Candidates for first selectman, BOE in Canterbury

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Canterbury - posted Mon., Oct. 28, 2013
- Contributed Photo

Meet the candidates for First Selectman and Board of Education in Canterbury:

First Selectman
Brian Sear (D): "The most important issue facing Canterbury is to continue to keep our tax rates down while still improving our services and infrastructure," said Sear. "We have done that for the past six years very successfully. Canterbury is in extremely good financial shape, we are asking taxpayers to foot less of the bill than they did before we were in office, and our tax rates have stayed basically flat. At the same time, we’ve invested significant resources into our roads, schools, transfer station and more.

"I am asking Canterbury to support me and our entire team because we have shown the last six years that we will work hard to keep our town vital, and that we have a successful approach to running our town. Our bipartisan approach to building our slate and running Canterbury has given us civil public meetings, increased town investment, and a bright future. With the Sear-Wrigley team you know what you will get – positive results."

Roy Piper (R): "The major issue facing Canterbury is that over the past six years incumbent First Selectman Brian Sear and the Democrat-controlled Board of Finance have systematically depleted our town’s saving account, the fund balance," said Piper. "Their actions now jeopardize Canterbury’s bond rating, meaning higher future borrowing costs to finance municipal projects. 

"It is time to return sound decision-making to our local government… the 'spend, spend, spend' policies of the Democrats have left us in a financial bind that needs to be corrected by enacting  responsible budgeting measures to restore our town’s savings and to maintain a stable mill rate.

"Three times the residents of Canterbury voted no to increased taxes. First Selectman Brian Sear ignored our votes and raised our property taxes by .5 mil.  We believe in government that listens to and is responsive to the residents. The democratic process must be honored.  The will of the people, not the whims of elected officials, should be paramount in our local government."

Board of Education
Stephen Brown (D): "Voter apathy is a major issue in Canterbury," said Brown. "Our democratic process is weakened by the lack of voter turnout during elections and at budget time. What we do at the local level directly affects the children of our town, the senior population and every town resident.

"I’m running for a second term on the Board of Education. Over the past four years, I have been committed to serving the needs of the children in our schools as well as our taxpayers.  I have contributed to both fiscally-responsible and educationally-sound decisions.  As a teacher in Lisbon, Connecticut for the past 26 years and the father of two children at the Dr. Helen Baldwin Middle School, I am committed to making our schools the best that they can be."

Chris Lippke (R): "I’m a fiscal conservative who wants to put the money into teachers and classrooms," said Lippke. "I want to develop a long-term relationship with our new superintendent so we can have a greater focus on the future. We’ve had three superintendents in the last 10 years. With turnover like that it’s hard to plan for the future.

"I want to make sure our teachers have the resources they need to teach students following the guidelines of the new common core curriculum. I also want to make sure information is there for parents and students so they are comfortable with the changes. I want to make sure we have a safe school environment for our kids and make sure it’s a good environment to learn in.

"I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for 14 years. Before that I designed, developed and implemented education and corporate training programs. I have a diverse education and I understand different ways of teaching. I’m open, willing and receptive to looking at issues from a different perspective. I bring a good skill set to the job. I’m not afraid to ask questions so we can get the best education for our children."

Carl Thurlow (R): "The most important issue at this time is to get our budget passed so that we can get our school district out of this holding pattern. Once this is accomplished we have to meet the state’s new mandates in Teacher Evaluations and the Common Core," said Thurlow.

"I have been on the Board of Education for two terms. People should vote for me because of my experience on the Board, my values and my commitment to the students of Canterbury. I have attended Canterbury schools and my children have gone through our district. I am knowledgeable about our school district, its programs and goals, and the needs of our students."

Vivian Thumser (R): "Transparency and paying attention to taxpayer concerns is key," said Thumser. "People are fed up with not being heard. I've heard people say numerous times that their vote doesn't count or matter. I often remind voters to ask these questions: Do you have a backbone and soul? What oath will you take if elected? Your voice and your vote matter. My motto is: 'No promises, just facts backed by truth.'

"Children are not common, but they are the core of our future! Children must be able to learn the true past and retain knowledge of the present in order to advance for themselves and others what this country stands for," said Thumser.

"One reason I'm running is to repeal common core. It takes away the sovereignty of state, schools and parents. Its implementation will lead to an unnecessary tax increase. Across-the-board federal mandates do not work. Rather it's a violation. We need exceptional superintendents, creative and passionate teachers, and open dialogue with parents for educational enhancement."

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