The Coventry Town Council meeting last night featured a new low in dirty tricks for a political campaign, coming directly from the campaign of Republican, Tim Ackert.  Mr. Ackert is running against Joan Lewis for the 8th Assembly District.

The Ackert for the 8th campaign was out of line and breached the boundary of good taste when they disrespected the Town Council by attempting to promote their candidate during the meeting.  It was not an accident, it was not unplanned it was clearly premeditated and offensive.

Jeff Shorts, campaign treasurer for Republican Tim Ackert showed a lack of respect for the Town Council and the citizens of Coventry when he wore a shirt promoting Tim Ackert and made a blatant attempt to gain television exposure for the campaign during the meeting.  There is a time and place for campaigning and the Town Council meeting is clearly not the time or place.

Mr. Shorts selected a seat position so as to expose the back of his shirt to the camera on any wide angel shot during the meeting.  He intentionally covered the shirt with his jacket until the meeting was underway and the first wide angle shot was being taken.  He clearly watched the in room television monitor to time the removal of his jacket so as to gain exposure.  He then sat forward to maximize the view of the back of his shirt and the promotion of the campaign name and slogan.

Credit cameraman Dave Lamore, for recognizing the political stunt as the dirty trick that it was and his attempts with new camera angles to remove political posturing from the meeting should be recognized and applauded.  Dave was challenged by the situation but did an exceptional job.  Mr. Lamore understands the need for decorum, decency and neutrality during the Town Council meetings.

Mr. Shorts on the other hand, once thwarted in his stunt made one final act of crass behavior as he rose and walked in front of the camera once again in an attempt to gain exposure.  Yes he could have waited, for a different camera angle, used a different door, covered his shirt or just politely waited but his motive was obvious and predictable.

Candidates can and should have a difference of opinion and offer voters alternatives but there should never be a lack of respect for decent behavior.  The voters of the 8th district deserve good ethical candidates running hard to inform voters about the issues.  The voters do not need dirty tricks, and questionable ethics in any campaign.  This type of behavior should not come from the Republicans or the Democrats.  It should be abhorred by every voter and citizen in the 8th district.

Campaign signs for Lewis have mysteriously disappeared in the dark of night; letters to the editor have referred to ethics and now this tasteless stunt.  The Ackert campaign should reflect the candidate and if this is any reflection Coventry, Vernon and Columbia should support Joan Lewis.


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