Letter — Make an impact: Vote

Lisa Valenti
Full article available here

I want to take the opportunity to thank the residents of District 4 for voting for me two years ago and I hope I have earned your support for re-election on November 7.

As an unaffiliated candidate and part of the minority caucus, I have sometimes questioned if I have made an impact with the votes I have cast. But what I am sure of is my caucus’ effort to publish regular summaries in the Trumbull Times, hopefully they helped keep issues transparent. We tried our best to make decisions based on what was good for all of the voters not just the ones we thought voted for us. That is why I choose to remain an unaffiliated candidate; (1) I can’t control what goes on in Washington and Hartford but I can roll my sleeves up and try to make an impact on a local level. (2) I don’t see my neighbors or friends as a member of a political party but as Trumbullites. We all have a vested interest to keep our town safe, our schools the best and taxes affordable.

Our hope continues to find a financially viable path to have our young people return after college graduation and our seniors able to remain here if they wish. This election I hope voters forget about political labels and really get to know what their neighbors who are volunteering their time for office are really all about.

Among the hot issues in this term was the community center. While I could support this in some form, in the long run, I strongly believe we have too many financial uncertainties with the state budget not being resolved. I have always felt full input from the entire community by way of a ballot question this November would have given us a better understanding of the community’s desire. I agree the structure of the senior center is not ideal and not ADA compliant. In the interim I feel we could have explored additional programming for our seniors.

My decisions are based on my business knowledge as a self employed financial consultant and local realtor. When my children were school-aged, I tried to give back to the community in the way of PTA president, catechist and participate in their sports organizations. We have a great town with a bright future and one I am proud to call home. Make an impact and cast your vote on Tuesday November 7.

Letter — Tesoro is in tune with Trumbull

By Annette Clift on October 24, 2017
Full letter available here

This weekend my husband and I had the pleasure of having longtime friends over for a visit. While reminiscing of when we were parents of younger children, the thought occurred to me that many newer parents of Trumbull may not know what First Selectman Candidate, Vicki Tesoro, will do for our children when given the opportunity.

I don’t want to give the impression I speak for Vicki Tesoro, because I don’t. I have gone to the VickiforTrumbull.com website and reviewed her platform on the issues. One of the issues listed in the tab is Youth Programs. I know firsthand that she takes the welfare of the Trumbull youth very seriously. You just need to review her resume to know she has worked for many years for our children in town.

Mrs. Tesoro will work with our children to be sure their input is heard by those who make the decisions that affect them directly. She has stated in her Youth Programs Platform that she will consult with our teens, add youth appointments to town committees where appropriate, and ensure the Recreation Department has the support for necessary programs/events. This is huge for our children because they are the future of our town, community and beyond.

We were lucky enough to have our children young in a time when this town was hopping with activities for them to participate. The Teen Center at Indian Ledge was utilized for many teen activities often, Trumbull had a Youth Commission to oversee such activities, the Trumbull Youth Association was an independent budget line item and had all year long activities encouraging the sense of community among teens. Mrs. Tesoro’s platform shows she in tune to these changes that must take place.

For 28 years I have lived in this beautiful Town. I have seen many changes. Some good changes have been made but many not so good. I encourage you all to go to VickiforTrumbull.com and educate yourself before you vote on November 7.

Letter — Tesoro will maintain school excellence, fiscal discipline

Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox
Full letter available here

Over 13 years ago, my wife Sujata and I moved into our new home in Trumbull. While we had considered many other places to live, we chose Trumbull because of its outstanding public schools. We were both the products of excellent public education systems, and we looked forward to affording our two daughters the same opportunities we enjoyed. Now, many years later, with our oldest daughter now in Middlebrook School and our younger daughter not far behind, we worry about a still-excellent school system imperiled by budget uncertainty in Hartford and here in Trumbull.

Fortunately, first selectman candidate Vicki Tesoro has an education program that will ensure the quality of Trumbull schools for years to come. Her education platform calls for a focus on curriculum development to keep our teachers current, increased access to AP and honors courses, world languages in elementary school, expanding access to the arts, and small class sizes. These are the steps that are necessary for Trumbull school systems to remain competitive in state and national rankings with our neighboring school districts. Retaining a broad-based, quality education is not only necessary for our children. It also ensures that our quality education system will continue to attract businesses and young families who are interested in relocating to Trumbull, which ensures the continued viability of our tax base. Maintaining quality education is therefore important for all citizens of Trumbull, not just those with children in the school system.

In the short term, Vicki Tesoro has a common-sense plan to see our schools through a period of uncertainty stemming from the budgetary chaos in Hartford. To shield our schools from suffering from the budget impasse or any possible catastrophic cuts in state aid, she would put education first by first allocating contingency funds, then by making non-essential spending reductions in town budgets, then by ensuring that any cuts to education spending minimize the impact on our students by cutting non-instructional areas first. In short, Vicki knows how to focus on maintaining the quality of our curriculum while simultaneously maintaining fiscal discipline.

