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Connecticut Green Party member elected Selectman in Windham


Found in the† Hartford Courant

When Jean de Smet was elected last year as Windham’s first selectman, she said she wanted to shake up the office by turning “town hall into a public service.”

De Smet’s goal almost was overshadowed by her triumph. She was the first Green Party candidate to be elected first selectman in the largely Democratic town. Third-party candidates rarely succeed in getting elected, but de Smet got the win by rallying voters around a specific issue. She beat Windham’s three-term Democratic First Selectman Michael Paulhus by campaigning to make local government more open to the public and to give residents easier access to town hall.

In the year since, de Smet has made town hall and local government more user-friendly, she and others who work with her said recently. De Smet said one of the first items she tackled was making the town website more informative and organizing training sessions for department heads so they could regularly update their own websites.

“We’re trying to make it so we’re user-friendly. Perhaps you can go on the website and get the information you need instead of possibly having to come in,” de Smet said.

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