January 28, 2022

Jim Lampos (D): Candidate for Old Lyme Board of Selectmen

Biography:

Jim Lampos serves on the Town of Old Lyme Community Connectivity Grant Committee, and is an alternate on the Planning Commission.   He previously served on the Sound View Improvements Committee.  He has been a year-round resident in Old Lyme with his wife Michaelle and his children Phoebe and Van for the past 16 years, and prior to that was a seasonal resident for 25 years.   He has written four books on the history of Old Lyme with his wife Michaelle, published by the History Press and the Old Lyme Historical Society.  He is also the owner/operator of Groton Pizza Palace.

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

One thing nearly everyone in Old Lyme can agree on: we love our town. We cherish the beauty of our natural environment, honor our history, and treasure our cultural institutions. We want to preserve and protect everything that makes us unique: we don’t want to become “Anywhere, USA”, but rather, remain Old Lyme.  The Nature Conservancy called our salt marshes and islands along the Connecticut River one of “the world’s last great places”.   The same can be said for our entire town—our beaches, lakes, open spaces, farms, and charming villages—we don’t want to lose this to suburban sprawl, unchecked development, or schemes hatched in Hartford and Washington. Our strength is our democratic form of government—the town meeting—where everyone’s voice counts.  We have been meeting as a town to chart our own course since before the founding of the United States.  We showed the way then, and we must show the way again, preserving all that is great about our town while embracing the opportunities to improve our quality of life, our sustainability, and our prosperity.   I am running for Board of Selectmen to help in that process.

The challenges that we will face in the coming years come from many angles, some foreseen and others not.  There are resiliency issues due to climate change, a declining population of young families, an aging and at times inadequate infrastructure, a car-based streetscape that discourages biking and walking, and a lack of vision and direction when it comes to economic development. We can’t just stand in the road with a stop sign and expect the world to halt at our borders, or we’re going to get run over.  We need a forward-thinking strategy to preserve all that we love about our town while embracing positive solutions for the future.

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.

The way forward on this question has been shown by our neighboring town of Lyme that discussed the matter and adopted a resolution on racism in their own words; and by our own Resident State Trooper Matt Weber who embraced Rev. Steven Jungkeit’s introduction of the ABLE police training program to help mitigate confrontations by affirming that he is “open to discussion for anything”. That’s the spirit.   

I have been dismayed that First Selectman Griswold has repeatedly refused to even discuss the resolution. This is not the Tim Griswold I’ve known for all these years, and he is perhaps inadvertently sending the wrong message about who we are as a town.  Old Lyme has a very intelligent, informed citizenry accustomed to vigorous civic discussion: our town famously debated the separation of church and state in 1727.  Tim’s reluctance to discuss the matter is not in keeping with our character.

In an apparent attempt to avoid controversy, the First Selectman’s obstructionism sends the message that Old Lyme doesn’t care, which I know is not true. Contrary to the assertions of some critics, the resolution in no way states that our townspeople are racist. Rather, it affirms that we are not and pledges that we will be ever mindful and vigilant on this question. To refuse to even entertain a resolution denouncing racism, one of the central political issues of our day, sends the wrong message at a time when extremist ideologies are being normalized.  I would like to see the resolution discussed, and as Selectwoman Nosal has repeatedly said—we can craft our own resolution upon which the entire Board of Selectman can agree, and which reflects our Old Lyme values. We cannot afford to be silent in this historic moment.

To answer the question directly:  Yes, I would have signed it.

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.

Low Taxes, Local Control and Great Schools: I will work to maintain and improve the greatest aspects of our small town:  holding the line on taxes and working to lower them, keeping decision-making local, supporting our schools and helping our seniors.  I will look for additional efficiencies in our budget process and aggressively pursue state and federal funds for projects that can improve our neighborhoods and quality of life.  We should also promote Old Lyme’s local farms and small businesses, finding ways to help them succeed.  

Conservation and Resiliency: Nature is at the heart of who we are as a town.  Numerous volunteers and benefactors have done the great work of protecting and maintaining Old Lyme’s open spaces, and as selectman I would support having the town double down its commitment.  Protecting our lands gives us the additional benefit of conserving our most vital resource:  our aquifers.  Climate change will be impacting many of our communities along the shore and inland, and testing our infrastructure.  Preservation of our wetlands and creation of nature-based solutions will be key to our success in dealing with rising sea levels.  

Strategic Vision.  Strategies of inaction and resistance are not effective, and indeed, often counter-productive. Proposals for a 24-hour convenience store/gas station on Halls Road and 30,000 square foot commercial units of unspecified use on Shore Road have aroused strong opposition, but are the result of the town’s lack of planning and foresight.  Without a substantive plan, we will have unwanted outcomes. The Old Lyme Economic Development Study (2020) is a representative survey of our residents and business community and should not sit on the shelf gathering dust.  After public discussion of the recommendations, we should draft policy and implement solutions that have broad consensus among our residents and business owners.

