In a few days we will all head to the polls to elect our city officials for the next two years. I ask you to consider as you get ready to vote, do you want more or the same for the next two years or do you want something new and more, even different. I say this because that is exactly what will happen. If you vote for the incumbents, you will stay were you are. They think they have a handle on things and see what needs to be done. What I hear, from listening to all that I have spoken with are that people want something new and different. I know when introduced with something new we worry because we do not know what is going to happen. I am asking you to accept that move with me and lets put Bristol back in the hands of its citizens.
In the beginning I stated I would return $35,000.00 of my salary. When being told it would not make a difference in the face of a projected 8million dollar deficit. I say we have to start some were, and I am proud to be the one who starts it. I also challenged other city officials to voluntarily, one more time, voluntarily give back some of their salaries when combined it could make quite a difference and let people of Bristol that their government officials care about the city. I was laughed at, told I can not do it, well then I guess I'll be laughed at for trying to make a difference. I believe if my $35,000 saves a program or helps keep one more person working then it was worth it. Now as far as not being able to do the give back, you do not know until you try, .
I want to work with local businesses and the chamber of commerce to develop new businesses in to Bristol. This generates jobs, incomes for money to be spent here. New families moving here, spending money in town, buying homes and paying taxes, kids using the schools all working together for the whole of Bristol. We have a strong manufacturing history, and while we may never see the likes of another New Departure. It does not mean we can not have that in say smaller mom and pop types of shops all over Bristol. I say lets work better with ESPN and the businesses we already have and see if we can not get their suppliers to move here. These already established businesses and ESPN are here because they love it here. We want them to tell their suppliers that it is fantastic to do and have a business here in Bristol. I would suggest progressive tax breaks, if renting a building the city owns a break on the rent. I would also work with state and federal people to try and receive incentives at those levels to support the new businesses grow and thrive here in Bristol.
Now Downtown and Depot Square, I like everyone else would love to snap my fingers and see it up and running tomorrow, but I am urging caution and patience. I say this because if we do it wrong we will not get a second chance. I want to make sure that it not only will bring in people to Bristol, but also be able to support the people already here, because if it do put the right things in then who will go there just people from the outside. I do not believe it would last long at that rate. I want to make sure that the citizens of Bristol have a say in what they would want to see in the Depot and Downtown, and I feel the deserve it too.
The cities' budget is going to be a crucial issue. I think the citizens of Bristol were not kept in the loop, in the matter of city finances. I understand that the board of finance has a monthly meeting, but for whose convenience theirs. The budget is a bill we give the people every year and ask them to pay, through their taxes, they should be better informed. In addition to the, monthly board of finance meeting, I would want to see smaller town hall style meetings, some during the day at say the senior center, or maybe night at one of the schools. The people deserve to be better informed not just once a month at the convenience of the board or who ever sets the meeting date. This is a bill, if we expect them to pay it, then they deserve more information. They also must be able to ask more questions than a time limit allows. The more we keep them informed the more they are likely to accept changes if we need to make them.
I am sure there are so may other things I could discuss, but space will not allow me. I have enjoyed running for Mayor. When I started this whole process, they said, “ oh you can not win, you have no higher education, you have no name recognition, no political experience.”. They were right, but I believe you can grow up to be anybody you want to be to do anything you want, if you work hard. I tell my own kids that still today, how many of us do also I wonder. I have to admit higher education is fantastic, name recognition does not hurt in this game, and certainly political experience would be distinguished. Still though I do know some college educated people, and I am sure some of you do too, who are as smart as a whip but some times common sense alludes them. Name recognition is impressive, but that is no guarantee the person can do the job, just because of a name they are. Finally political experience, well if that means that I can cheat on my wife, or swap political parties because I want to get reelected or get exceptional deals for mortgages, then yeah I guess I'll just have to suffer by not having any.
In the end I am just and ordinary everyday working stiff. I pay my taxes, like yourself and complain about it. I think that sometimes politicians feel as if they are doing us a favor when they talk to us or some times feel as though they talk down to us, that may be me and not everyone. Why am I doing this, not out of anger as some have said, though there may be a little, but I feel as though the average man and woman has lost their voice in politics today and I want to give it back to them? I want at this time to thank everyone who signed my petition to help me get on the ballot I learned a lot in those four days from you, so thank you. I want to thank the people who helped me by answering my questions and offering me advice thank you.
In the beginning I asked when you head to the polls next week to think what do you want to come out of this election. Do you want a continuation of what you have had for the last 10 plus years, or do you want more, something new, exciting and different. I want to challenge all of us to work together to make Bristol the city, not only that it can be, but should be. When you go to the polls, I ask you to allow me to work with you for that. So on Tuesday November 3 vote for Gary L. Graff-Lawton line 1C. Thank you for your support.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org