Vicki Tesoro’s extensive experience in Trumbull’s education system inform her complete and thoughtful plans for keeping Trumbull schools competitive. She is a past president of the Trumbull Parent-Teacher-Student Association Council, past PTA president of Tashua School, Madison Middle School, and Trumbull High School, and a former member of the Trumbull Board of Education’s Policy Advisory Committee. She is also a founding member of the Trumbull Partnership against Underage Drinking and Drugs (TPAUD), an organization whose work became a model for similar programs throughout Fairfield County.

I urge Trumbull residents who care about education to take a close look at Vicki Tesoro’s education platform, which puts students first while maintaining fiscal responsibility. As First Selectman in Trumbull, Vicki would ensure the same quality public education for which Trumbull has become known for generations in the future.

Letter — Tesoro offers common sense and integrity

Maureen Napolitano
Full letter available here

To begin, I am a fiscally conservative Republican. I believe in small, but sensible, government. I have lived in Trumbull for 21 years and have seen a of lot of change over this time. I remember moving to a friendly, small town where we had year-round community events such as the Halloween festival, the Winter festival, and Trumbull Day at the end of June, near the Fourth of July with traditional fireworks that my kids could enjoy during the warm break from school. I remember concerts at Indian Ledge and playgrounds and pools ready and waiting on the first days after school let out.

What I don’t remember about this time was spending my hard-earned money on things like legal opinions, lawsuits and expensive land purchases and architectural renderings for community projects not yet approved. What I don’t remember was my town government claiming to be small, while expanding expenditures by requiring a legal opinion for almost every decision at taxpayer expense. What I don’t remember is the chaos of a proposed community center that I feel is a want and not a need during our current state budget crisis. What I don’t remember was divisive rhetoric that pitted neighbor against neighbor.

I have listened to Vicki Tesoro and her team. I like what I hear. She is a smart tax professional who understands the value of the dollar. She is a longtime resident and town volunteer who has spent countless hours attending meetings so that she is up to speed on the issues. She is a common-sense person of exceptional integrity who values input and research before reaching a judgment. She is someone who will put Trumbull before herself and will work tirelessly to bring back the town that I remember. I am a Republican and I am voting for Vicki Tesoro and her team on Nov. 7.

Letter — An engaged Trumbull is a better place

Councilman Bill Mecca (D-1st)
Full letter available here

As the grandson of Italian immigrants, I learned to value community for the relationships and support critical to a settling family. The community, and its volunteers, is critical to improving and maintaining quality of life through recreational, educational, or support services.

Trumbull Little League, Tashua Knolls Recreation Area, Beach Memorial Park, and the Nichols Improvement Association were established by a generation of volunteers committed to Trumbull and its future. Inspired by this, I made the initial steps into community service as a school volunteer and parent coach. Then, in 2012, I was elected to the Executive Board of the Nichols Improvement Association (NIA), an organization that once served as the town’s community center and hosted the first Trumbull Day.As a candidate for reelection to the Town Council, District 1, my focus will continue to be to strengthen community through policies and practices that encourage public participation. I believe an engaged Trumbull is a better place.

As president, I helped increase membership and successfully managed a variety of capital improvement projects through the recruitment of dedicated volunteers. As a Town Councilman, elected in 2015, I increased my constituents’ awareness of important meetings and pending legislation via my District 1 Facebook page. I responded to every letter from the public and voted guided by community input.

If reelected, I will continue to honor history, respond to community, and work cooperatively with fellow council members to respect the role of community in shaping Trumbull’s future. Vote for me, Bill Mecca, for Town Council, District 1 on November 7.

Letter — Tesoro’s TPAUD work shows ability to collaborate

Cat Lamy
Full letter available here

I support Vicki Tesoro for first selectman because she is a tireless advocate for the young people of our community. She is a founding member and current co-chair of TPAUD, and founder of the Trumbull High School Ninth Grade Underage Drinking and Drug Forum.

Vicki has done more to support prevention efforts against alcohol and drug abuse in Trumbull than anyone I know, and she will continue that same work along with her team when elected.

Regardless of political party, there is one thing we can all agree on: we do not want our children impacted by the current drug epidemic. As a Trumbull resident and parent of school-age children, prevention is one of my hot button issues. I was fortunate to find a place at the table at the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking and Drugs (TPAUD) meetings. These meetings are where I got know Vicki and the scope of her work.

If you aren’t familiar with TPAUD, it is a community-based prevention coalition awarded more than $1 million in state and federal grants since it started 11 years ago. You might be familiar with the anonymous underage drinking TipsLine and the prescription drug drop box at the Trumbull Police headquarters, which are two of the many programs supported by TPAUD.