Martha Shoemaker (D): Candidate for Old Lyme First Selectman

Martha Shoemaker

Biography:

Martha Shoemaker currently serves as co-chair on the Region 18 Board of Education, the LOL Prevention Coalition and as President of The Friends of the OLPGN Library.  Martha is a retired teacher (35 years) and served as her union president for twelve years.  She has been employed at FiberQA for four years as their purchasing and production lead.  She has been a resident of Old Lyme with her husband Scott for 25 years. They have three adult sons, David, Tim, and Peter.  In her spare time, Martha enjoys a walk on the beach or revitalizing antique furniture. 

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

I am running for First Selectman in Old Lyme for three reasons: 

Keep taxes low and support small businesses. 

Protect our natural resources to preserve the beauty and character of our small town.

Restore transparency, responsiveness, and accountability to town hall.

I will take the time to listen to all residents regardless of their political affiliation. We may not always agree, but we should always listen to each other.  Our current first selectman seems to have forgotten this.  I will also use every tool at my disposal to communicate with the public.  We are decades behind similarly situated towns because our current administration does not value modern technology.  

Old Lyme has abundant open space and natural beauty. Historically we have enjoyed low taxes, low crime, and a first-class school system. Now we must find ways to attract young families to our town to avoid declining enrollment and we need to keep Old Lyme attractive, accessible, and affordable for our seniors. I will work with the Affordable Housing Commission to craft solutions.   Similarly, revitalization of Halls Road and the 156 Gateway will positively impact economic and housing options for young professionals and seniors. 

My background as a union leader proves that I can effectively use mediation and negotiation skills. These will be important as I bring groups from both sides of the table together to look at the issues, strategize for the future and find solutions that are mutually agreeable.  

As a town leader I will cultivate the qualities of collaboration, teamwork, and civility. When elected officials demonstrate how to differ with one another respectfully, find compromise, and focus on the common good, community members benefit. I am able to acknowledge differences with mutual respect to move an agenda forward and I will make collaborative progress possible.

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.

To me, there are two main issues with the way the Resolution has been handled.  This first is imbedded in your question: it was introduced in August 2020.  For fifteen months the Republicans on the Board of Selectmen (BoS) have routinely refused to allow discussion of the Resolution to be added to the BoS meeting agenda, and they are adamant that it will not be put up for a vote.  In my opinion, that is poor leadership.  In my various leadership positions, I have fully understood that it is difficult to make decisions that satisfy everyone.  But that’s precisely why it’s important to talk about the issues. Even if proponents and opponents of this Resolution don’t agree on all of it, there may be areas of commonality that create a way forward that is acceptable to all.  To date, we don’t know that because the Republican selectmen won’t hear debate on the matter.

The second issue relates to the Resolution’s merits.  There is empirical evidence that structural racism affects public health outcomes.  The AMA, the CDC, the APHA and virtually every other public health body has confirmed this.  So, the only real question is: how do we as the town of Old Lyme respond?  The path Republican leadership has chosen is to bury their heads in the sand arguing, “maybe that’s so elsewhere, but not here.”  I think that approach is shortsighted and bad for the town. Declaring that we stand with those who suffer from structural racism is not some sort of tacit admission that we are a racist town.  On the contrary, it is affirmation that we are not.  If elected, I would welcome discussion on this and would sign a Resolution that reflects the truth: that Old Lyme is a welcoming and open-minded community.

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.

The three most important issues are as follows:

Infrastructure/Development – The management of the sewer project for the shoreline area will be critical during the next two years and our focus should be on finding grants and other innovative ways to pay for the solution.   I will also be supporting the Affordable Housing Commission recommendations for compliance with state mandates.  During my time campaigning I have heard from many residents who would enjoy small investments such as a dog park, splash pad or skate park.  The enhancement of Hains Park is also to be considered. 

Economic Development – Promoting the Halls Road master plan, improve the 156 gateway into Soundview and supporting small businesses are of utmost importance at this time.  The Plan of Conservation and Development that was adopted in February 2021 will provide guidance as we move forward. We must work together to see that Old Lyme continues to develop in the manner which our residents see as its future.

Fiscal and Personnel Management – I will create transparency to the budget process, while making sure our residents are getting the value for their tax dollars.  We must put into place Public Health and Safety policies.   The recent discovery that our cyber insurance has lapsed will have to be addressed immediately.  Town hall personnel deserve to have a Human Resource director (part-time) to complete job descriptions, provide evaluations and goal setting for departments and to update our policies under state guidelines. Town employees have the right to be treated equitably with established guidelines.

