If you automatically pull the lever for State Representative, please think again. Think about accessibility, accountability and responsiveness. Imagine a Representative holding open office hours at Town Hall and regularly meeting with First Selectman Rudy Marconi and other elected and community leaders. Contemplate a legislator working solely in Ridgefield’s interests rather than those of his party’s rapacious national donors and power brokers. I am running to be that State Representative. My opponent, John Frey, and his party fish from a shallow pool of failed ideas. The Republican delusion to eliminate the state income tax would double sales and property taxes (a quadruple whammy given the Trump/GOP limits on property tax deductions), create strangling deficits even more massive than the record deficits generated by Republican governors Rowland and Rell, and devastate public services and infrastructure. Their intention to chop Medicaid won’t save money, but could devastate Connecticut’s healthcare industry, flood emergency rooms, endanger public health, and harm working families, children and those most in need. Republicans’ desire to cut pensions without mitigating countermeasures, will likewise result in disaster. Not only for teachers and retirees who earned (and paid into) them, but also for communities like Ridgefield, whose population of vibrant, independent, property tax-paying retirees would be transformed into public wards. Such recklessness would cripple Connecticut’s ability to maintain a young, educated, vibrant employee base, the exact reason GE repeatedly cited for its move to “Taxachusetts.” Ridgefield voters tell me Connecticut needs new blood and ideas. Voters want a lower cost of living coupled with a higher standard of living, not just lower income taxes offset by even higher costs everywhere else. Voters know that fixing today requires finding smart sources of new revenue, making smart cuts, and smart investments. Voters also fear the Trump/GOP attacks on women’s rights, healthcare, paid family leave, environmental protections, and gun safety. As a mother of two Ridgefield public school students, homeowner, long-time advocate for women and families, and 13-year resident, I get it. I have a stake in our future. Through my career with international corporations in corporate training departments and business unit management, I have experience with labor, P&L, and strategies to achieve growth. I managed family and work while going back to school to earn a BA as a Special Education professional, gaining unique insights into many Ridgefielders’ daily lives. These broad and diverse experiences have prepared me to serve and lead. I am not indebted to any dusty, insulated “old guard,” and that’s to your advantage. Unlike John Frey, I am not a member of the elite Republican National Committee or its Democratic equivalent, so am not beholden to national donors and power brokers – only to you. If you elect me, I will never take your vote for granted. I will strive to earn it every day by working without regard to party to create new ways forward for Ridgefield and our state. Aimee Berger-Girvalo is the Democratic Candidate for the 111th General Assembly District. The Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee provides this column.