What Four of Darien’s Democratic Legislators Are Saying About the Election

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Since Election Day, Nov. 8, these legislators, each representing Darien at the state or federal levels, have issued statements about the wider implications of the election to the United States. Excerpts of President-elect Donald Trump’s election night statement have been added to the bottom. Here are the statements:

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy — Nov. 9

Murphy posted this statement on his Facebook page:

Despite how it may appear to some, America is not a different place today than it was yesterday. I am uncertain of many things today, but of this I am sure.

Donald Trump won last night. He may not have won the votes of the majority of Americans, but under our system of presidential voting, he won the election fair and square. It was like a gut punch to those of us who didn’t see it coming, or who refused to allow ourselves to see it coming. I won’t lie to you — I didn’t sleep last night, and I might not sleep much tonight either.

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Darien ballot boxes

But America is still the same place. We are a spectacularly imperfect nation. We lurch back and forth between competing visions for our future, between the natural twinned instincts of hopefulness and fearfulness. We have moments of great courage, but we are also capable at times of immense panic and worry. We take all comers, and ask everyone to keep a bit of where they came from while adopting something common to the whole of us. Our heterogeneity is our strength, but it also creates frictions and tensions. None of this is new.

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“We can choose to take Donald Trump at his word last night and take steps to heal the wounds caused by this bitter and divisive election. We can refuse to reflexively back ourselves into a dark, angry corner, and choose instead to be fair-minded umpires — calling the balls and strikes as we see them, working with our new President when he proposes good, and fighting him like hell when he proposes bad.

And we can put our heads down, and keep working on the things that still matter.”

— U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy

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Last night hurt. Never in our lifetime has a candidate for president ran a more hate-filled, bigoted campaign. It felt like we took a step backward in our progress toward a more compassionate, inclusive nation. But that doesn’t have to be our fate. We can choose to take Donald Trump at his word last night and take steps to heal the wounds caused by this bitter and divisive election. We can refuse to reflexively back ourselves into a dark, angry corner, and choose instead to be fair-minded umpires — calling the balls and strikes as we see them, working with our new President when he proposes good, and fighting him like hell when he proposes bad.

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U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (official photo from his U.S. Senate website)

And we can put our heads down, and keep working on the things that still matter. Hell, last night, three out of the four state referendums tightening guns laws passed. Nevada, California, and Washington are safer places today because of these victories. And the top targeted Senate race for anti-gun violence groups, New Hampshire, looks like it went our way. If you are passionate about changing our nation’s gun laws, you can see a pretty bright silver lining in last night’s cloud-filled sky. It inspires me to fight on.

And so I walked into my Hartford office this morning and declared to my weary staff (who were, by the way, all at their desks at 9 a.m. today — miraculously), “It’s another day to do good things in the world.” They awkwardly smiled at me, but I meant it.

Last night, everything changed and nothing changed. We have a new President — one that half the country didn’t want. But let’s be honest — had Hillary won, we would still have a President that half of America didn’t want. So it’s still the same complicated, imperfect nation that it was before. And our job — to do good in the world, to be good parents and spouses and neighbors and friends — that doesn’t change either.

I might not sleep tonight, just like last night. But I’ll walk out my door tomorrow morning, Diet Mountain Dew in hand as always, and get back to work. And so should you.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal — Nov. 10
Richard Blumenthal

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Blumenthal posted this statement on Facebook:

I believe now more than ever that we must come together to bridge our divisions and partisan differences. I will continue to fight for the people of Connecticut and the core convictions and American values that unite us: fairness, respect, tolerance, and justice.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes — Nov. 11

Himes posted this statement on Facebook:

Like many Americans, I am stunned by the prospect of a President Trump. It’s hard to know how to think about this historically unprecedented moment. It may be trite, but I believe we must (carefully and warily) hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

No matter what the result and what will come next, we cannot give ourselves over to despair and bitterness. This was a profoundly ugly campaign in which the President-elect played to the very worst instincts of anxious Americans. We must stand strong against the divisiveness his campaign unleashed, hold true to our pluralistic values, and reach out to those who have legitimate fears: communities of immigrants, Muslims, people of color and women, among others. We will fight without condition to defend their rights, freedoms, and dignity.

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“Decency always prevails. We — each one of us — have an obligation to ensure that happens. […] We will engage in an essential fight to defend the definitional institutions of our democracy: Congress, a free press, an independent judiciary and basic decency, to name a few. In that fight, I hope to be joined by more than a few Republicans. I hope the need for such a fight can be averted. If not, it is one that we will fight and win.”