If you haven’t attended a meeting, it’s an excellent opportunity to see stakeholders from many agencies and town departments as they come together, with one goal: keeping our youth safe, drug and alcohol-free and alive.

Vicki came up with the idea for the Ninth Grade Underage Drinking and Drug Forum when her daughter started high school. She saw a need for a program, and started one. Twelve years later, it is as relevant now as when it started.

The educational program attended by ninth graders and their parents features speakers including Emergency Room physicians, attorneys, police officers and recovering alcoholics and addicts. It’s simultaneously shocking, sad and inspiring. The hope is that by arming parents with information and support for dealing with drinking and drug use by our children, we can reduce the possibility of more devastation in Trumbull.

Vicki and her team are committed to reducing the impact of substance abuse and addiction in our community, and will not seek any additional funding from the town for these programs.

Vicki’s experience in local government, commitment to the youth of our community, and ability to collaborate, make her the best choice as first selectman.

Please join me in voting for Vicki Tesoro on November 7.

Letter — Democracy is not a spectator sport

Marilyn Lord
Full letter available here

I have a bumper sticker on the back of my car (Thanks to Beryl Kaufman) that says “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” I truly believe this.

In America, and especially in small town America, we want and hopefully encourage civic participation and engagement. Isn’t this a shining star in our American make-up?

There are so many ways to participate and be engaged in our democracy. Voting is one way and a very important one. Also, individuals can run for office, help on campaigns, volunteer on town boards and committees, initiate and carry out petitions on community issues, and many more ways.

So this year, I participated locally in helping to secure signatures on the petitions initiated by the Trumbull Citizens for 7 Voting Districts. I feel this was worthwhile and an important issue to many across a broad spectrum of voters. This was an opportunity for our electorate to consider seven districts.

Going door-to-door, I came across many who were annoyed that their polling places were changed, told me of lines at their polling places or that they couldn’t vote because their polling place (primarily District 2) was too far away when they got home from work. Some of my neighbors were shocked to learn that our street is divided right down the middle of the street so neighbors across the street cannot vote for candidates/neighbors on our side. This districting makes no sense.

Also, is there anyone else out there who finds it troublesome during election time to learn where 10 to 12 candidates stand on issues? Our charter requires that our town council have 21 council members. That divides unevenly within four districts. I am in the Super District 4 which has six town council representatives. There is nothing “Super” about this. Oh, how I long for the days of old where I just needed to learn about half that number.

I found that this issue/concern rang true and loudly for many in Trumbull. A couple of people who I encountered during petition signing, gave me their spouse’s name and number and asked me to call them because they really wanted to sign! So you would think that our town council would be receptive to hearing out and considering this issue. You would think that they would have given the 10% to 12% of our electorate (the 2,900 who signed) a chance to be heard. Some council members were concerned and wanted to listen but certainly not the majority.

It could have been a different story. The chairman and the Town Council could have given the people of Trumbull a chance to speak their mind and vet this issue, even if it weren’t in the context of a town council meeting. They still could. We want to make voting easier, not harder. Right? Across America, right?

Well Trumbull citizens, don’t be a spectator, be a participant. Remember this at the polls when you go to vote on November 7.

Letter — There’s a place for you

Town Council Candidate Ashley Gaudiano (D-4th)
Full letter available here

As I walk door-to-door every weekend, I get asked why I’m running for Town Council. My answer is pretty straightforward — I have young kids and want to see this town evolve and get better as they grow up. I believe we need younger parents and women involved in our town’s government. I want a government that is transparent and responsible, and I’m committed to those ideals. Plus, I’d like my already high taxes to go towards things that matter — like education, infrastructure, public safety, and amenities (pools, parks).

  • I’m running because people in this town deserve a voice, regardless of party affiliation. And right now, they don’t have the voice they deserve.What I don’t say, and should be saying, is this:
  • I’m running because municipal government should be civil. And civility seems to have gone out the window.
  • I’m running because I want people — all people — to engage with local government. Because it’s our tax dollars, our children’s future, our property values, our daily lives. And right now, people don’t. Did you know, in Trumbull, less than 50% of people vote in our municipal elections, compared to 80% in national elections?

We are each other’s neighbors. It’s really that simple. Every single person who resides in Trumbull should feel that they can get involved, agree or disagree, ask questions, get an answer, and be respected. Civility, transparency, and inclusivity should be at the foundation of who we are as a town, and should be non-negotiable principles for our First Selectman, council members, and all of our elected officials.

We don’t need a catchy slogan to make that happen. What we need is to elect a team that is committed to bringing these principles into Town Hall in November. If we do that, then we get rid of the partisanship; we involve residents and increase engagement; we collectively improve on our areas of weakness and reinforce our areas of strength. We create a town that everyone – Democrat, Republican, or unaffiliated – are proud to call home.