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.

Timothy C. Griswold (R): Candidate (Incumbent) for Old Lyme First Selectman

Timothy Griswold

Biography:
Town of Old Lyme:
First Selectman: 16 years
Treasurer: 4 years
Board of Finance: 15 years Chairman: 6 years
Board of Assessment Appeals: 8 years
Business:
Various banking positions in Connecticut –
Commercial Lending and Commercial Real Estate
Civic:
Florence Griswold Museum – Board
Lyme Academy of Fine Arts – Board
LOL Chamber of Commerce – Past President
LOL Lions Club
MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation
OL Historical Society – Past President
Military:
U.S. Navy – Viet Nam
VFW – Past Commander
Personal:
Resident of Old Lyme since 1976.  Live with Kate Peale, Buttons & Ziggy.
Two daughters & four grandchildren in Old Lyme

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

Having served as First Selectman for nearly 16 years and on the Board of Finance for 15 years prior to that, I believe I have a solid knowledge of how town government works.  Because of my years of service on boards of numerous local organizations (Flo Gris, Lyme Academy, Historical Society, VFW, Lions & Chamber, to name a few), I have come to know many wonderful people throughout town.  I think we all should be proud that so many people volunteer their time to town causes and this commitment makes Old Lyme great.

Old Lyme has coped with several unusual events of late (COVID and severe weather conditions) and we have completed or are working on several complicated projects (sewers in the beach area, sidewalks in Sound View and on Ferry Rd., Mile Creek Rd. bridge replacement, Halls Rd. improvement plan, and replacing the Hains Park restroom building and the Transfer Station Scale House, among others).  Overseeing all these projects are in addition to the responsibilities of managing the town.  The benefit of my prior experience has certainly been invaluable to me and has made my job easier and more efficient.  

I am running for First Selectman because I am committed to the people of Old Lyme to see these projects through and to continue to manage Old Lyme efficiently and in a fiscally prudent manner.  I take pride in having an “open door” policy and I enjoy interacting with residents to hear their concerns and viewpoints.  

I respectfully ask for your vote on November 2nd because I believed I am well positioned to handle the responsibilities of First Selectman and I have a solid record of accomplishments to retain the charming character of our town.

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 have consistently stated I am unwilling to sign the Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis.  I believe it is hyperbolic and, if passed by the Board of Selectmen, would officially and incorrectly characterize Old Lyme as being a racist community.  It would also require the Board of Selectmen to establish unnecessary policies and procedures that, if not followed, could expose the Town to undesirable consequences.

The proponents of the Resolution claim that our citizens are not racists.  If that is true, why do we need the Resolution?  Obviously, there are likely a few people who may be racists but why adopt all this process when most all of our citizens are not racist and are very welcoming people.

Ms. Nosal states that about 22 towns have passed racism resolutions.  There are 169 towns and cities in Connecticut, so 147 of them, or 87%, have not adopted a resolution.  Thus, a large majority of Connecticut towns and cities have decided against adopting a racism resolution.

I believe the people of Old Lyme should continue to be welcoming to people of various backgrounds, religions and races.  The Town’s new Affordable Housing Commission is working on providing more housing stock that will be affordable and our churches are working to assist resettling refugee families within our community.  By working together, we are making progress.  We do not need to adopt a resolution that plainly states Old Lyme is a racist community.  This issue has divided us.  Give us credit for the good things we do – don’t blame us for what we don’t do.

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.

Sound View Sewers:  The Town of Old Lyme and the three private beach associations have been planning for sewers in the beach area for years and we are nearing the start of the project to install the shared infrastructure (collection pipe, pump station and force main to East Lyme).  The Town’s WPCA and Board of Selectmen have worked hard with project engineers to obtain easements and inter-municipal agreements, to line up the funding and to plan for the installation of the gravity sewer in Sound View.  The Board of Selectmen must continue to see this project to conclusion.

Economic Development:   We know the Town has a limited commercial base and the Halls Rd. and the beach areas (including Sound View) have greater potential.  The EDC Commission has done good work on plans to revitalize these areas to attract new commercial enterprises.  The Selectmen can work with the EDC and others to champion sensible commercial upgrades that will improve our Grand List and boost employment.  With the right vision and master plan, Hartford Ave. itself could become a fun and wholesome destination.  The Selectmen should help to shape the vision and facilitate the change.