— U.S. Rep. Jim Himes

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Americans are fundamentally kind, sensible people. If our shared history is any guide, fear and hate-driven rhetoric may stain us, but that mark will fade. Decency always prevails. We — each one of us — have an obligation to ensure that happens.

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U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (official photo from his government website)

The most discouraging moment in President Obama’s early Presidency was Mitch McConnell’s statement that his primary goal was to make Obama a one-term President. I will not engage in that cynical abnegation of duty. I will continue to represent and support the people of Connecticut, and help this country in a positive, constructive and decent way. If we and others do that, we all win.

There is always a difference between how a candidate campaigns and how he governs. Donald Trump’s speech after his election offered the smallest glimmers of encouragement on reconciliation, economic opportunity, and infrastructure. If he can earnestly pursue those goals, we can work with him on those areas and perhaps more.

On the other hand, if the new President is what he appeared to be during the campaign — a dangerous autocratic threat to the nation — our work is more important than ever. We will engage in an essential fight to defend the definitional institutions of our democracy: Congress, a free press, an independent judiciary and basic decency, to name a few. In that fight, I hope to be joined by more than a few Republicans. I hope the need for such a fight can be averted. If not, it is one that we will fight and win.

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, 25th District — Nov. 15

Duff emailed this statement:

Since Election Day last week and the results were finalized, the divide in America is still very real. While many are cheering at the results of the presidential contest, there are also many who fearful, angry and concerned about their future.  While some will say, “get over it”, the emotions folks experiencing are real and raw and must be acknowledged. It would be an understatement to say that the rhetoric on the campaign trail this year was at a level never seen before. Frankly, it was beneath all of us and we need to begin the healing process in a very real way.

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Parents have the biggest impact when they model the behavior they want their own children to emulate. We will make sure we call out any leader who speaks or acts in an inappropriate way. […] It is important that we stay vigilant and not let the dark side of politics prevail in our neighborhoods, state or nation. We must all do our part in a peaceful manner and be the example to our children and the larger community. Over time, I’m confident, our higher ideals will prevail.

— State Sen. Bob Duff

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Many have asked what they can do, regardless if their candidate won or lost. My answer is this — let’s all work to heal and unite our wonderful country.  Let’s work to reject hate speech, violence, bullying and racism. Our country is still an awesome experiment with history that is at times blemished, but we always strive to bend the arch of justice in the right direction. While it is difficult for someone in Connecticut to affect what happens in Ohio or down south, we can affect our own little corner of the world.

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State Sen. Bob Duff, the Senate majority leader whose 25th District includes part of Darien and all of Norwalk. (contributed photo)

For example, Tracey and I will continue to work in our own home and teach and show our kids right from wrong. Parents have the biggest impact when they model the behavior they want their own children to emulate. We will make sure we call out any leader who speaks or acts in an inappropriate way. I’ll stay active in the schools and hope to inspire students to consider the noble profession of public service. Our country needs these future leaders.

As a legislative leader in the state of Connecticut, I want our citizens to know that we are proud of our diversity — whether it is racial, cultural, sexual orientation or economic. We’ve worked hard to make Connecticut a welcoming place for all walks of life and I will fight like never before to ensure we are always a safe place to call home. Connecticut may be the land of steady habits, but we’ve always strived to be tolerant and welcoming of our differences. That won’t change on my watch.

It is important that we stay vigilant and not let the dark side of politics prevail in our neighborhoods, state or nation. We must all do our part in a peaceful manner and be the example to our children and the larger community. Over time, I’m confident, our higher ideals will prevail.

Editor’s note: We did not find a statement from state Rep. William Tong; a statement from state Rep. Terrie Woods focused on thanking supporters, as did a statement from Carlo Leone, except for these three sentences:

“Our elections were grueling and hard fought. I know many are relieved they are over. Now we all move forward.”

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Excerpts from Donald Trump’s Election Night Statement

For the full text, see this transcript from the New York Times website. A video of his speech, 28 minutes long, is at the bottom (or here on Youtube): 

[…] Hillary [Clinton] has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.

I mean that very sincerely.

Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.

It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.

For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people. . .

. . . I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.

As I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their families.

It’s a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will.

Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I’ve spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country.

Tremendous potential. I’ve gotten to know our country so well — tremendous potential. It’s going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.

We will also finally take care of our great veterans.

[…] We will embark upon a project of national growth and renewal. I will harness the creative talents of our people and we will call upon the best and brightest to leverage their tremendous talent for the benefit of all. It’s going to happen.

We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time, we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will be.

We’ll have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships. No dream is too big, no challenge is too great.

Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach.

America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.

We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We’re going to dream of things for our country and beautiful things and successful things once again.

I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone — all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict. […]

 

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