Write-in candidate makes his pitch for mayor

Richard Kriscenski

My name is Richard Kriscenski. I have submitted the paperwork to the Secretary of the State to be a write in candidate for mayor of Bristol.

I am running because the two major party candidates have put their party loyalty in Hartford and Washington in front of the needs of the working families in Bristol.

I have been married to Dana, a business manager for a medical group, for 33 years. We have two daughters. Heather is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas. Danielle is an Emergency Room Technician and will be entering medical school next year.

I have been employed by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services since 1999. I am currently a Revenue Examiner 2 assigned to the Business & Employment Tax Audit Unit. After the Governor Rowland scandal I assisted in the creation of an ethics course and taught it for the department. Prior to the State I worked in the auto, boat, and recreational vehicle finance industry for 15 years with major corporations such as Chrysler Financial and The CIT Group.

On January 20th, the Bristol Republicans gathered together to celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump. The inauguration of President Trump put the Republicans in control of the government, allowing them to implement their agenda. It did not matter to them that this agenda is disastrous for the city of Bristol.

The focal point of the agenda is the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. If passed, the repeal of Obamacare and the several hastily prepared replacement health care bills would have thrown thousands of Bristol Residents off health care insurance and financially hurt Bristol Hospital. And that is why the repeal and those replacement bills were opposed by almost every national medical association, national patient advocacy groups and closer to home, the Connecticut Hospital Association. In the absence of a successful repeal, Trump has signed an executive order stopping subsidies for health insurance.

As mayor I will work through The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) of which Bristol is a member to stop repeal. I will put my name and our city on their following statement:

“The president’s executive order to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections and to dismantle insurance rules is not about creating a free market. It is a devastating, undermining blow to an already fragile marketplace and would make it more difficult for individuals with preexisting conditions to secure affordable health coverage. While a group of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are working hard to ensure healthcare access for all Americans, the President once again is putting politics over the needs of millions of Americans. Mayors are leaders…who understand the human toll a lack of access to or unaffordable insurance has in the lives of the American people.  That is why mayors of both parties from every region in the country strongly reject the President’s action and fully support a continuation of bipartisan work in the Senate to improve health outcomes for the American people.”

From the racist “Birther” movement propelling Trump to his candidacy announcement, statements disparaging Mexicans, the Muslim ban, stating there are good KKK members and White Supremacists, attacking ESPN’s Jemele Hill, attacking the LBGTQ community, criticizing mostly African-American NFL players taking a knee to protest racial injustice to threatening to abandon Puerto Rico to the latest attack on an African-American Gold Star widow, Trump has proven himself to be a racist. Yet the Bristol Republicans continue to support him.

Bristol Republicans also supported Trump’s order to end DACA. We do not know if there are DACA students in Bristol, but the idea that a young person who has known no other country but America can be swooped off the street in Bristol by Immigration officers once away from the safety zone of school and deported to a country they do not know, and may not speak the language, without any viable means of support is cruel and leaves them vulnerable to predators.

Bristol cannot be “All-Heart” if Trump racism is ignored in the name of party loyalty.

The Bristol Republicans support the House budget that will hurt the working family home owners by eliminating the state and local tax (SALT) deduction from their income tax. Once again, the USCM opposes a Trump attack on working families by issuing the following statement:

“A recent report completed by the National Realtors Association found that eliminating SALT could cause home values to fall by an average of more than 10 percent in the near term, and ‘in areas with higher property taxes or state income taxes, the drop could be even greater.’ With many communities already reliant on property taxes to pay for education and schools, elimination of the state and local tax deduction could drastically hurt American families and depress real estate markets.”

Republicans claim they have no say in what happens in Washington but that is not true. As I mentioned, Bristol is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. We pay dues to be a member. As mayor, I will be an active voice in that group and attend their annual meeting in January.

Nothing in supporting the Trump and Republican Agendas makes any sense when it will result in undue suffering for mostly everybody in Bristol, puts our community hospital in financial peril, and will push the cost of health services down to the city resulting in reduced services and/or increased taxes.

