Swick Speak

A blog devoted to political and economic topics in today's society.

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Location: Wallingford, Connecticut, United States

I have been an educator for 33 years teaching over twenty courses in business and economics on a part time basis for several different colleges and universities here in Connecticut. I have a Bachelors of Science in Journalism and a Masters of Science in Economics. I also enjoy writing about and collecting football memorabilia. I am a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association and a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers. I also publish Gridiron Greats Magazine.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Vote Tom Laffin For Wallingford Town Council

Wallingford Town Council Vice Chairman Tom Laffin is running for reelection this November.  Tom is an articulate and soft-spoken individual on the council who is concerned with neither ego nor fan fare as he looks at and decides on the issues of our community.  I am impressed with his knowledge on issues and his ability to communicate his thoughts to the public.  He has a desire to serve our town. He and his family are active in our community. 

From his campaign literature and website:

I have met a ton of people over the past couple of years while working on, and working to be on, the Town Council.  I am still knocking on doors, chatting with people at events like Celebrate Wallingford, youth football and soccer games, or bumping into them at the grocery store, seeking very real, personal interactions...and a lot of people say to me, “you’re a young guy, with kids, why are you doing this?”

I’m 35 years old.  I’m told I look younger than that, but with a 9 and 7 year old running around and me chasing after them, I feel much, much older.  I have been involved in some sort of service my entire life, and when I graduated college I wanted to continue doing that, so I got involved.  For over 13 years I have served in various posts - I served on the Inland Wetlands Commission, I was elected to the Board of Education when I was 25, I served multiple terms as PTO Vice President, a Cub Scout Leader, and in my second term as a town councilor I was elected as Vice Chairman.  I love all of these positions because in each one of them, I get to be a part of a team looking to make our town more than just another town, but a community.

I have a record of fiscal responsibility - cutting added lines out of the budget, not being afraid to say ‘no’ to some spending requests, but I also have a record of supporting programs and spending to keep our town healthy and safe through my support of the overall budget.

I have a record of being responsive to neighbors’ needs, by working with other town leaders and staff to get things fixed in town, such as blight in our neighborhoods.

I have a record of keeping things moving and focused on what is best for the town, whether it is voting with the members of the other party to sell the American Legion or with my own party to move the issues along and keep us from getting bogged down in unproductive issues and investigations.

I have a record of sticking to my principles even when it was contrary to getting what we all wanted, such as when I voted against the use of eminent domain.

I have a record of choosing to govern rather than make things political.  I'm not a big talker, because I have learned the fastest way to get someplace is to take the straightest possible route, and I have found the fastest route is usually the quietest route which, unfortunately, is difficult when politics are involved. 

But I don’t like to think of what I do as politics, but rather as service - this is my way to help.  Politics, however, is often a necessary evil, like these campaigns, that unfortunately gets in the way of governing at times.  Governing, just like parenting, is a tricky thing - if you do it right, it will appear to be seamless, people won’t be sure you did anything at all...that is until they reach a point of appreciation or reflection...like every November.

Someone once said, ‘decisions are made by the people that show up’...

In 1670, 126 people got together and settled in what we now know as Wallingford. 126 people picked up their lives and sought something better than what they had and they showed up here and chose to be a part of something bigger. Look where we are today, because a few people showed up.

I believe Tom Laffin should continue to serve as one of our Town Councilors.  He has a professional approach to issues and problems.  His leadership is essential in 2015 and beyond.  Vote Tom Laffin in November.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

