A 22-year-old University of Connecticut student with a passion for politics has jumped into the race to capture one of two 3rd District City Council seats held by Democrats who are stepping down this fall.
Republican Derek Czenczelewski said Monday that he thinks he can “bring something a little different” to the council.
“It’s time for a change in Bristol,” Czenczelewski said, adding that he has the ability “to bring people together” and to endeavor to end the constant political bickering at City Hall.
Czenczelewski is the first candidate to enter the 3rd District race formally, though Democrats and Republicans alike are eyeing the district during this year’s municipal race because both seats will be open.
Both incumbents in the district, Frank Nicastro and Craig Minor, have said they won’t seek re-election.
So far, Czenczelewski is the only contender to take their place for the part-time, $10,00-a-year post, but several Democrats have said they’re interested.
Kate Matthews said she plans to announce her candidacy this month and two others, Terry Parker and Charles Cyr, are eyeing the race, too. There may be others.
Czenczelewski said there a trio of Republicans considering the race in his district, down from seven initially. The others haven’t come forward yet.
Czenczelewski said the key issues facing the city are the economy, education, public safety and transportation.
He said that city leaders “need to work with the existing businesses” in town to try to attract more jobs to Bristol. They should also prepare plans for downtown and beyond that will be ready to roll when the economy turns around.
Czenczelewski said he favors the $130 million plan to build two new 900-student schools in town, including one on Pine Street that would replace the aging Greene-Hills School in his district.
“We have schools that are really falling apart,” Czenczelewski said.
He said the city needs to push through the land purchases, hiring architects and more to get the project underway.
Czenczelewski said the city has to monitor what happens when the Route 72 extension opens up in a year or so to find out if drivers do wind up downtown in greater numbers, as officials have hoped.
He said that if the plans don’t work out, then the city needs to be ready to make some more changes to get the job done.
Czenczelewski is a 2005 Bristol Central High School graduate who is majoring in sports promotion at UConn. He is angling for a minor in communications. He said he will graduate in August.
He’s working for Edge Technology, which provides statistics and analysis for ESPN. It’s one path for future careers with the Bristol-based sports giant.
Czenczelewski said he’s learned a lot about leadership from ESPN, including the need to search for innovation and consensus.
He is not married and doesn’t have any children.The 3rd District spans the southern third of Bristol.. It is one of three council districts in town, each with two representatives. They serve two-year terms.
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