The Roundup sent questionnaires to every candidate in Bristol and Burlington 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.
Next up is Andrew Howe City Council Candidate District 2. (R)
What are your most pressing issues?
My pressing issues begin with fiscal responsibility. Bristol needs sound financial goals to retain the young professionals that we have and draw more to our town. Keeping to a responsible education budget is another issue I hold dear, do to being a father of 4 children.Our children are the future professionals and leaders. Bristol has done amazing things for her children. Let’s keep moving forward. Another way to accomplish addressing the future in a sensible way is to continue the serious look into using the MBS as a magnet school. If a project such as this is planned accordingly, the results can potentially satisfy several needs. Access to more education, also a possible avenue for those interested in the arts to possibly have a home here in Bristol in one of it’s historic buildings and help offset some of the costs of renovating the building. Another responsible goal is to see the Centre Square project to the end. The idea to bring in several developers, to encourage economic growth is bound to make downtown flourish again. It would be wise for me to work with the men and women at the BDA ( who do a fantastic job) to market to more businesses from out of town to fill vacancies on Rt. 6. Our bond rating is the highest any city can receive, so lets keep moving forward to maintain our oasis in a fiscal desert.
How do you feel about Bristol’s marketing efforts, what would you suggest?
Bristol’s current marketing team and all persons involved, has done amazing things when it instituted it’s All Heart campaign.It shows with all the new businesses that relocated to Bristol also by how much of a leap our grand list has taken. Bristol has jumped deep into the digital age with a bang. Videos, websites, apps and social media creates in environment that will help promote future growth for our fair city.
How do your thoughts and ideas differ from your opponent(s)?
From experience alone, our thoughts will differ from each other. That’s part of what makes all councilors and candidates have a unique spin all of their own. My background is in running small businesses that are on a low turn and steer them uphill like Lake Compounce own Boulder Dash.I know how over my many year’s in finances to turn a penny into a dollar. In Ct’s bleak present and it’s future, having the skill to stretch budget’s is a talent i am quite proud of. Doing so while running a 9 million dollar a year franchise system takes long hours and hard work that most don’t have the patience for. But I thrive doing it. Over the years I have hired and worked with hundreds pf people of all walks of life. Young, old, men and women alike. That skill I acquired will translate greatly into being able to reach across party to make sure the choice of what is best for Bristol is BI-PARTISAN way. It’s a great tool when running for office to show you are open to all opinions. I also feel my ideas come from serving the town as a Planning Commissioner under Bill Veits and the entire board with their knowledge and experience. I went on to be CBA trained in all forms of land use. Proper land use plays an intricate part of city business. I hope to continue proudly serving our town hopefully in a different role, but serving it’s residents none the less. My singular purpose through all this year has been to help promote making Bristol the best place I can raise my children in!
What are your thoughts on Bristol Hospital purchasing a portion of the former mall site? Will it help revitalize downtown?
Bristol Hospital has continually invested in our town. Bristol helping Bristol is about as good a commitment as it gets. When projects as large as this one begins, it brings with it, others to follow suit. A large employer takes a leap and shows it’s strength as an anchor, the retail shops, restaurants, and higher end apartments that young professionals look for. The revitalization will come from the people who believe in their town. Staying in Bristol to eat, shop, go see their Dr’s and stay to live here.
What is your position on moving City Hall?
I feel moving City Hall to 30 Main St would be an asset and a blessing to all those involved. Taxpayers and employees could benefit from it alike.Additional parking will make our epicenter more accessible. A 30 year lease comes with great upsides. Maintaining the building being one of them. We will not have to allocate funds year after year for projects at 111 N. Main St. There would be plenty of space for growth for the ever crowded departments. Then there also leaves an option to fill the empty space that is so close to our Centre Square project. It could promote continued growth downtown is a win win Depending what they would build could employ others in Bristol. The project all the way around promotes our hometown pride we all feel for Bristol.
Will you support a tax increase if it’s the last resort?
While nobody would like to pay a higher tax rate, due to Gov. Malloy and the Democratic party in Hartford, my concern is that this will become the only option if the local Democrats and their support for the ideology of the tax and spend party is voted into local office. If it is the only option or the “last resort” then we need to continue business as usual, in fiscal conservatives hands who know how to keep that at bay and not make it a reality. With my financial background as well as most of your Republican candidates we know how to make the choices BEFORE costing the residents more money it doesn’t have in this Malloy, Blumenthal, and Murphy economics we all know the Bristol DTC supports. Sensible financial structure is what I plan to bring to council.
What is your stance on crime in Bristol?
Unfortunately, crime exists everywhere a person goes.Here in Bristol, our men and women first responders work very hard to keep Bristol safe. They always have. Knowing our crime rate has went down gives me a sort of comfort. As a victim of a serious crime in another town that put me in a coma last year hearing those statistics of crime dropping gives me hope for the future. I think other residents in town echo that same sentiment. There are so many landlords that are investing time and money into neighborhoods we thought were left to the wayside are now being transformed into places that give us great pride. This turns into vigilance to keep these neighborhoods safe. What else can be done to address the underlying causes of crime in Bristol is another way I plan to help if elected to council.
Is social media helping or hurting Bristol at the moment?
Simply put, both. Social media can be a powerful tool both to help or to hurt. It all depends on how that tool is used. In the current digital age parents, have access to town leaders and neighbors have more involvement in our community at large. There have been countless times right here in Bristol social media has brought a positive outcome. There is a flip side to the coin though, as always. Often enough it leads to cyber bullying and mudslinging especially in this years race. Although I can’t and won’t tolerate mudslinging it has brought many hidden secret truths to the people that they wouldn’t have otherwise know. When used properly social media can educate a community. It is the user of that tool who decides to be helpful or hurtful!
With all the love Bristol has shown during the tragedy my family faced when my cousin was the victim of a domestic violence murder here in town, then to continue that love and support during the violent crime I was involved almost taking me from wife and children I knew it was my time to give back. My intentions have been pure since day one. But yet people have brought me into frays I have nothing to do with nor do I want to be involved with. Over the last 2 months I have completely pulled myself away from social media intentionally, yet still I am told my campaign gets attacked. I will not be shaken by any of it. My ethics speak for themselves while other candidates have tried to hide their past I have been vocal about being the direct opposite. On council you are chosen to do what’s right for Bristol and that takes a clear conscience. I want my kids to say they are proud of me for the choices I make for Bristol. That has now become a driving force to win. Honesty, integrity and the desire to give back will prevail!! VOTE ROW B NOVEMBER 7th!