Meet the Republican candidates for East Hartford Town Council
By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Mon., Oct. 28, 2013
The following candidates are running for Town Council on the Republican ticket. These are their answers to what they believe is the most important issue to face the Council in the year ahead and why they believe they are qualified to sit on the Town Council:
I believe the most important issue facing the East Hartford Town Council is the town’s budget and taxes. Currently we have the fourth highest mill rate in the State of Connecticut. East Hartford has good hard working people from all walks of life with different economical levels, education and experiences, which I am proud of. We need to make East Hartford affordable for everyone. We need to be very aggressive with attracting and seeking new businesses in town, offering them incentives to come into our town and for our current businesses to stay. Businesses not only help our community but ease our tax burden on homeowners.
My experience as a property manager and accounting background, a small business owner and very active four years on the Board of Education will prove to be immeasurable if I am elected to the Town Council.
Esther B. Clarke
The most important issue facing the Town Council in East Hartford is our mill rate. People are talking about our town being listed with the fourth-highest mill rate in the state. The Town Council has increased the town’s budget every year for the past nine years based on the mayor’s recommendation. Finding a way to either decrease our budgets or a way to increase our base (grand list) by attracting development must be a priority, while funding a budget that services our residents adequately.
I believe that I am qualified to be on the Town Council to challenge the problems facing the council due to my previous political experience; serving on the council from 1973- 1979, 1981-1987, as well as my current experience serving from July 2012 to the present. Knowing the laws and protocol that the council operates under is an important tool that I possess. My business experience joins with my political background to round out my qualifications for this important office, in my opinion.
I feel our number one most important issue facing the East Hartford Town Council is our mill rate. We are number four in Connecticut, and this is not acceptable to me. The present mayor seems to always have money to redecorate her office, the Town Council chambers, corporation counsel’s office, and recently the Town Clerk’s office. This is an administration that doesn’t know how to reduce spending. Changing how our tax dollars are spent is a high priority to me. We must strive to lower our mill rate and realize that many of our residents are struggling to pay their taxes in this town.
I feel that I am qualified for the Town Council for several reasons. I have served on the council for seven and a-half years and have sat on seven budget hearings. I have voted against things I feel are not in the best interest of our citizens. I always make myself available to our citizens to answer questions or find answer to their problem. I am committed to our citizens and I would provide responsible honest leadership and respect our citizens concerns.
Travis J. Simpson
The most important issue face the upcoming East Hartford Town Council will be to balance maintaining vital town services while stopping the out-of-control growth of our town budget. For too long the majority party has funded pet projects that feel good, without looking at the unintended consequences of their action. It has become increasingly difficult for the average family to find the income to pay their taxes, and it is time our elected leaders prioritize how our citizens hard-earned money is spent.
Since moving to East Hartford over a decade ago, I have become active on various boards and commissions in town, and have always tried to be a common sense voice of reason for any issue we are faced with. I have always acted in a bipartisan manner working with my colleagues on both side of the political aisle to do what is right for the town. If elected to Town Council I will continue to advocate for what is best for the residents of our town.
The Town Council should provide a balance of evaluating the needs of the town with representing the interests of the people they represent. While I understand the challenges of town budgets, town councils need to be more cognizant of the economy and its impact to the residents. Raising taxes cannot always be the immediate response.
East Hartford has two immediate challenges: education and taxes. A 49.3 mill rate is unattractive and will not lure people to move to East Hartford. Neither will a sub par school system. In order to revitalize East Hartford these two major issues must be addressed realistically and efficiently. Otherwise our town will continue to dwindle into destitution.
I am not sure what qualifies one to be a candidate for public office. Perhaps if more concerned citizens got involved there would be fewer politicians. I live here, I pay taxes here and I have two young children. I care about the direction our town is taking, and I recognize we are long past a time for change. Democrats have had the political power in this town for far too long, and it shows - in our taxes and our school performance. I am willing to do what I can to change that.