Butterly, who is unaffiliated and is seeking a third term as First Selectman, produced public documents that showed he voted in each of the last 19 elections that Woodbury balloters took part in. That includes two referendums by absentee ballot in 2016, when he was recovering from open heart surgery.
Butterly also produced a public document from the same source, the Connecticut Voter Registration System, which shows that Dowd, the Republican candidate, has voted five times since 2008, though she has lived in Woodbury for 15 years.
“For somebody who says, ‘I’ve been thinking about doing this for a year,’ you’ve never voted in anything,” Butterly said during an interview with Just Woodbury. “Even this year, you didn’t vote for the budget, you didn’t vote against the budget. You didn’t vote for the school budget, you didn’t vote for who is going to be on your board of education, your board of finance, your board of selectmen, but you’re terribly concerned about Woodbury. It doesn’t add up.”
Butterly pointed out that Dowd voted in the general elections in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016, as well as in the 2016 primary. Butterly speculated that Dowd, a former senior vice president for pharmaceutical firm Boehringer-Ingelheim, only voted in presidential and mid-term elections for professional reasons – that she needed to vote for the candidates that support Big Pharma.
Butterly said he has only missed one election, and that was in 1968. Butterly said he was working on a campaign in Watertown, left his home in Danbury early that morning, and realized he’d left before the polls had opened.
Dowd, a political newcomer, surprised the Republican Town Committee at its July caucus by seeking the candidacy and then accepting the nomination to run for First Selectman. Butterly said she had no idea who Dowd was because he had never seen her at any town meetings.
“Normally, someone who is interested in it generally scopes it out, goes to meetings, that’s generally what they would do,” Butterly said.
Dowd said she was surprised Butterly doesn’t know who she is, because she serves on the town’s Business and Economic Development Committee, and was appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
“Look what we did with the BEDC,” Dowd said. “We were the most productive board under the selectmen.”
Dowd said since she accepted her appointment in October 2016, she helped the BEDC produce the Passport to Woodbury tourism guide, arranged meetings with the state tourism board, updated the town website with the business resource guide, and worked with businesses in town to get them exposure of the CTVisits.com tourism site.
Since a restructuring left her without a job at Boehringer-Ingelheim in June 2016, Dowd said she has also been helping her husband, Wayne Mattox, market his antiques business. Her mother also recently passed away, and Dowd was busy doing work on the estate. She also had reconstructive surgery on her left foot.
“I spent a little more time with BEDC than Wayne’s business,” Dowd said. “But that’s how I gave back to the town, making sure the businesses were supported.”
Dowd acknowledged in an interview with Just Woodbury that she has not voted on everything locally, but denies that she only voted in national elections, and says she has voted on major issues.
Butterly noted that Dowd did not vote in the school budget or town budget referendums. Dowd said she did not vote in those elections because she does not have first-hand knowledge of those dynamics.
“For me to just go in and cast that vote for the sake of voting, that was not something that, at that time, I prioritized,” Dowd said. “Obviously, in the office and serving, I’m going to be on top of all those issues, sitting with the board of education and understanding what their drivers are.”
As for the board and committee meetings, Dowd said Butterly is implying that she should have been at all of them. Dowd said she has been reading all the minutes, but has not been sitting in the audience.
“But obviously, as a leader in a role, I would be omnipresent,” Dowd said. “I throw myself into any initiative and any role. How I have behaved the past year is not for him to judge.”
Dowd added that American voters are “not into the Twitter rants and the negativity,” and hopes the election will be based on what each candidate can do for Woodbury.
“People don’t want the mudslinging and the negativity,” Dowd said. “They might remember the inflammatory headline, but people don’t want that anymore. That’s not what is going to drive people to vote.”