Affordable Housing:  The Affordable Housing Commission is doing a terrific job to set the Town on the right course to address this important need.  The Commission and the Board of Selectmen were successful at obtaining Town meeting approval for the Town’s Affordable Housing Ordinance and the Commission is working on the five-year update of our Affordable Housing Plan that is due next July.  Two more affordable housings lots will soon be situated on the McCulloch Open Space property the Town recently acquired and a developer will be selected to construct a single family home on each.  The Board of Selectmen will encourage the development of additional affordable housing units in sensible locations. 

 

Old Lyme Boy’s Soccer Team Continues to Bounce Back with Win over Coginchaug

OLD LYME — On Monday, Old Lyme continued their recovery from a slow start to the season with a 2-1 win over Coginchaug.

Old Lyme’s goals were scored by Liam Celic and Anders Silberberg, who also assisted Celic’s goal.

Sam Whittle scored Coginchaug’s lone goal.

Jonah Lathrop  was in goal for the Wildcats and made four saves. Coginchaug’s goalie Logan Bender notched seven saves

Old Lyme is now 2-4-0 overall and 2-3-0 in the Shoreline Conference.

M&J Bus, Inc. Urgently Seeks New Drivers

M&J Bus, Inc.

URGENT — M&J Bus is Hiring in Old Lyme Now!

Tonight SECWAC Hosts Zoom Presentation on ‘Crisis in the Uyghur Region’

Joshua Freeman

LYME/OLD LYME/AREAWIDE — On Tuesday, May 25, at 6 p.m., the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) presents Joshua Freeman of Princeton University speaking on Crisis in the Uyghur Region: Xinjiang, 2017 to the Present.

The presentation will be online via Zoom.

Registration required.

The event is free for members, the fee for guests is $20.

The link to join us will be emailed with your registration confirmation. Zoom meetings will be used:
https://scwac.wildapricot.org/event-4232340

Freeman is a historian of 20th-century China and Inner Asia. His research centers around official culture and nation formation in China’s northwestern borderlands, and in particular the cultural history of the transborder Uyghur nation.

He received his Ph.D. in Inner Asian and Altaic Studies at Harvard University in 2019, where his research received support from the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright-IIE, and multiple centers at Harvard.

On the basis of his dissertation, he is currently at work on a book manuscript titled “Print Communism: Uyghur National Culture in Twentieth-Century China.”

Drawing on cultural, literary, and political history, this study demonstrates that socialist policies, implemented in northwest China’s Xinjiang region from the 1930s through the late 20th century, enabled the small Sino-Soviet frontier community of Ili to transform its local culture into the new Uyghur national culture.

Examining this process offers insight into the nexus between socialism and nation formation at the intersection of the Chinese, Soviet, and Islamic worlds.

Freeman’s work as a cultural historian is informed and inspired by the seven years he spent living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

In addition to working extensively there as a translator, he completed a master’s degree in Uyghur literature at Xinjiang Normal University with a thesis on Uyghur modernist poetry, which he composed and defended in Uyghur.

He has translated (link is external) the work of a number of Uyghur poets into English and has published widely in American literary journals.

At Princeton, Freeman lectures on Chinese and Inner Asian history in the Department of East Asian Studies.

If you are new to Zoom virtual meetings and would like to learn more about how to join the event, visit zoom.us for more information. Also, feel free to call 860-912-5718 for technical advice prior to the event. It will not be possible to resolve issues during the meeting.

A link to the recording will be shared via email following the meeting.

 

Death Announced of John Sholtis of Old Lyme

OLD LYME – John Sholtis, 77, of Old Lyme passed away May 9, 2021.

He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 55 years, Judy; daughter Adrienne and her husband Jim Lair; daughter Michelle Sholtis, her husband Michel Leroy; and the light of his life granddaughter Vivian Leroy; along with daughter of the heart Natalie Wellmaker and family…

Visit this link to read the full obituary published May 13, in The Day.

Youth, Gaming & Gambling: Learn About Trends, Warning Signs, Prevention in Free Webinar Tonight


LYME/OLD LYME —
Can video gaming be dangerous for kids?

On Tuesday, May 4, from 7 to 8 p.m., Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau and the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Community Coalition are sponsoring a Zoom presentation  on youth gaming and gambling. The Parent Teacher Organizations of Lyme, Mile Creek and LOL Middle School are co-sponsoring the event.

This free, interactive workshop will discuss an overview of youth gaming and gambling. Learn from experts about risk factors, and protective factors for prevention, treatment, and recovery. All are welcome.

The presenters are Kaitlin Brown and Kelly Leppard, who both have extensive experience in this field.

Brown is Director of Programs & Services with CT Council on Problem Gambling. Kaitlin is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor, and holds and International Gaming Disorder Certificate.

Leppard serves as the Primary Prevention Services Coordinator for Problem Gambling Services with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Certified Prevention Specialist.