JP Bolat For Wallingford Board of Education

One of our current Wallingford Board of Education members is running for reelection.  Jean-Pierre Bolat is an articulate, intellectual and focused member of our current Board.  JP has a strong value and belief system that to me is precise with an emphasis on personal self sufficiency along with self responsibility.  He is a product of the same Wallingford School System that he is a Board member on now.
Here is some information from his website and campaign literature:
JP attended Parker Farms Elementary School, Moran Middle School, and Mark T. Sheehan High School, where he was elected President of his Senior Class, President of the National Honor Society, and All-Housatonic League soccer player. In addition, JP earned his Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouting, in 1983. Graduating from Sheehan as salutatorian, JP was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, by then Senator Lowell Weicker, Jr. and went on to graduate with distinction in 1987, beginning his career as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.
Designated a Naval Flight Officer in 1989, he has logged over 2,000 flight hours in the P-3C Orion as a Mission Commander, Tactical Coordinator, and Navigator/Communicator. In addition to earning numerous aviation and shipboard qualifications, JP was nominated three times by the U.S. Navy as a Mission Specialist candidate to the NASA Astronaut selection board. Throughout his naval career, JP visited or lived in over 26 countries, and volunteered many off-duty hours teaching and helping local communities. While at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, JP instituted and taught NASA’s Young Astronauts program to 4th graders and remained active in boy scouting throughout his career. In 1998, JP was inducted to the Mark T. Sheehan Hall of Fame. 
Upon retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2007, JP commenced a career in international business as Senior Director of Business Development, Public Sector, Education & Healthcare for Oracle Corporation Japan. In 2009, he started his own consulting company with offices in Tokyo and Connecticut and in 2010, he relocated back to his hometown.
JP’s academic accomplishments include earning a Bachelor of Science in English with a minor in French from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (1987); a Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey,
California (1995); and an Executive MBA from Temple University’s Fox School of Business (2008).
JP has three beautiful children in the Wallingford Public School system who are very active in academics, clubs, music, and athletics. As a proud and vested father, he continues to work and support Wallingford schools through volunteering at events and serving on the Board of Education.

 I feel JP Bolat is a qualified individual whose thoughts, views and opinion should be part of a dynamic Board of Education.  I urge my fellow Wallingford voters to re elect him this November.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Shauna Glidden For Wallingford Board Of Education

Another one of my votes in this November's election will be going to Shauna Glidden for Wallingford Board of Education.  She is an articulate individual who has three children and has been active in many organizations including the PTO, Cub Scouts, the Wallingford Hawks and Wallingford Works Wonders.
Here is some information from her website and campaign literature:

Reasons for Running

I am a parent and a Wallingford resident and tax payer. As such, I have a vested interest in the policies and decisions made by the Board of Education. But what has motivated me to run for this office is who I am as a person. By my very nature I have always been an advocate driven by my desire to make the world a better place. Every step I have taken in my life has been to facilitate this goal. Nelson Mandela stated:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Nelson Mandela

One of the most important things we can do as a society is educate our youth. Education is the key to ending all of the worlds problems. Societies in which the majority of the population has received excellent education are less violent, more economically successful and have less disparity.

Core Beliefs

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
Margaret Mead

Education is about teaching students how to use all of the information available to them to formulate  their own opinions, concepts and ideas. Then teaching them to take the things they have learned and apply them to the world around them.

All students regardless of race, religion, socio-economic standing, age or ability should receive the best education possible. It is our duty as a society to ensure that the students of today become  the best possible people of tomorrow.
I urge my fellow Wallingford voters to vote for Shauna Glidden for Board of Education this November.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Joe Marrone For Wallingford Town Council

I am using one of my votes in November to elect Joe Marrone to the Town Council.  Mr. Marrone has done an excellent job in my opinion as a member of the Board of Education.  He shows a great deal of leadership qualities and characteristics in his actions and has spent a great deal of time in examining all sides of the issues that come before the Board of Education.  That allows him to make in my opinion valid and effective votes on all topics.  Being a parent with three sons in the school system, Mr. Marrone takes an active role in what is actually going on in our schools with an eye to the future through articulate ideas.  I can see him being a productive voice when he gets elected to the Town Council transferring these same qualities to the debate in that governing board.

