South Windsor town council candidate withdraws candidacy after facing backlash for controversial Facebook post

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SOUTH WINDSOR – A local woman running for town council is withdrawing her candidacy after getting some backlash after a Facebook status she posted and then deleted.

Someone took a screenshot of it and since then, it has been shared all over social media. Her post was in reaction to the tragedy in Las Vegas, but town officials said she took it too far.

Town Council candidate, Ritu Goel of South Windsor wrote, “Prayers to Las Vegas. People who are in favor of guns should have been on that strip.”

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was reading,” said Councilwoman Cindy Beaulieu.

Shortly after the post was put up, Goel deleted it but it was too late. People were already frustrated and upset.

“Something like this is very divisive and contrary to our beliefs,” said Mayor Carolyn Mirek.

In response, Mayor Mirek posted a YouTube video to let everyone know Goel’s post does not represent the town’s views.

The South Windsor Republican Town Committee also reacted and wrote #PromotePeace.

“It’s appalling. I’ve gotten numerous emails and texts and Facebook messages from people very appalled and frustrated,” added Mayor Mirek.

On Wednesday, Goel issued a statement regarding her withdrawl:

 “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.

“I urge the voters of South Windsor to vote on November 7 for a leadership team that understands we are far better than this.”

FOX61 went to Goel’s home in South Windsor and knocked on her door several times but got no reply. Mayor Mirek said Goel was at Monday’s Public Input meeting and brought up the post and said it came out of anger.

However, town officials responded and said that is no excuse.

Councilman Matthew Riley also came forward and issued a statement that said, “Ritu Goel’s comments are hers and hers alone. They do not reflect the values embedded in the character of this community.”

“You can delete a post and you can say you didn’t mean it. At the end of the day, those words were there,” added Beaulieu.

The mayor said the town manager is well aware of the situation and said it is up to Goel to make up for what she said. FOX61 also reached out to Goel through Facebook and by phone, but did not get a reply back.