The Bristol Democrats, however, have been derelict in their duty to resist Trump and the Republicans. There is no good reason for their silence other than they seem afraid that Trump won Bristol. Their self-serving political calculation does not demonstrate leadership, especially when the traditional Democrat constituencies of the poor, the sick, the elderly and working families and those historically discriminated against are under attack.

On the state level, they have their own version of putting party loyalty over working families. By dutifully following Governor Malloy’s “new economic reality” for the last six years, the wealthy and corporations have been spared the harsh reality of two large tax increases. The result has been the increasing inequality of income and wealth and the perpetual deficits, as the wealthy and corporations gain more control over our state legislature.

Bristol Democrats supported the reduction and near elimination of the property tax credit, which has taken millions out of the pockets of working families in Bristol. They supported Malloy’s corporate welfare economic strategy which is a waste of money. They supported Malloy for reelection in 2014 despite levying the largest tax increase on working families in 2011, tax increases on them in 2015, while shielding the wealthy and corporations from paying their fair share of taxes.

Bristol Democrats turned their back on labor by supporting the union concessions without demanding any structure changes in how our government operates – a government consisting of mostly independent municipalities which duplicate services.

The City of Bristol is on the verge of being forced to change. The $25 million rainy day fund and all the fiscal conservatism we can muster is not going to substitute for the end of state aid – and it will end. The State can no longer extort concessions from the state unions to balance the budget unless it ceases to provide most of the social services working families need and improves the quality of life in Bristol and the state.

The Bristol Democrats’ abandonment of the working families forced them into accepting the false promises of Donald Trump and ignoring his racist views. Bristol’s working families are seeing a president that is not helping them as he fills the swamp with greed and corruption. His racism has been met with scorn as he continues to lose the voters who were willing to give him a chance.

There are two bills in the House, HB 7293 and HB 6937, both supported by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, which promote services and municipal cost reduction. This is the path to regionalization that the two parties should be talking about.

I did not vote for the 2011 concessions. In fact, the concessions were rejected by the rank and file until the union leaders rigged the voting rules for approval. I knew that without the wealthy paying more than the budget would not stop future deficits.

I did not vote for Malloy in 2014 because he betrayed working families by his coddling of the wealthy. In between 2011 and 2014 I urged union chief negotiator Dan Livingston to find a progressive candidate to primary Malloy but the unions still supported him.  We needed a progressive Democrat like Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, not Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

I voted no on the latest concessions. The Republicans for the last 25 years have called for a smaller government but when they chance to get rid of 4,200 state workers they didn’t have the courage to tell their constituents that this meant reduced services. What the Republicans really want is a cheap government – not a smaller one.

Bristol is about to spend millions on a risky downtown plan in a time of fiscal uncertainty. I do not support this plan. A sports complex with an ice rink should be built as a public investment. Rep. Chris Ziogas campaigned on the promise of a sports complex and won. I will work with him to fulfill his campaign promise.

Bristol should no longer waste money on tax breaks and grants. These subsidies shift money away from public investments. Tax incentives can lead to increases in tax rates for business that do not receive tax incentives. To make up for the lost revenue, all other taxpayers must pay more.

The destruction of half of the West End is ill-advised. It will split a neighborhood. We cannot keep thinking that destruction is the way to improve the neighborhood.

I will work with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to oppose or support national policies which will hurt or help Bristol, respectively.

I will work with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities to achieve regionalization through legislation.

I will not leave residents in the dark on deals being negotiated for the sale of public owned property. Every proposal will be presented to the council in public and put online.

The war on blight will not leave families living in hotels or motels. The city will find appropriate housing for all displaced families.

I will not attend any fund raisers for any political party or candidates and will only be a write-in candidate.

I will not solicit or spend money on this campaign.

Bristol is not an oasis; supporting or ignoring policies in Hartford and Washington that increases wealth inequality, promotes racism, reduces affordable health insurance, cuts Medicare and Medicaid, and damages our air quality and river conservation, will create problems that we alone cannot solve but will have no state or national government to turn to for assistance.

As mayor, I will fight to make sure that Bristol is not abandoned because I do want to be part of a party establishment which is beholden to the powerful interests controlling our politicians. I want to be an independent voice for the needs of the working families in Bristol.

I hope you will consider writing in my name, Richard Kriscenski, for mayor. I thank you for your reading my announcement and your consideration.

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