The Roundup sent questionnaires to every candidate for this year’s municipal election. In an effort to properly inform voters, their answers are unedited. The goal is to give the candidates the opportunity to offer their thoughts on issues directly to their constitutes. In return, it gives voters the opportunity to formulate their own decisions on what they have to say.
What are your most pressing issues?
I am most concerned with creatively addressing blight, pursuing economic development for new and existing business, and making sure that the MBS project moves forward with the creation of a theater.
How do you feel about Bristol’s marketing efforts, what would you suggest?
I feel that Bristol’s marketing efforts are not entirely effective. We need to promote more positive activity in town and even modernize some of the branding. I think that the “All Heart” campaign is a great message but as far as the merchandising and design I feel that it could use a fresh perspective and some modernization. I also believe that in order for Bristol to properly be marketed one of the first action items for the new council should be a strategy session and development of a comprehensive plan and vision for our city so that we can make viable action items and unify the city which would in turn help to brand Bristol and entice new development.
How do your thoughts and ideas differ from your opponent(s)?
I believe that my opponents are too focused on numbers and that they lose focus on the full picture of what it takes to be a city councilor. It is important to be cognizant of what we are spending, but that is also why we have a board of finance. A city councilor needs to be creative, positive, enthusiastic and an advocate. A councilor needs to be diplomatic and think outside the box to create real solutions for more issues than just finances.
What are your thoughts on Bristol Hospital purchasing a portion of the former mall site? Will it help revitalize downtown?
I sincerely hope that Bristol Hospital will help spur development downtown. I feel that they have received a very valuable piece of property from our downtown and I truly hope that all of the expectations had for that building come to fruition. However, I personally still hold the belief that part of a smart economic development plan is creating quality housing for working individuals and families to occupy. If you observe any successful downtown you will see that there is a healthy mix of business and residential property. Take West Hartford for instance; Blue Back Square is a great destination and what is above all of those commercial properties? High value apartments and condos. It is a tried and true philosophy that in order to truly spur a thriving downtown you need to have people to frequent the area and there is a majorly under-served population of residents working some of our big employers that deserve to have more options in Bristol to live. These same professionals are renting in other cities to have that same type of lifestyle that we could be offering in Bristol.
What is your position on moving City Hall?
I am 100% in favor of moving City Hall or at least doing a big renovation of the current City Hall building. The current building, as well as our post office, are sad reminders of the redevelopment efforts of the 60’s in which Bristol removed so many beautiful historic properties in an effort to modernize. City Hall in its current shape is a health hazard for city employees and something needs to be done to address that problem as soon as possible.
Will you support a tax increase if it’s the last resort?
I do not want to raise taxes. As a tax paying citizen of Bristol I absolutely do not want to have to pay more in taxes, however, I do want my tax money to be spent effectively. I believe that we are ignoring many possibilities to consolidate services and spend our existing tax dollars more effectively.
What is your stance on crime in Bristol?
I think we have a tremendous police department who does their best to combat crime in Bristol. I am not naive though and unfortunately have witnessed drug deals on my own street. This is unacceptable and obviously not something I want happening in any of our neighborhoods. There is an unfortunate epidemic of drug use in Bristol and we really need leaders who are passionate about fixing that problem. If not the crime issue will continue and we will unfairly put our police officers at risk and in harm’s way by not doing everything we can on a municipal level to address drug use in our community.
Is social media helping or hurting Bristol at the moment?
Social media has so many positives but it can be used just as effectively for negative purposes. I feel that with the right leadership we can encourage so much positive change in the city that all there would be to discuss on social media would be the exciting good things happening.