From his website and campaign literature:
  1. Stands up for families -  I have young children and family is very important to me.  I consistently push for greater access to the public schools and more parental involvement.  Just this year, I fought for greater ability for parents to question curricular decisions in schools.  I am involved in Scouting because I believe it helps families to raise responsible children.
  2. Here for the long haul -  Ours is a town that attracts families from all over to locate here.  Many of these families will relocate once their children are finished with our excellent pubic schools.  I grew up in town and my family and I are here to stay. 
  3. Responsible with your money - In my time on the Board of Education, I voted against a number of proposed budgets because I did not believe that they were sustainable over time.  Responsible government is always thrifty and tax dollars are money that belongs to my friends and neighbors.  Elected officials should take greater care with other people's money than they do with their own.
  4. Here to help, not here to make noise -  I am a dad, and as a dad sometimes you need to be there to fix things, and sometimes you need to stand on the sidelines.  If you follow town government, you will note that I am never the one to go out of my way to grab a headline or a soundbite.  This type of grandstanding is all too common, and is frankly a counterproductive waste of your time.
  5. Respects the traditions of our town -   We have a well run Electric Division, great police and fire service and great town services.  There is always room to improve every service, but we need to focus on what is really vital and be cautious about expanding services in a time when tax dollars are so tight.
  6. Running for the right reasons -  I have enjoyed my nearly 6 years on the Board of Education working to help children and families and I believe I can do more on the Town Council.  If the voters don't choose me, Wallingford will still be a great town.  I think that my background and common sense approach to government will be an asset to the town.  
  7. Is not afraid to stand alone - Reasonable adults can disagree about a great many things.  I have stood alone on a number of issues on the Board, including the budget, excessive early dismissals, and school snack policy.  I would be no different on the Council.
  8. Not interested in trends and fads -  We have major issues facing our town, including improvements to the water treatment plant, businesses leaving our town and a stagnant grand list.  These are the things we need to focus on.  There are plenty of minor issues that we can talk about, but they are often a distraction to real function of government.
  9. Is forward thinking - I am always interested in what will not only serve us today, but will help us tomorrow.  After careful consideration, I supported the cost saving and education enhancing reconfiguration of the elementary schools.  
  10. Is open minded -  I am a proud Republican, however, a good idea is a good idea.  We currently have outstanding Democrats on the Council and I would be happy to work with them on any issue for the betterment of the people of Wallingford.

I urge my fellow Wallingford voters to vote for Joe Marrone for Town Council this November.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Chris Shortell For Wallingford Town Council

One of my votes for Wallingford Town Council will be going to Republican candidate Chris Shortell. He is an energetic and established candidate who offers a variety of different and useful ideas.  He has done an excellent job in my opinion as a member of the Wallingford Board of Education.  He is a family man with two wonderful children.   
Some thoughts from his campaign information:
Fiscal restraint
We are stewards of the taxpayer’s money, and with that comes the responsibility to look for creative solutions and make tough decisions. On the BOE, I’m proud that we implemented Early Childhood Education programs--including Full Day Kindergarten and expanded Pre-School--for a fraction of the cost originally proposed a year ago.  We did this thanks to grant money and by shifting resources from other areas where class sizes had become too small. 

However, the harsh reality of municipal budgets is that personnel and benefit expenses make up the vast majority of the cost.  These expenses are contractually locked in for years at time due to collective bargaining agreements.  With the “Cadillac Tax” coming in 2018 thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), we are going to need to work closely with the town’s unions to find equitable solutions to the rising costs of employee benefits. 
Preserving our town and its heritage
When I think of Wallingford’s heritage, I think of summer evenings spent on my grandparents’ porch on Hall Avenue, watching the trains and listening to stories about World War II. I think of visiting my mom in her classroom at Lyman Hall in the 70s and 80s, and how so many of her fellow teachers were like extended family for us (and still are).  I think of my dad and all of the great people who worked at Dime Savings Bank, the last “hometown” bank in town, and where I had the privilege to work for several summers.
As a Town Councilor, I can’t turn back the clock and bring the “old days” back!  But I can support initiatives that help preserve the best parts of Wallingford--from the improvements underway at our historic Center Street Cemetery, to the open space, funding the fireworks, to the Wallingford Public Library--we have many organizations and initiatives and events that help make our town special. 
As we look to the future, we know there are many challenges that face us:  growing our tax base, downtown development, and modernizing our employee benefit packages in advance of the Cadillac Tax, to name a few.  Robert Frost once wrote that “It is immodest of a man to think of himself as going down before the worst forces ever mobilized by God.”  He was rejecting society’s tendency to view the current challenges as insurmountable.  So many generations have worked and sacrificed to make our town the great place to live that it is today.  They overcame great challenges.  Now, it’s our turn to carry that work forward, and make it even better for our children, and theirs. 

