October 15, 2013

Wilson's prepared remarks at Monday's debate

Democrat Chris Wilson's opening and closing remarks at Monday's mayoral debate:

I'm Chris Wilson and I'm the Democratic candidate for Mayor of the City of Bristol.
 I'd like to thank Mike Nicastro and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce for hosting tonight's debate. I would also like to thank Tom Monahan our moderator and all of you the audience for being here.  
Additionally, I’d like to thank my opponent Mr. Cockayne for joining me here to engage in a dialogue with you, the voters. 
During my time as a business owner, raising a family here, and involvement in the community I recognized the skills and experiences required to be a Mayor. The challenges Bristol faces needs a person with strong commitment and proven leadership.  Our city expects leaders to lead with a high standard. I intend to be that person. I bring the skills and experiences needed for effective leadership.
I know the process required to govern.  I understand the difference between policy, legislative issues and operational issues. I believe we need to empower our city employees. 
 They need to be given the opportunity and tools to do their jobs while at the same time hold them accountable for outcomes - without a hostile environment. Innovation, creativity and trying something new should be applauded and nurtured not ridiculed and dismissed. 
 I believe the next leader of the city of Bristol needs to assist all involved in city government to understand that we all benefit when we empower those people to greatness.  
Too much concern is given to who is getting the credit instead of making great collaborative transparent decisions to the betterment of the whole city of Bristol- the greater good!  I will be that transformative leader!
I will lead by creating a culture that shines a light on our transparent process and our actions.  I’ll lead with questions, and engage in dialogue - not coercion . 
Economic development, jobs, Depot Squre, The West End, and Blight are some of our enormous challenges.  Bristol has the opportunity to be a vibrant city where people want to reside, to raise their families, to live and work. 
Without strong and dedicated leadership we cannot progress to vibrancy.  The quality of  our Life in Bristol is one of our greatest assets! We need to embrace and nurture our brand!  
I have the skills, the passion and the know how to lead Bristol into the next era. 
 I am not your typical politician.  Whether in school, my business, or raising my family I worked hard to create success.
 I did not always go the conventional route.  I have no desire to create a legacy or leave a legacy.  
I just want to help my city make the most complete and best decisions.

I cannot tell you how many times people contact me and ask me what is going on in Bristol when they read the Bristol Press or see information about Bristol on TV.  Whether it is one politician inducing another to swear at him, or debates over pink shirts, one politician or other throwing attacks at one another.  We have a public relations problem and it is us!
I cannot tell you how many of my friends or associates have told me I am crazy for even wading into the political arena.  Sometimes I even question myself.
But Have done it because I believe in Bristol, I believe in its people, I have sat across the table for them for 33 years.  I know how hard working they are, I know how much they care about one another; I know they have the values that you and I have.  They too want Bristol to be great again.  They remember the Post Office, the movie theater and the Bristol Store. Their kids and grand children go to our schools.  They want was best for them as do I.
Our challenge as leaders is to create an environment whereby we all can be successful, whereby we all feel good about our schools, our city government, whereby we can feel safe walking down the street, we know our streets will be plowed, our pot holes will be filled, our trash and recyclables  will be picked up, the fires will be put out quickly,  we no loss of life.
People want activities for their children in the arts’ sports, the library.  People want a sense of community that only Bristol can provide. They want a senior citizen’s center that is activity driven; People want parades and festivals to attend.  People want a community that is alive.  People want good restaurants to eat at and shops to shop at-in Bristol.
It is our role as leaders to provide those opportunities.  It is our job as leaders to do that in a manner that is not objectionable.  We will not always win our case.  But we all must own the decision of the group.  Unfortunately, what has happened in Washington and is now being modeled locally is even if you loose the debate you keep persisting.  You obstruct until you get your way or you grind government to a halt.   I will not be that Kind of leader.  I hope you can support my vision and support me in the voting booth next month.

Republican Ken Cockayne said he doesn't have a written version of what he said. You'll have to watch the debate to hear him.

Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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