Register for the presentation at this link.

LLHD Weekly Report Jan. 21, 2021

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Ledge Light Weekly Report 01-14-2021

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Ledge Light Weekly Report Jan. 7, 2021

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A Century on Broadway Song List

A Century On Broadway Song List

Ledge Light Health District Weekly Report, Dec. 20

Click on the link below to open the report.

LLHD_12-10-2020_weekly_report

Norm Needleman (D): Candidate (Incumbent) for CT State Senate, 33rd District

State Senator Norm Needleman

Biography

State Senator Norm Needleman, seeking his second term in Hartford, is chair of the Energy & Technology Committee. Owner and CEO of Centerbrook’s Tower Laboratories and First Selectman of Essex, now in his fifth term in that role.

Senator Needleman is serious about putting partisan politics aside and finding solutions that benefit all of Connecticut, from finding new solutions in energy generation to supporting legislation to clean our lakes and rivers. He is currently working on the ‘Take Back Our Grid Act,’ energy-focused legislation that would require utilities to be monitored and judged based on performance, assisting ratepayers.

1.  What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

Here are the three challenges I believe require the immediate and intense focus of legislators.

  • Manage the COVID-19 pandemic so that individuals, businesses, and schools can return to normal life as soon as possible. Use science, data, and proven medical technology to develop fact-based policies that minimize the spread of the virus. At the same time, make certain that individuals and businesses can access the help they need to confront the difficulties the virus imposes on families and employers. The challenge is to maintain a credible voice in developing policies for managing COVID-19, and  have worked tirelessly to help individuals and businesses in their time of need.
  • Advocate to protect our basic rights. The core values of our democracy are at stake in this election. The collapse of both reason and the rule of law at the federal level…in the White House, in congress, and in the judiciary…has profound implications right here where we live. Our state government is the firewall protecting  basic rights like healthcare, a women’s right to choose, and the right to vote. The advocate we send to Hartford must confront challenges to these basic rights, and make certain that the state government remains a pillar of fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for every individual in the state.

Confront the tough decisions that keep the state on the path to fiscal stability. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 virus, the state has made progress in managing the budget. Without raising  the income tax or sales tax, we have accrued the largest rainy day fund in the state’s history. That fund was a vital resource in managing the COVID-19 crisis. We need to continue to manage the state’s budget process, including making difficult decisions about funding, in order to provide the long term financial stability that is essential for job creation, a healthy business environment, and a robust economy.

2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

The three issues I have cited impact the life of every individual in every one of our towns. But protecting the health and safety of our citizens comes first. COVID-19 is a threat to every element of our society. If we don’t actively protect or citizens,  every aspect of daily life – jobs, schools, recreation, social activity, family life, health, culture –– is affected.  Managing the spread of the virus until medical science gives us vaccines and treatments is vital to our families, our businesses, and our state government.

There are three areas where I can contribute to managing  and controlling the COVID-19 virus.  First, I can continue to actively contribute to developing fact-based policies to confront the virus.  I can help the state senate and the administration maintain a sharp focus on science and data in managing the virus. Common sense, data-driven decisions have kept our state among the best at controlling the first wave of the virus. I will continue to advocate policy development based on science and data.

Second, I can help develop processes and procedures that accelerate the safe reopening of schools and businesses. Making common sense decisions about how and when to reopen schools and businesses is vitally important to returning society to full function as soon as possible. My background in business and town management have been helpful in shaping the policies we used to safely reopen businesses in our state. Undoubtedly, we will need to continually refine what we do and how we do it. I can and will continue to work with the administration in developing forward-looking processes and procedures.

Third, I will work tirelessly to help my constituents access the help they need when confronted with the virus. I have helped secure unemployment benefits for hundreds of constituents, and have helped many businesses identify and secure the support they need to survive the  challenges of the pandemic. Over the course of the months since the onset of the pandemic, I have been sustained by my belief that my job is to help people.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

Here is a list of characteristics that collectively comprise the reason I believe I am the best qualified candidate to represent the people of the 33rd District in the State Senate.

  • I have over 20 years of public service experience. In that time, I have learned how important it is to base decisions on facts and common sense. 
  • I approach policy making with the perspective that comes from the real world experience of having managed the finances and delivery of services in a town. 
  • I believe that an inclusive, bipartisan dialogue is the key to solving problems.  
  • I’m not a politician, and I have no political ambitions. I’m in the state senate to help people, not to build a platform for higher office.
  • I believe in our state and in the towns in our district.  We are blessed with a great place to live, and  it is my responsibility to do everything I can to make it better for our generation, and for our children. 
  • I have been fortunate in my life, but my proudest achievement is helping people through their hard times, and helping them reach and sustain a better life.
  • I am motivated by the belief that I am in the state senate to help make certain that our state government remains a pillar of fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for every individual.

