September 28, 2022

Letter to the Editor: Shoemaker Explains Decision to Run for Old Lyme’s ‘Top Job’ + BOE, Seeks Broad Support From Voters

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Residents of Old Lyme:

I am running for First Selectwoman of our town and I hope to earn the support of all our citizens whether they be Democrat, Republican, or Unaffiliated.  Old Lyme residents deserve a leader who will listen to their concerns, create sound fiscal budgets, and bring consensus among diverse groups working toward the common goal of improving our town.  I will prepare this town for the challenges of the future. My decision to run was prompted by overwhelming resident concerns that these critical responsibilities were not being met. I am confident that my skill-set and prior experience will enable me to address these issues

During my 35-year career as a public-school teacher I worked collaboratively with fellow teachers, administration, and parents to provide a quality education for students.  I served as the union president for the last twelve years of my tenure.  Mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills are tools that I incorporated to bring consensus between people.  These experiences will be crucial as First Selectwoman.  I am currently Co-Chair of the Lyme/Old Lyme Prevention Coalition (LOLPC) and President of the Friends of the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. I am passionate about public service and believe there is a benefit for the entire Old Lyme community in being able to integrate activities, align networks and identify compatible and complementary opportunities among organizations.  

I am also running for re-election to the Region 18 Board of Education. I was first elected to the Board for a four-year term in 2017 after retiring from teaching.  Public education has been and is an integral part of my life and is critically important to the residents of Old Lyme.  I have enjoyed working on the Board of Education and look forward to contributing to the Regional District 18 Strategic Plan beginning in the fall of 2021.

The role of First Selectwoman is to serve the community of Old Lyme and to maintain, and where appropriate improve, the quality of town assets and services for our citizens.  I will respect the trust you place in me to lead our town.  If also re-elected to the Board of Education, I will continue to collaborate with the other eight members of the board to make the best decisions we can for the public education our students deserve. 

I look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail.


Martha H. Shoemaker,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the Democratic-endorsed candidate for Old Lyme First Selectwoman and also one of the four Democratic-endorsed candidates for the Region 18 Board of Education, on which she currently serves.


  1. We certainly need everything you mention, and I look forward to hearing these issues discussed further during the campaign. Your skill set would be a great asset to the Town, as it is on the Board of Education. Having served 8 years on the BOE and a combined 10 years on Old Lyme land use boards, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is for Town government and District 18 to function openly and transparently, and to work together smoothly. Thank you for running.

  2. Martha Shoemaker has the skillset we need in Town Hall. She knows how to listen, how to integrate complicated, and perhaps conflicting pieces of information, and come to a considered, intelligent conclusion. Martha understands the critical challenges that face Old Lyme in the future, from environmental challenges to the challenges of a homogeneous and aging population. Old Lyme would not only be privileged to have such a capable leader, Old Lyme needs Martha’s leadership.

  3. Suzanne S McCormack says

    You will definitely have my vote Martha! I’m tired of having an unresponsive first selectman. I have concerns about managing growth, holding down costs and taxes and most especially the traffic that now clogs my road and makes it dangerous to walk on. Our previous selectman installed a speed sign registering how fast people were traveling. The traffic slowed and the road conditions improved.
    Immediately after Mr. Griswold took office the sign was removed and the racetrack in front of my house resumed. Quality of life should count for something.

  4. Bill Folland says

    Let’s assume Mrs. Shoemaker is elected First Selectman, how effected can she be when the two Republican candidates would automatically become the Second Selectmem. Lets assume Mrs. Shoemaker wins both the First Selectman and School board position, wouldn’t this be a violation of the towns Code of Ethics?

    Her decision to seek both positions seems more of a play to hedge her bets not to effectively serve the residents of Old Lyme.

  5. Dear Bill,

    Two issues with your letter:

    1) The two Republicans running for Board of Selectmen would NOT automatically become “second selectmen”. In order for that to happen, they would both have to also out-poll the Democratic nominee for selectman, Jim Lampos, who is running alongside Ms. Shoemaker. Jim is a formidable candidate. He deserves all of our support.

    2) Region 18 Board of Education is separate and distinct from the government of the Town of Old Lyme. As well as she can walk and chew gum at the same time, Ms. Shoemaker is more than qualified and eligible to serve in both capacities.

    You may recall that in the most recent municipal election, the present first selectman ran for town treasurer as well as first selectman. Was he hedging his bets?

    You may also note that our present first selectman holds at least two elected offices within town government, the other as a member of the Board of Assessment Appeals. Would you like to refer this matter to the town’s Ethics Commission?

  6. Thomas D. Gotowka says

    Thank you, Mr. Hunt, for clarifying the process of electing our select-men and -women. I had just begun my own research into the issue that was incorrectly asserted in that earlier comment.

  7. Bill Folland says

    You are correct, our current First Selectman holds two elected positions, this is nor unusual or against state law as the two politions do not constitute a conflict of interest in violation of the town’s Ethics Code as would be the case with Shoemakers candidicy for a municipal and school District position.

    Routinely the Board of Selectman and School District Board of Education deal with operational and budget issues effecting the other. Consider Mrs. Shoemaker, as the towns First Selrecman, voting on any District 18 issue, she would have to recuse herself or be in violation of the towns Ethic Code. Please read the code, it states that a conflict of interest is present even when there is the appearance of a conflict. This issue should be brought to attention of the towns Ombudsman,for an opinion.

  8. Bill Folland says

    One last point,If the current First Selectman and candidate Lampos are successful in the upcoming election they both would hold two elected positions. Neither candidate would be in violation of the towns Ethics Code. I agree that holding duel elected positions is never desirable.

  9. Bill Folland says

    In defense of our current First Selectman and candidate Lampos decision to seek two elected municipal positions please refer to Sec. 9-210 of our state statutes, it’s covered there.

  10. Patricia Rand says

    Somehow I don’t feel that Lampos should hold or run for two Offices in town as it can conflict with one or the other. office. Also, I know this is already written in the sand so to speak but it has always bothered me that our section of the shoreline has been called many things but “the other place “kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth. We live on the opposite side of Rt 156, in a year-round house with our own well and septic system and never have had a problem in 40 yrs, except a new well as the old one was hand-dug, So why are we expected to pay a huge amount out to city sewer in our retirement years when we are supposed to enjoy our lives?I also have wondered why the entire town could vote on this when no town money is being used to help defray the cost to the people that do live here.I see many are selling out and moving after owning here for years but can’t afford the cost of the sewer. Just don’t agree on paying in the thousands for not needing any of this sewer.I couldn’t get to any meetings because of my illness and do hope someone actually reads this and agrees with me . Thank You

  11. Bill Folland says

    The bad actors in this sewer plan begin and in with an incompatant and conflicted town commission, the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA). This decisions made by this agency needs a hard review by higher authorities. Anything less is unacceptable.