South Windsor town council candidate withdraws after controversi - WFSB 3 Connecticut

South Windsor town council candidate withdraws after controversial Vegas post

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A Facebook post by South Windsor town council candidate Ritu Goel is causing controversy. (Facebook) A Facebook post by South Windsor town council candidate Ritu Goel is causing controversy. (Facebook)

A woman running for town council in South Windsor is withdrawing from the race following a controversial social media post about the Las Vegas shooting.

The horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas left many people upset and outraged. They took to social media to voice their opinions, including Ritu Goel.

"Prayers for Las Vegas. People who are in favor of guns should have been on that strip,” Ritu Goel wrote.

The one time Democratic candidate posted the comment on Facebook.

Wednesday, she released a statement after receiving backlash.

 “For the safety of my family I am withdrawing my candidacy for town council. I will also step down from the South Windsor Alliance for Progress because I do not want to jeopardize their great work. I am afraid for the safety of my kids, my husband and my mom who is just visiting. I have lived here for 23 years, and that beautiful life has been threatened. My professional life is at stake. Last night I went to the police station accompanied by some fellow Democrats, to ask for police protection. 

“We recently celebrated diversity in this town. But that is not what I have experienced in the last 24 hours. The calls I am getting not only insult me, but insult our diverse team running for Town Council. The signs for our non-white candidates have been taken off lawns. Another caller said one candidate is “an idiot.” 

“Politics has become a blood sport in South Windsor. My one badly worded, emotional painful Facebook post was taken out of context and exploited by our political opponents on social media and news channels. An apology has not stopped the hate directed towards me and my family.   

 “I have never advocated violence against anyone, nor did my social media comment. What I expressed is complete frustration with the lack of sensible gun controls and my hope that those who support the NRA in believing that guns are more important than lives will see the Las Vegas tragedy and change their minds.   

“Kathy Dougherty and the Republicans claim there is “no room for hate” in our town. I would urge her and her colleagues to start at home. Start by truly listening to one another instead of demonizing for the sake of political gain. Think about embracing the frustration everyone is feeling, and find bipartisan solutions to prevent more tragedies. We desperately need to change the culture of this town and our country." 

The remark also caught the attention of the town's mayor.

"Absolute horror and disgust that anyone could even think these things rather than put them in writing,” said South Windsor Mayor Carolyn Mirek.

Besides the town's mayor, people in the community also strongly criticized Goel's comments.

"I think it's a pretty awful thing to say. I do not support guns but I would never say anything like that,” said Gloria Ranney, of South Windsor.

"Even if you don't agree with gun rights I don't think it's ok to say they should be dead,” said Jeff Dileone, of South Windsor.

In an article in the Journal Inquirer, Goel defended her post even elaborating further saying “I’m against guns, and if people are going to advocate about guns and lobby for guns when innocent people died in the streets, then those people should be on the strip to see how it feels to be shot by those guns."

On Tuesday, on the South Windsor Republican Town Committee's Facebook page, there was a screenshot of an alleged apology by Goel, which said in part, "I realize my comment last night was insensitive and misguided, and I want to apologize once again to anyone who was offended."

"I think she realized the consequences of her actions and now she has remorse. It's unfortunate it ever occurred,” Mirek said.

While outspoken on Facebook, Goel did not return calls or emails on Tuesday from Channel 3. Eyewitness News also stopped by her home but she never came to the door.

Many people in town wanted Goel to withdraw her candidacy following the post.

"I just don't think she should be running for office,” Dileone said.

Goel is also a real estate agent with Dzen Realty.

Channel 3 reached out to them to see if she is still employed but did not hear back.

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