Suffield Connecticut is a beautiful town. Let's get that out of the way right now. Every side-street turn gives you a look at yet another old tobacco barn...a rolling field...a distant ridge with stunning foliage. It's pretty much "typical New England" - and the politics feel that way, too. We chose the town because of it's mix of Republicans, Democrats and Independents - and it was pretty clear that there are some big differences in town. But it was equally obvious that people of various political stripes get along pretty well together. We broadcast from the Kent Memorial Library, an incredibly beautiful building...if, like me, you love mid-century modernism (leaky roof notwithstanding).
One of the big issues in town, the library expansion referendum, we didn't get to...but the other, the biodiesel plant, we did. It tied in nicely with the overarching theme of national politics mixing with the local. If John McCain or Barack Obama want to create "green collar" jobs, they've got to be somewhere - and they can't promise them all to outsourced steelworkers and coal miners in swing states.
Suffield's attempt to put a biodiesel plant here failed because of local opposition - but only one person in our crowd of about 30 people raised their hand when I asked for opponents.
One guest made the connection from this battle over local siting of projects to a larger national debate over energy infrastructure, a story given front page treatment in today's Hartford Courant.