Thank you for inviting me, and thank you to my fellow candidates for wishing to serve the City of Bristol. This year’s election is about schools and taxes. Certainly there are many other issues facing our City and we’ll talk about a few of these shortly. But the two that get most people worked up are school budgets and tax rates.
Chris Wilson, the Democratic Candidate for Mayor and Chairman of the Board of Education stated at this week’s Mayoral Debate that people in Bristol should not feel overtaxed because we have the 50th lowest mill rate in the state. I think that is a very irresponsible opinion, and not what I want to hear from a person who hopes to be my Mayor.
Taxes in Bristol are already so high that people are moving out in growing numbers. Businesses are staying away and young people are not coming back after graduation because they can’t find work here. I believe strongly we should NOT raise taxes or put more money into City or Board of Education budgets until we have eliminated waste in our current spending and made sure that what we spend on education goes to teachers and students, not to Administrator salaries which are significantly higher than those of our neighboring towns.
As much as I would like to give everyone everything they ask for, I know the City must live within our means. We currently spend $3,000 a year for every man, woman and child in the City and that is enough to meet our needs and provide a great quality of life for us all. We must learn to work together, be more efficient and spend our resources more wisely, just like we do with our own personal budgets. Thank you.
Thank you again for inviting me to participate in this forum and thank you to everyone running for office. We all know that holding political office can be a thankless, time consuming job that takes time away from family and friends and can subject you and your family to personal attacks and criticism. So I want to thank all the candidates for their passion and desire to get involved and improve our City.
The people of Bristol are good people who, like all of us here, have been through a lot in these last few years. They demand and deserve our respect, our best efforts and our leadership. They demand that we work together to build consensus and not fall into the trap we see in Hartford and Washington of “I’m always right, you’re always wrong” partisanship and personal agendas and ambitions that lead to division and paralysis. They demand that City workers and managers be held responsible and accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars. And they are turned off by people and policies that get in the way of progress, development, innovation and grass roots efforts to improve our quality of life.
I have no personal agenda or ax to grind, and I try not to disrespect anyone who disagrees with me. I don’t need anything from the City, other than a great place to live for myself, my wife and my parents. I have decades of leadership and management experience from my career in the military and in healthcare. And I ask the people of Bristol for their vote to give me a chance to make a difference for all of us. Thank you.