Republicans need not be disappointed in the outcome of this past local election. After major defeats in all levels of government again, it is time for a new chapter of Republicanism in the state of Connecticut. A time to reflect on what we have learned and truly embrace the philosophical change for which we have been searching for the better part of a decade.

Though Heather Somers and Tom Foley made a valiant effort providing a solid foundation for our party going forward, we need to remind ourselves the purpose of government is to make the entire citizenry better off, not feed already bloated budgets and enrich public and private special interests. Connecticut has always been the cradle of innovation and a lower tax haven for entrepreneurs seeking refuge from our over-taxed neighboring states to the north, east, and west. Unfortunately, under super-majority Democratic leadership we have become virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the North East, with high unemployment, low productivity, population losses, and anemic economic growth.

As Republicans, our party needs to stop complaining and start offering meaningful ideas and real leadership to grow our local economies. The Democrat’s model of centralized, obtrusive, one-size-fits-all government is clearly unsustainable. Other innovative states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, North Carolina, and South Carolina under Republican leadership have already turned the corner and become blueprints for prosperity and success. Even newly installed Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo from Rhode Island (trained in Connecticut at Yale University Law School) understands the need to embrace conservative values, entitlement reform, and fiscal responsibility for her state to survive.

Our party’s recent pattern of nominating machine-endorsed candidates has been a colossal failure perennially. Republicans must adopt a “best candidate for the job” mentality and allow Convention and Primary dynamics be more inclusionary of all potential candidates. We have to accept reality that the best financed candidate might not be the most electable candidate. Our future leaders and candidates should represent all demographics, be preferably a home grown ‘Connecticut Yankee’, and have an ironclad resume of reform, leadership, and vision steeped in Connecticut values, i.e. New England sensibility, highly educated, proven integrity, realizes the importance of rights pertaining to individuals and property, and not afraid of hard work.

My fellow Republicans, we have not lost this past election. Rather, we have finally turned the page and have received a welcomed and well-deserved wake up call. Failure has allowed us to throw away the old play book and take a step in a new direction. We do not need rich candidates, nor old political workhorses. Our mission is to find candidates that resonate with today’s voters. As a party, we can supply the support and finances to put this new breed of modern Republican over the win line. We must be diligent and offer leadership this great state demands of us. It’s time for new leadership to rally our existing Republican base and reach out to all those former Republicans we now call Independents. It’s time to take Connecticut back.

John Lucarelli is a member of the Greenwich Republican Town Committee and the Greenwich RTM.