August 15, 2022

Matthew Ward (R): Candidate for Old Lyme Board of Selectmen

Matthew Ward

Biography:

I have lived in Old Lyme for 15 years with my beautiful wife of 20 years, Tara, and our five amazing kids Aidan (Sr), Kaitlyn (Jr), Keara (Soph), Ashlynn (6th) and Liam (4th). I basically have all the Old Lyme Schools covered.  I proudly served the public as a CT State Trooper for 20 years – stationed at Troop F Westbrook barracks during my entire career, retiring in April 2020.  During this time, I served as the Resident State Trooper in Killingworth for 12 years, and Chester for 2 years.  It is an honor to run for Board of Selectmen.

Q1: Why are you running for the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen?

I am running for the Board of Selectmen to offer my unique skills to improve the quality of life in Old Lyme.  My time as a Resident State Trooper was the most rewarding time in my career.  As an integral part of those towns, I was involved in the everyday operations of the community – preparing budgets, running school programs, and helping plan/work various events in the community. This work fostered many relationships, friendships, and partnerships in the community with various groups and organizations – relationships that still exist today.  I became a part of the community:  they knew me, they knew my family and we were able to work together to effect change and reach goals.

While pondering life after retirement, I knew I wanted to get more involved in our community.  On a national, and state level the animosity in politics has been incredibly negative and the true meaning of democracy I feel has been lost.  It bothered me so much, that I started attending BOF and BOS meetings to understand our community better.  I care deeply that the people of Old Lyme are heard, and their ideas/concerns are discussed.  We can agree to disagree on certain things but must have a civilized, educated discussion.  Our ultimate goal as selectmen should be what is best for the community as a whole, what is best for our children, and what will continue to make Old Lyme a great place to live, work and visit.  

In summary, I have always enjoyed working with people and have been under public scrutiny my entire career.  I know how to listen and talk to people.  I know how to work with people to resolve conflict and attain resolutions.  I also know how to be an effective leader while managing people, budgets, and schedules.

Q2: What is your opinion of the Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis, which was originally proposed by Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal in August 2020 as a document that the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen should approve? It remains unsigned — please indicate whether you would be willing to sign it, if elected.

I believe the Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis is not an accurate portrayal of the Town of Old Lyme.  I believe other people are trying to take a controversial national issue and bring it locally to divide our community.   We do not need a symbolic, resolution signed to show we are against racism in our community.  As a state trooper and now an Old Lyme police officer, I see the data.  While isolated incidents of racism do occur – there is no data to support hate crimes or racism within our town.  Also, CT has very strong laws concerning racism and hate crimes.  There are 169 towns in CT and only 20 or so towns have signed similar resolutions.  I think it would be much more effective to have open, civilized discussions about racism, review policies/procedures to combat racism and to implement and strengthen programs to educate people about racism. 

Additionally, I believe that this resolution will do harm to our community by discouraging out of town families from relocating to Old Lyme.  The Town of Old Lyme is one of the most welcoming, inclusive, and open communities on the Shoreline.  We need to focus on that story, which will encourage all to consider Old Lyme as a great place to live and raise their family. 

Q3: What do you consider are currently the three most important issues in Old Lyme that require the attention of the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, (with the exception of the Resolution on Racism discussed in Question 2)? Describe how you would move forward on each issue, if elected.

1)  Economic development on Halls Road and the beach area by Route 156 is a critically important issue.  I would like to work to attract appropriate businesses to these areas.  I would also like to meet with owners of the various abandoned buildings around town and see if we can get them back in working order or developed.  I would review our blight ordinances and reach out to businesses and residents to see how we can work together to improve these areas.  Our local government can and should work hand in hand with our townsfolk to improve our community. 

2)   The sewer project is also an important project that needs to continue to move forward and get completed.  Working together with the beach communities and gaining their trust is critical to the successful outcome of this project.  This is a transformative project for these areas and will have long lasting impacts.  It is also important that we make sure we are doing everything we can to get it completed in a timely manner and as cost effective as possible. 

3)  I also believe sensible Affordable Housing is an important issue in our community.  I would work alongside the Affordable Housing Commission to identify options and potential areas where development may be feasible, safe, and that maintain the character of our community.

Comments

  1. Cathy Cunningham says

    Best of luck!! Hope you and family are all doing well