Brendan Saunders (R): Candidate for CT State Senate, 33rd District

Brendan Saunders

Biography

Brendan Saunders lives in Clinton today, but got into politics young. While growing up in Westbrook, he distributed lawn signs for Ed Munster’s Congressional Campaign and volunteered on the committee to elect Town Clerk, Tanya Lane. He helped former State Senator Art Linares and former State Representative Jesse MacLachlan.

He received his MA from Capital Seminary in Maryland. As ordained minister,  he founded Lighthouse Community Church, Westbrook, and stepped down to create the Fusion Podcast for young adults. He is  a self-described Reagan Republican and tireless advocate for freedom, fairness and opportunity for district’s residents and businesses. 

 

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

  1. High Cost of Living

High taxes, fees, regulations, electricity costs have made it expensive to live and operate a business in this state.  

  1. Business Climate

The pandemic made the situation worse. Prior, CT business climate was poor. Large companies left and small businesses suffered under the high cost of doing business here. 

  1. Policing

Since passing the Police Accountability Bill (6004), recruitment is undermined and the relationship between the state and police officers is tenuous.

2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question 1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process.

The issue of the Ct’s high cost of living must be met head on. Raising taxes must stop.  Adding additional taxes must be curtailed.  Fees must be rolled back.  At the same time, Hartford must trim spending.

Basic economics teaches that we cannot tax our way to prosperity.  The current migration of people out of New York City and into Connecticut is an example of this.  On the other hand, lowering the cost of living creates an inviting environment for business and individuals.

If elected I will work to roll back taxes and fees that have hurt small businesses like the Pass-Through Entity tax and excessive LLC filing fees.  I will work to restore the R&D tax credit and expand the state’s apprenticeship tax credit program.  I will not vote for tax increases or adding the sales tax to additional items or services.  I will work to find areas of government to cut with a goal of streamlining and creating efficiency in our agencies and departments. 

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?. 

Honesty and compassion.  I  served in ministry and am known as a man of my word.  I seek to unify, and not divide.  I have not used negative attacks against my opponent or deceptive tactics to erroneously describe his views.

David Rubino (D): Candidate for CT House of Representatives, 23rd District

David Rubino

Biography

I am a lawyer who has worked nationally and internationally for most of my career in support of people in need. I have operated at the highest levels of government globally, working with legislatures, parliaments and presidential administrations throughout the world.

Currently I sit on the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission. I am a small business owner with my own law firm on Halls Road in Old Lyme.  My wife Alecia is an English teacher at Daniel Hand High School in Madison.  We have two daughters, Bea (9) and Frida (5) in the Region 18 public school system.

 

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

The primary concern heading into the next session has to be responding to COVID.  This is a moving target. We have no idea where we are going to be in October, never mind January. And there are a lot of issues to cover. I am a parent, the husband of a teacher and a small business owner.  So I have a lot of skin in the game.  I would say that we need to be vigilant about a surge in cases and be sure to appropriately protect our frontline medical workers, teachers and students.  This means ensuring that we have ample PPE and that resources are directed to hospitals and medical providers.  With regard to schools, I think that we need to be smart and follow the science.

Secondly, and relatedly we’ll need to look to sustain and grow Connecticut’s economy.  We are likely to be facing a lengthy recession due to COVID and it is imperative that we take the appropriate actions to protect and grow our small businesses.  This means ensuring that there is support in place for businesses that may be suffering as a result of the virus and likewise ensuring that workers who either lose jobs or have reduced hours can make ends meet. It also means investing in our economy to stimulate job growth.

Finally, I think in the wake of all this, we cannot forget about climate change. Though there is a lot going on in the world, the country, the state and the district, climate change remains an existential threat. We need to set aside political differences and embrace clean energy policies to protect the environment, while creating crucial opportunities for job growth and economic stability.

2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question 1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

I think the economic response to COVID is tantamount.  People social-distance, they wear masks, they wash hands.  In general we are better situated to combat the “physical” side of the virus than we were six or eight months ago.  Moreover, if a vaccine is available in the coming months, the public health concerns will be able to be reduced even further.  But that is simply not the case with the economic effects.

The economy has been hit and it has been hit hard.  So we need to do all we can to address the repercussions.  For me the first step will be to look at Governor Lamont’s executive orders and determine which ones we need to codify.  To date we have been reactive to the virus. It’s time to get proactive.  We need to help those who are struggling and for that we need revenue.  Therefore, I would look at increasing our sources of revenue and widening our tax base. With regard to the former, I would advocate for pursuing the legalization, regulation, and taxation, of marijuana in our state.  We are currently losing revenue to neighboring states, and getting ahead of the inevitable national legalization of marijuana will allow us to quickly take advantage of upwards of $100 million/year in tax revenue.

