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.

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