A group of Weston Republicans participated in the Republican Town Committee (RTC) caucus this year for their very first time.
The newcomers, all fiscal conservatives, wanted to become more active in local politics as they felt their principles were not being properly represented in town budgeting and spending processes by the current RTC members.
The newcomers were not alone.
They found a number of other Republicans in town who shared similar concerns about the RTC board, which has more or less been in place for the last six years.
One Republican confided to the Centinal that the engagement of the RTC board has been "lackluster" to say the least, both in terms of town politics and also RTC matters. Allegedly, a meeting quorum (13 of 25 total board seats) has only been achieved a handful of times in 2023, and many RTC seats remained vacant until a sudden burst of activity last December when all of the vacancies were filled.
The RTC has surprisingly failed to sponsor Republican candidates for town government, often leaving incumbent Democrats to run completely unopposed or against very relaxed Republican opponents who have no expectations of winning.
Door-to-door campaigning is almost unheard of in Weston, while lawn signs for the Republican slate commonly appear weeks after Democrat signs go up in force. Too late to make an impact, according to Republicans familiar with the situation.
At the town level, Democrats run all mission critical boards (e.g., the Board of Finance, Board of Education, Board of Selectmen, etc.), which naturally limits the voices of those who may not be in agreement with large spending projects or current strategies for school academic achievement and safety, for instance.
The result, according to the newcomers, is a lack of vibrant discourse. Plus, Democrats get what they want. Pretty much all of the time because they have been largely unchallenged. The ultimate impact of their radical progressive policies is steadily increasing property taxes and stagnancy in the quality of education being provided to Weston students.
Both of these issues have, in turn, suppressed property values.
The fiscal conservatives wanted a seat at the table, and an opportunity to try to change the trajectory on key issues.
Ultimately, 16 newcomers faced off against 25 incumbents, more commonly known as the "old guard" RTC board members, at the January 9, 2024, caucus.
Participation was robust, as the newcomers worked hard to rally the troops, eager to ensure their voices would be reflected in the new RTC board composition.
Registration opened at 7:15pm. The caucus was set to start at 7:30pm, and late entry would not be permitted.
But when the "old guard" arrived at check in, they were surprised by the large number of newcomers who found their way to the normally sleepy event. So surprised that the old guard members whipped out their phones, and dialed as fast as they could to round up more of "their people" for the caucus.
An influx of people subsequently appeared, but after 7:30pm when the doors were supposed to have been closed. That rule was ignored, and the late arrivals were allowed to join the caucus, delaying the start time for some 30 minutes.
By now it had become a standing room only affair.
It was quite possibly the biggest turnout the Weston RTC has ever seen for any caucus.
The newcomers reported other issues with rules during the caucus (e.g., being prevented from nominating additional candidates from the floor, which they allege is contrary to the RTC bylaws). They also felt the rules were biased in favor of incumbents.
Despite these issues, nine newcomers won RTC board seats, thanks to support from many friends and neighbors who showed up on that rainy night.
While the newcomers didn't win a majority, they do represent a large bloc of Weston Republicans who plan on making sure their voices are heard.
And they are already talking about expanding their presence after the 2026 RTC caucus.