Dear Fellow Democrats,
Happy New year, and thank you for the incredible hard work and support that you all showed in the municipal election. In a recent newsletter, Bob Lessler described what we achieved last November. It was truly historic. Among other things Democrats have their first ever true majority on the board of finance and of Easton members on the region 9 board of education. I would like to highlight one thing though, and that was the performance of my running mate Nick D'Addario. Nick worked incredibly hard talking to folks and knocking on nearly 2400 doors. I accompanied him on many days and saw how well he related to people while he introduced himself. As I have come to know Nick, his generosity, particularly all of his many non-profit endeavors, really show how much he cares about people and this resonated with voters. I am so happy that he was rewarded with fantastic support. As a result, in his first public election, he easily surpassed a 3-term veteran and popular opponent. Way to go Nick!
The other gratifying thing to witness during the campaign was the bipartisan support we received. I believe that folks recognized our working across the aisle, and our commitment to doing what is best for Easton. People also expressed concerns with the leadership of the Republican party. We have already seen instances of well-meaning Republicans bypassing their own town committee to come to the board of selectmen directly to express their desire to serve our town. We have seen lawsuits within the party and against our town for the current leadership to gain power, and board and commission nominations from the town committee that are concerning even to Republicans, as well as harassment of those who have disagreed with the leadership. Clearly, these concerns contributed to our historic election results.
Many of my goals for 2024 will sound familiar. We must continue with open, transparent, and effective government. Communication with the town is an ongoing effort. We need to engage even more people and make sure they get accurate information. We continue to improve processes in town hall, to facilitate permitting and make construction of new homes and other projects easier. It is time to discuss making certain elected positions appointed, ensuring qualified and experienced leaders in town hall, and protecting those who work for us and those who volunteer on boards and commissions.
Financially, we must continue to control taxes. To do that, we must continue to control spending, but we also need to maximize revenue and bring more money into our coffers. We put a great deal of effort into applying for, and securing $396,000 from the state for site work at our new EMS headquarters. We brought in $473,000 from the Aspetuck land trust from the sale of 19 acres at South Park Ave. We also secured funding of $244,000 to fix the tennis courts at Helen Keller middle school and outfit them for pickleball. We will use state money to fund new radios for our emergency workers, particularly the fire department. Lastly, we are working towards getting a more equitable assessment from Aquarion for our
reservoirs which will increase our tax revenue. We will continue to look to be proactive in our search for new opportunities for outside funding of town projects, particularly for infrastructure.
We must have all contracts signed by year’s end to begin renovation of the EMS building to fully utilize our Covid funds. The New England Prayer Center has occupied the house and structures at South Park Avenue for many years without a lease. I plan to finalize an agreement, settling the last question about the South Park property. I recently wrote an editorial about land preservation in Easton for the Courier. How we handle large tracts of land which come on the market are a major concern.
Lastly, Nick and I remain committed to making Easton a warm and welcoming place for all of our residents. We will also push hard for civility. Anyone who has been to a board of selectmen meeting knows that is a work in progress. Harassment cannot remain the primary response when people disagree with each other or do not like the messages they receive from those who work to serve them. As Democrats we must set the standard for civility and insist that the town follows.
This will be a year driven by national and state issues and elections. As in the prior year we must be absolutely committed to working hard to preserve our values and our state and country. We can achieve the extremely positive results in 2024 that we achieved in 2023. We can and we must!
All the best,
January 30, 2024