Finally, I would look to take advantage of the “new normal.” One upside of the virus is that we have seen that remote work is now an acceptable part of our cultural fabric. Industry is less location-dependent and an office in New York or Boston is no longer a prerequisite to success. Suddenly our state, and our district, has a business allure that it arguably never had before. I envision an economic future that involves attracting small business and entrepreneurs via incubators and co-working spaces, and will propose that the state invest in a solid marketing campaign to leverage all that we have to offer.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

I have spent the better part of my career fighting for the rule of law, for human rights and for Democracy. I know what good governance looks like, because my job for over a decade was to promote it.  But I think perhaps my greatest strength – especially for the moment we are currently in – is my track record of responding to adversity.

I have lived and worked in many developing countries and the crux of my work focused on human rights, women’s rights, anti-corruption, human trafficking, elections, and legislative reform. I have decades of practical, real world experience overcoming difficult and often unprecedented challenges.  I have helped to draft legislation for various countries on issues of national and international import.  I have specifically designed programs geared toward creating environments for small businesses to grow and thrive.  Fighting the kind of fight we are in has been my life’s work.

Significantly, all of my international work was bipartisan in nature – supported by funding from the Bush administration, then the Obama administration, and finally by the Trump administration.  Some American values know no party affiliation.  I hope to adapt this apolitical approach to problem-solving to my work in Hartford.  We have a lot of work to do to bring this country back together and it starts right here in our own backyard.

Martha Marx (D): Candidate for CT State Senate, 20th District

Martha Marx

Biography

Martha Marx has been a resident of New London and a registered nurse for 30 years. She has the experience, energy, and dedication to be an effective leader and representative for our communities in Hartford. Martha’s responsiveness, wisdom, and empathy make her the best choice to be our next State Senator.

A former New London City Council member, Martha led the Public Works, Finance, and School Buildings/Maintenance Committees. Martha listened to a wide range of constituents before making decisions that improved public health, affordable housing and home health care in the area.

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

Fighting COVID-19 by following science, not politics

There is only one way to battle this virus: follow scientific expertise. When the nation puts politics above science, we only prolong the suffering that we are all sharing. As your voice in Hartford, I will not compromise our health policies by putting the needs of special interests and skeptics above scientific truth.

Improving everyone’s access to quality healthcare

Healthcare should be affordable and accessible to everyone. Whether it is a yearly checkup, a new prescription, or an emergency surgery, every person should be able to cover the bill without demolishing their hard-earned savings. I support removing barriers and obstacles to make quality healthcare accessible to everyone.

Establishing a living wage 

Our communities have depended on the heroic work of essential workers during this pandemic. Many Americans put their lives on the line everyday putting food on grocery shelves, disinfecting classrooms, and providing countless other services that keep our towns running. It is our responsibility to make sure that all workers are paid the wages that they deserve- now and in the future. No one should have to work two or three jobs just to make rent. As your state senator, I will fight to make sure all workers are paid a living wage.

2.  From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

Providing access to high-quality healthcare for seniors and low-income parents 

As someone who has worked in healthcare my entire life, I know that you can’t predict when a loved one is going to fall ill. In these times it is painfully obvious that medical care is a necessity- not a luxury. When you are sitting in a hospital bed, the last thing you should have to worry about is whether you can afford to be healthy. We must protect our most vulnerable neighbors and guarantee seniors and low-income parents access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.

We can start with passing a public option for health insurance. There has been a researched complete bill sitting on Comptroller Lembo’s desk for years and has not been implemented due to insurance industry lobbyists lining the pockets of Republican party leadership.

A public option would be less expensive and provide better care for all patients. The Working Families Party will be leading the charge on this policy and I will join them in that fight.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

“Martha loves her community. She has proven through her career as a nurse and city councilor that she is a champion for the middle class and working people. She is very strong, has a huge heart, and she doesn’t back down. She is ready to face the obstacles that will come up in Hartford and that’s the kind of person we need there,” – State Representative Joe de la Cruz.

Martha Marx has the experience, energy, and dedication to be an effective leader and representative for our communities in Hartford. Martha’s responsiveness, wisdom, and empathy make her the best choice to be our next State Senator.

Paul Formica (R): Candidate (Incumbent) for CT State Senate, 20th District

State Senator Paul Formica

Biography

Paul Formica has served as state senator since 2015. He is the proud father of four grown children and has been owner and operator of Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant for 35 years. Paul is a co-founder of the Tourism Caucus and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee and Energy & Technology Committee.

