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10/27/2021 08:00 AM

Capable, Skilled Stewards

The historic pandemic that attacked our planet two years ago placed a special burden on elected leaders—from the national to the local. Normal activity was diverted, changed, challenged, and in some cases, ripped apart. Under such pressure, a leader’s true character is tested.

Some were found wanting, others rose to the occasion, as did our first selectwoman, Lauren Gister, and her team, who prioritized health and safety. She and Selectwoman Charlene Janecek went into emergency mode and never wavered. They spearheaded critical support for the elderly, the needy, and the sick, organizing volunteers and targeting aid; they kept tabs on state and federal funds for merchants, restaurateurs, and local institutions, and provided oversight for Chester’s Vaccine Initiative. Gister even worked nightly, sending us emails communicating “plague news” that kept us informed, prepared, and protected.

Under Gister’s leadership, we also learned how to conduct town business, board meetings, and budget decisions efficiently on Zoom. On top of COVID-related work, Gister’s team also completed the Main Street Project, renovation of North Quarter Park (“Frisbee Golf” anyone?), and formation of Chester’s Community Partnership, and undertook collaborations between local, regional, and state entities to safeguard our environment, enhance our local economy, and keep us safe.

Through this long, grueling crisis, First Selectwoman Gister made us feel that Chester’s elected officials were capable, skilled stewards, guiding our fate towards a benevolent outcome. Under dire circumstances, the Gister-Janecek team has earned our vote with smart, strategic, competent, caring, and excellent leadership.