I feel Chris Shortell would be an excellent candidate for Town Council.  I urge fellow Wallingford voters to vote for him in November.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Amanda Doerr For Wallingford Board Of Education

One of my votes for Wallingford Board of Education will be going to Republican candidate Amanda Doerr.  She is an energetic candidate wise beyond her youth who offers a variety of new ideas and thoughts to the Board of Education here in Wallingford.  I was truly impressed talking with her and giving me her thoughts and opinions on education and our youth today.  Her involvement in our community is wide reaching being on the Board of Directors of SCOW (Spanish Community of Wallingford) along with being a mentor and tutor for SCOW.  In my opinion she is a role model for the young people she is mentoring and is having a strong and positive influence on these young people.  She wishes to foster a creative, supportive atmosphere for our Wallingford youth to lay the foundation for present and future success.  For High School students she sees the need for experiential education to help them for the future.
I feel Amanda Doerr would be an excellent candidate for Board of Education and would contribute a great deal to Wallingford.   I urge fellow Wallingford voters to vote for her in November.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The New Face Of The Connecticut Democrats

Each year our political and economic climate changes.  Some years there seems to be more change than in other years.  Here in Connecticut I live in Wallingford, a fiscally conservative community that is efficiently run with low electric rates and low property taxes as compared to other communities in the state.  Wallingford is run by a strong Mayor/Town Council form of government that is governed by a majority of Republicans.
With the local elections coming up in several weeks we see a new face and new dynamic for the Connecticut Democrat Party.  If one is a registered Democrat here in Connecticut I am wondering if they will start to embrace even more this new face of their party.
For example their Governor will be forced over the next few weeks to hand over information/emails as to how they both justified and funded legally their "Pro-Malloy" mailing right before last year's election without any legal ruling by the Federal Election Commission.  The mailing in my opinion clearly violated the states clean-election laws that were passed back in 2004.  The information if it is actually given to the SEEC should be an informative read for taxpayers and voters.
Another example is how their State Legislature controlled by Democrats was able to circumvent the State Constitutional Spending Law and Cap by once again moving at will money off budget so it did not count to the already deficit ridden and bloated state budget.  No explanation was given by these Democrats.
Also we look at the actual Connecticut state budget process whereby $40 billion dollars in state spending passes with no debate on the last day of the legislative session through a sequestered dictate decreed by the Democrat Party in both the House and Senate.  Taxpayers and the Republican legislatures once again are left out of the actual debate of $40 billion dollars of spending.
Bridgeport is also another example of the new face and new dynamic of the Connecticut Democrat Party as I am to assume that the Governor's second chance program for felons and convicts is also embraced for former Mayors who were convicted felons to once again run for office.  The same office that the former Mayor pillaged for his personal gain and spent seven years in prison for.  The state's prisons could be a new area for the Connecticut Democrat Party to recruit new candidates from in the future especially for local and state offices.  I am wondering why many of the state's Connecticut Congressional delegation are not seeking photo opportunities and or embracing their new candidate in Bridgeport?
To me the new face of the Connecticut Democrat Party is a lot like the old face; corrupt, self serving, dictatorial and a total disrespect for rules and laws that govern us.  With Connecticut's local elections coming up I really wonder why we entrust our local governments to this type of political obedience and rule?  Maybe it is time for both the old and new faces of the Connecticut Republican Party to be embraced to lead Connecticut in 2016 and forward in the future to undo the many years of the false promises, lies and economic demise and decay that the many false faces of the Connecticut Democrat Party have enslaved us with for too many years now.