomes?

The controversial land swap in Haddam, which made international news thanks to the , would exchange the state-owned 17 acres overlooking the Connecticut River with forest land owned by a , property that abuts the Cockaponset State Forest across town in Higganum.

During the contentious debate over this issue several local and state officials took a stand on legislation that cleared the way for the land swap, a bill that was eventually passed by the state legislature and signed into by the governor. Others declined making a public statement on the issue.

Several organizations and groups of private citizens have banded together to try and stop the swap in any way they can. Various tactics have included , and attempting to garner support from electoral candidates in exchange for backing them for office.

Recently, Citizens for the Protection of Public Lands (CPPL) issued a monthly that detailed which local candidates they were willing to endorse based on the candidates' stand on the land swap.

But, did those tactics work? In what way did the opinion of the local candidates on the land swap issue impact the voters’ decisions at the polls, if at all?

In East Haddam, first selectman candidate Rob Smith (D), has been a huge driving force and vocal opponent of the swap. Yet, he was overwhelmingly defeated at the  Tuesday incumbent First Selectman Mark Walter, who initially appeared to support the land swap.

Walter, made waves with local swap opponents when he in a legislative committee earlier this year in support of the land swap proponents’ efforts to improve Tylerville. He later clarified his position, however, and said his testimony was not intended to support the land swap itself, but rather the economic development that could generate additional tourism in the region. Was Walter’s stance on the issue made clear to the voters?

In Haddam, Repubicaln First Selectman Paul J. DeStefano, came under fire when he publicly supported the land swap. DeStefano’s opponent in Tuesday’s election, Democrat , took no public stand on the issue. Still, DeStefano swept the election.

State Sen. Eileen M. , a prominent and longtime Senate Democrat who proposed the land swap, has staunchy defended the proposal and has drawn the wrath of environmental groups across the state, groups that historically have been on friendly terms with Daily. State Rep. Phil  , D-Essex, has vehemently opposed the swap, closely aligning himself with opposition groups. Those positions could have serious implications for both politicians if and when they seek re-election.

What do you think?

Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Allow me to educate you. Reports of extramarital affairs have dogged him for years as a result of two messy divorces, but he has refused to discuss them publicly. Gingrich, who frequently campaigned on family-values issues, divorced his second wife, Marianne, in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged Gingrich's relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide more than 20 years younger than he is. His first marriage, to his former high-school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley, ended in divorce in 1981. Although Gingrich has said he doesn't remember it, Battley has said Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery. Gingrich married Marianne months after the divorce. "There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them," he said in the interview. Gingrich resigned from Congress after being reprimanded by the House ethics panel over charges that he used tax-exempt funding to advance his political goals. He had a choice fight the charges and prove his innocence OR resign without prosecution, he resigned, after all the Holier than thou crapola. Although Obama has failed to clean up the mess the Republicans developed from 2000-2008 there is no one currently running in the GOP field that is not a liar, wacko, or psychotic, which is pretty sad because I'm sure there must be some that are a little better.
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 05:29 PM
I love the GOP--sarcasm, when all else fails cry like Swaggert and talk about praying
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 07:25 PM
read that again holy boy married his high school geometry teacher, think there was any extra curricular homework after school??? these days she would be investigated for statuory rape both parties are now owned by large corporations, whether you are on the far right or far left you need to start waking up watch this, this is actual FAIR & BALANCED reporting, they nail Pelosi and Boehner wakey wakey little fishies, watch this and learn http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7388130n&tag=segementExtraScroller;housing
Skeptic November 16, 2011 at 08:50 PM
"My memory is that the State bought the land to conserve it, now I'm talking about Eagle Landing, but they never put a sign up, then they bought this parcel and added it to Eagle Landing." The state's purpose when it bought land does not create any kind of legal restriction if it later chooses to sell that land. This swap is wrong, but sometimes the things around a piece of land change, making its original purpose untenable. The golf course at Foxwoods used to be the Lake of Isles Boy Scout Camp. Folks were upset when the camp was sold but the presence of Foxwoods across the street rendered the property unusable as a summer camp. It is unfortunate that there are no restrictions on the Haddam property, but it is what it is, and trying to fight this on the state's and the original seller's intent is a waste of time.
Gene Bartholomew November 16, 2011 at 09:11 PM
yes it does because they purchased the land with Conservation Funds which have restrictions about what that money can be used for, it cannot be used to buy land that you do not intend to conserve and you cannot play the BS of "oh we changed our mind" because they didn't, I believe that they had a land scam going from day 1 that may also include Sunrise, to be held and given to certain people who may do or return certain favors, it is all misuse of taxpayer property and money

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