As you see the blue signs around town, read those names: Vicki Tesoro, Anthony Musto, Mary Markham, Lucinda Timpanelli, Mike Ward, Kathleen Fearon, Julia McNamee, Mike Miller, Marty Isaac, Lainie McHugh, Andy Palo, Dawn Cantafio, Bill Mecca, Joseph Gerics, Scot Kerr, Kevin Shively, Keith Klain, Mary Beth Thornton, Thomas Whitmoyer, Cindy Katske, Michael Barker, Eric Paulson, Jason Marsh, Lisa Valenti, Scott Wich, Ashley Gaudiano, Emilio Annunziato, Bruce Elstein, Tony Silber, Tony D’Aquila, Matt Reale, Cathy Creager, Tim Cantafio, Raymond Baldwin, David Kayne.

That is a team of candidates made up of Democrats, unaffiliated, and former Republicans. Our entire slate, led by Vicki Tesoro, is running a campaign based on these principles. If you’ve been unengaged to date, or are unsure how to get involved, know that in our campaign, and in our vision for Trumbull, there is a place for you.

Letter — Tesoro will reset toxic climate in town

Debbie Kroszner
Full letter available here

Local politics should never be about us versus them or red versus blue. While disagreements are inevitable and can foster productive conversations, incivility is never the answer.

As an ordinary resident who became more engaged in town politics for the benefit of my young son, I’ve been alarmed at the toxic tone the current administration has set.

For the past eight years, our small town has faced an administration that lacks respect — and even shows contempt — for members of this community when they challenge the status quo or dare to ask a question. Residents who offer new ideas are brushed aside, those with questions are ignored, and requests for transparency and accountability are met with roadblocks and eye rolls.

But what I’ve learned is that it does not have to be this way.

As Trumbullites, no matter our differences, it’s clear we all want the same things at our core – great schools, steady taxes, beautiful parks, and an overall vibrant community for residents and small businesses to thrive in. However, in order to work productively, we need a leader to bring us together and Town Council representatives to advocate on our behalf.

It’s true that First Selectman Tim Herbst will soon exit his office, taking his aggressive, immature governing approach to the governor’s race. But he will leave behind successors who have sat silent as this divisive culture took hold. They too need to leave.

On November 7, Vicki Tesoro and her team of candidates have my vote. They are passionate about creating an inclusive, transparent government that respects the voices of everyone who lives here. Vicki is qualified, knowledgeable, professional, and incredibly kind. That’s the kind of person that we need to move Trumbull forward together.

I want to live in a community where people like me can get involved and offer ideas on important town issues without fear of being attacked for absolutely no reason. I know that under a Tesoro administration, residents would never be retaliated against for speaking up, and instead be greeted with an open mind. Citizens of this great town deserve nothing less.

So this November, remember that you have an important choice to make. If you want a say in how your government works, vote for a first selectman and council representatives who will listen to your ideas and concerns, not for those who simply want to tell you what is good for you and your family.

Letter — Shocked at attempts to silence voters

Joe Gerics
Full letter available here

I grew up in Trumbull and about six months ago my wife and I moved back to town. We rejoined my immediate and extended family here with the hopes of settling down and starting a family of our own. As someone who has been frustrated with what has been going on in this country politically it was important to me to become active in my community. You can either complain or you can do something. I probably have just complained too often in the past.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from local politics but I certainly didn’t expect what I found: Trumbull as a microcosm for what is happening nationally. Despite local politics having little to do with the national issues that are so often used to divide us, and both parties being in favor of the same things: low taxes, good education, and a safe and pleasant place to live, the situation here clearly mirrors what is sadly happening across the country.

But what shocked me the most have been the attempts of the current administration to limit and silence the voice and the votes of the people of Trumbull. This is evident in the behind closed doors efforts to move forward on a high cost community center without a town referendum, and the refusal of Town Council Speaker Carl Massaro to consider a petition signed by over 2,500 voters to let the town vote on the number of voting districts. This was changed from 7 to 4 a few years ago leading to lower voter turnout and longer lines. This also mirrors something we have seen nationally from the same party: gerrymandering.

This concerted effort to govern without representation is not good politics. It is antidemocratic and is a clear dereliction of duty on the part of those who were elected to represent us. At this point we may not have a specific referendum on the community center or the number of districts, but our town elections do give us an opportunity for a referendum on how we choose to be represented. I am running for Town Council in District 1 because I want to represent my neighbors and their needs. I am proud to be a member of Team Tesoro with many other candidates who feel the same way.

I hope that on November 7th Trumbull will see a real change. But regardless of your positions, I highly encourage you all to come out and vote. It is clearly more important than ever that we not only make our voices heard but also hold our elected officials responsible to us as voting citizens.