Chris Wilson: Cockayne’s Newfound Interest in BOE is Pure Politics
Democratic mayoral candidate Chris Wilson is questioning his opponent’s commitment to public education. “Since Mr. Cockayne has been on the City Council, he has consistently stated on the record that he would never support increases in funding for the Bristol Board of Education. Now that Ken is running for Mayor, his tune has changed. He is all about politics, not supporting the education all of our students deserve.” Wilson said.
Chris Wilson also highlighted the fact that despite holding meetings every month, Mr. Cockayne has never attended a single Board of Education Finance meeting, BOE meeting, committee meetings or education workshop. Mr. Cockayne has also accused the BOE of being secretive and lacking transparency. “Again, Mr. Cockayne is taking advantage of the recent cafeteria worker negotiations and is grabbing for headlines,” said Wilson “The truth is, the Board of Education and its committees have 5-6 meetings a month and is incredibly transparent. If Mr. Cockayne is interested in learning a little more about how public education works in Bristol, he’s welcome to attend. Unfortunately, I think he’s more interested in getting in the newspapers than in our student’s futures. That’s politics, not leadership,” Wilson stated.
Despite Mr. Cockayne’s attacks, Chris Wilson went on to say that he’s proud of the work he and his fellow BOE members have done over the past several years. He highlights the fact that the Bristol BOE has maintained high standards amid flat budget increases. The BOE has also returned $4.8 million in surplus dollars and recovered $4,000,000 from school renovation projects, returning $8.8 million to Bristol taxpayers. Additionally, during Wilson’s tenure on the BOE, 2 new K-8 schools were built and were completed for 18 million dollars less than budgeted.
“All Mr. Cockayne knows how to do is attack. He’s done it on the Council for years. What Bristol voters need to ask themselves is, do they want the same ultra-partisan politics in Bristol that has caused the recent shutdown in Washington DC? Mr. Cockayne is the Bristol equivalent of the Congressional Republican Tea-Party.” Wilson stated. Wilson continued by saying, “We need leaders who are willing to work across party-lines and reach consensus. I have a solid record of bridge building. All Mr. Cockayne knows how to do is tear the bridge down.”
Wilson added that he believes one of the best ways there is for local elected officials to help our students and spur on economic growth is by working with the business community to shape school curriculum so Bristol students can better compete in today’s job market. “Cockayne’s attacks on the Board of Education do nothing to help our students or our local economy. In fact, his viciousness discourages people, businesses and organizations from participating in the public dialogue. In my experience, people want civility and cooperation in their elected officials. As mayor, my administration will be open and will welcome all opinions.” Wilson concluded.