When Luella Ostrovsky first voted in 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was running for his second term in office. A resident of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, at the time, Ostrovsky pulled the lever for Roosevelt — and has been a faithful Democratic voter ever since.
Now 102, Ostrovsky was among the Easton residents honored at a Voter Appreciation Day brunch held recently at the Easton Public Library. The event was sponsored by the Easton Democratic Town Committee.
While the event was also attended by a number of Republican and unaffiliated voters, it had a decidedly “blue” tone, right down to the wooden donkey brooch Ostrovsky wore to celebrate.
“This has been in my jewelry chest for years,” said Ostrovsky, who has lived on Cedar Hill Road for the past 65 years. “My son was studying medicine in Corvallis, Ore., in the 1970s, and I purchased it on a visit there. It is made from a variety of myrtle native to the West Coast.”
Ostrovsky was presented with a certificate of appreciation by Democratic committee member Michelle Williams, who is also a member of the Region 9 School Board. “When I was running for my school board post, I made a lot of phone calls,” Williams said. “Luella told me her story of voting for all these years, and I was profoundly moved.”
“Thank you … but I didn’t do anything to earn this,” Ostrovsky said upon receiving the award. Williams pointed out that many people have a tendency to minimize their accomplishments. Moreover, exercising the right to vote at every opportunity is an accomplishment in itself, she said.
The DTC also honored Anna Speck, a junior at Joel Barlow High School who was among the chief organizers of the school’s participation in the national school walkout to protest gun violence. Speck is also active in the school’s Political Activists Club, an organization that aims to get all parties to sit down and hash out their opinions on a variety of topics.
“We try to be as inclusive as possible and air all sides of every issue,” Speck noted. While college is still more than a year away, Speck said, she has a clear plan in mind: to attend Oberlin College in Ohio with a double major in music and pre-medicine.
“Anna is too young to vote, but she is not too young to get involved,” noted DTC member Pat Comuto. “Easton’s Democratic Town Committee recognizes Anna for the high standard of civic engagement that she has set.”
While Democrats are outnumbered by unaffiliated and Republican voters in Easton, DTC Chairman Adam Halberg said he has sensed a feeling of excitement and energy since the 2016 election. In particular, people are willing to run for office.
“Every single time there is a race, Easton Democrats will put up a candidate,” he said.
Also in attendance at the event were Easton’s Ann Hughes, Democratic candidate for the state House of Representatives, and Michelle McCabe of Fairfield, candidate for Senate. The Senate district for which McCabe is running encompasses Easton.
Hughes said one of her priorities is local infrastructure, and she pointed to recent Metro-North breakdowns as evidence of neglect. “I was recently in Chattanooga, Tenn., and I was quite impressed with the ‘Circular,’ a free bus that makes a circle around the city’s downtown,” said Hughes. “Easton has no bus service, though it would help area commuters and provide a much greater level of self-determination for older residents.”
Easton is the Christmas tree capital of Connecticut, with 35 working farms inside the town’s borders. Both Hughes and McCabe suggested that the town more aggressively market itself as an eco-friendly destination to the tri-state region. Doing so will help local businesses and boost the town’s tax revenue.
McCabe called for regional, multi-town initiatives to share services — and save money. “The more we talk to one another, the more we can develop a shared vision of what Connecticut can be in the future,” she said.