He has been an advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, foster care youth, mental health and substance abuse treatment, women’s health care, and energy ratepayers. Prior to serving in the legislature, he was the First Selectman of East Lyme from 2007-2015, and long serving municipal official.

 

1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?

Above all, recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic is the most pressing issue.  We need to manage the second wave of the virus by protecting residents while working to safely get people back to work and address the social crises that have emerged during this difficult time. While Connecticut’s response has led the nation in many regards, there is much that can be done better and more work ahead.

Recovery must span every facet of our livelihoods. Policies must preserve public health, including the health of our most vulnerable residents like seniors and those in nursing homes who have suffered greatly in our state. Additionally, we must work to restore jobs, open businesses and help CT’s economy get back on its feet.

Secondly, we must make Connecticut more affordable for all people. Current leadership is forcing tomorrow’s taxpayers to mitigate the damage of record deficits and unfunded liabilities. The shortcomings of the current state of our finances have been identified time and again, and the pandemic has made it especially imperative to mitigate the problems without tax increases on working- and middle-class families. Connecticut families are stretched to their limit between job losses and the ever-rising cost of necessities like electricity and health care. We need to make health care more accessible and affordable, and we must reduce burdens that put even more strain on family budgets. These matters require bipartisan communication and collaboration to render lasting solutions.

Connecticut must also prioritize creating opportunities for all people to succeed and stay in this state. Ahead of 2020, Connecticut faced an exodus between the “brain drain” and older residents fleeing for warmer temperatures and lower taxes. The state must make a significant investment in workforce development and education. High school students must be keenly aware of the many opportunities to gain career training without the singular track of needing a college education. We must support fair education funding to help our children and teachers as they try to fulfill the needs of all students, with the additional wrinkle of remote learning.

2.  From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?

Our top priority must be to successfully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic

I want to first extend a sincere thank you to all healthcare workers and first responders who have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic. Governor Lamont managed the virus well on the statewide scale, however our nursing home and assisted living populations make up a disproportionate share of the infections and fatalities. The struggles faced by nursing home workers, residents and their loved ones are a clear example of why the state needs to adopt a comprehensive plan to prevent and prepare for future outbreaks, ensure safe family visits can occur to stop the severe damage of social isolation, and look at ways to improve testing, facility infrastructure, PPE supplies and protocols. I hear directly from constituents affected by this issue and lawmakers like myself who have a boots-on-the-ground perspective need to work together to identify what the state has done well and what we need to do better to help the most vulnerable and prevent the virus from taking more lives.

Connecticut workers and businesses have also suffered a tremendous blow. I commend those employers who have stepped up to the challenge and are making incredible changes to the way they do business to maintain their staff’s and customers’ safety – from physical changes to their facilities to embarking on web-based delivery of goods and services. We need to continue to support small businesses by reducing burdens they face and hearing their concerns. As the areas of the state start to see a rise in cases, including in the 20th district, I also appreciate the way the administration is communicating with higher-infected towns and allowing local communities to make certain decisions on a town by town basis.

Finally, the legislature needs to be ready to address the social crises that have emerged including increased substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, and education issues. I have worked to address these difficult issues with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the past and now more than ever we have to continue that work together.

3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

Common sense, collaboration and a focus on the issues – not the politics – impacting the citizens of Connecticut are essential to move the state forward.

I always strive to put people above politics and have a track record of working in a bipartisan manner to get results for the people I am honored to represent.

For example, as chair of the Appropriations Committee in 2017 and 2018 I worked to bring lawmakers together to pass two consecutive, bipartisan no-tax-increase budgets. Those budgets protected our most vulnerable, eliminated the tax on social security making it easier for seniors to remain in CT, ensured core functions of government, and implemented historic fiscal policies including spending and bonding caps that have led to a historic level of funds in the state’s rainy day fund today. 

I’ve also worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase renewable, efficient energy sources, while securing jobs at Millstone, maintaining our base load supply, and implementing ratepayer protections.

I’ve been named a “Children’s Champion” by the CT Early Childhood Alliance and have been proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase access to prenatal care, by making pregnancy a qualifying life event, so that expectant mothers can obtain health insurance.

I listen to every constituent who comes to me and work hard to give people a voice who are not being heard.

Finally, as a small business owner I understand the struggles of Connecticut’s job creators and workers. I know the importance of balancing a budget so that the people who rely on you can support their families and be successful in life. State government should operate in this same way. Decisions should never be based on politics. They should be based on the people who rely on you, and in state government that’s every single resident in Connecticut.

With your support, I will continue to help change how we do business in Hartford.