Jennifer Heitzke takes her father’s advice: ‘People first, party last.’

To the Editor,

Election time is almost upon us. Growing up, it was a busy, fun, exciting, and nerve wracking time in my house. For those of you who don’t know, my dad was elected as the first selectman of Monroe, although I forget the exact year.

My parents were Republicans through and through. I was a member of the Monroe Young Republicans group. I walked (dressed in an elephant costume) next to John Rowland in a parade in Monroe. I never knew why I was “Republican”, I just was.

As the years went on, I started to pay attention to debates. I used to watch them with my dad and ask questions. To be frank, my dad was not always pleased with my questions as they may have been “calling out” the Republican candidate.

I was a registered Republican until about four years ago. I didn’t always vote party lines though. I listened as thoughtfully and carefully as I could to what the candidates said, how they spoke, and how they carried themselves. Then I voted with my conscience.

Whether my dad realized it or not, he taught me that. He was well known for having an open door policy when he was selectman. He was respected by people of all parties. He was tough, but fair. He loves this town and showed it at every opportunity. I believe his quote was “people first, party last.”

This post isn’t about him though. It’s a request.

Monroe is a small town. We all know who the candidates are … many of us know them personally. It’s difficult to cross party lines … even harder to not vote for a friend or acquaintance. Please … read as much as you can about them though. Attendance records are available (FOI). This is important. Monroe deserves someone who will show up for us! Ask questions, lots of questions. Get involved in your decision and don’t just do the easy thing.

I will be casting the most important vote for Jerry Stevens. The information is there, as is the character.

I may no longer be a registered Republican, but there are several fine Republican candidates that I respect and will have my vote. The signs will come down, but your vote will matter for years.

Jennifer Heitzke

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.


  1. Terrific letter from Jennifer Heitzke, a woman raised in Monroe by a politically active family who witnessed and learned what it takes to be a great First Selectman. Her father would be proud of her comments.

  2. This year and especially for this election your advice is accurate and has great impact on our community. If you know the candidates, then the choice is clear. If you do not know them then please listen to what they are saying. From my experience our town has become severely divided by party lines.
    One point that aggravates me are the quantity of large signs that have been placed without owners permission and the worst block drivers view when attempting a turn. That is an indicator of a candidate that doesn’t really care about you and will do what THEY want – despite what is best for your community.
    Please take the time to vote – I assure you that your vote counts in this election.

  3. I’m another person who believes in voting for the person based on their qualifications, history of showing up, whether or not I think they have voted/performed their duties in a way that benefits my interests and that of my nearly lifelong community, and how sincere I think they are in how they plan to perform future duties if elected.

    I look carefully at when someone answers difficult questions vs. when they avoid doing so.

    I have been and will continue to be a lifelong, unaffiliated voter who votes both sides of the fence as long as the candidate demonstrates integrity, commitment, and a willingness to put our community first.

    There’s one candidate for First Selectman who fits that description for me even though candidates in both parties will receive my vote once again for other roles.

    Mr. Stevens, you have my vote.

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