Editor's note: HamletHub believes in democracy and we recently invited all Town of Ridgefield candidates to answer five questions, giving residents an opportunity to learn more about their candidacy, Town involvement, and reasons for seeking office. If you will be on the ballot on November 5, we'd love to hear from you! Please see the information on the bottom of this post regarding this Q&A opportunity.
What office are you running for and why?
I am running for the Town Treasurer position because I would like to bring my unique skill set and background to the town that I so dearly love. After graduating with a BS in Economics from SUNY Oneonta, I went to work for a small business where productivity through teamwork and mutual respect were the essential ingredients for success. Holding two active Real Estate Broker Licenses takes a certain amount of continuing education to maintain along with oversite by our local boards. Oversite is a necessary function to keep integrity and accountability in our industry. Realtors® have a code of ethics that we stand by and I bring that mindset to the table. My ability to adapt to different situations and work with different personalities is a big asset and I look forward to supporting the team when I am elected.
What do you hope to accomplish if elected on November 5th, 2019?
When elected I will review the scope of the position as it has been transformed by the current Treasurer. Has there been an unnecessary expansion of duties? Has there been overreach? Did we really need to grow this position when we have a very capable Director of Finance working for our town fulltime? Does the current Treasurer want to make this a fulltime position adding full benefits and pay to the taxpayers’ burden? I don’t know the answer to that question but maybe a charter change is in order. I will find out more when you vote me into office. Perhaps we can reorganize the duties to create a more streamlined cost-effective Town Hall. Invariably, while change may come to this position the primary duty is to be the Guardian of the Peoples’ checkbook. It’s the Peoples’ money, not mine and I will never forget that. I will work hard with industry experts’ guidance and advice to eliminate unneeded risk. Prepare for the worst yet invest in solid fully insured and collateralized instruments. The economy has been fabulous for short term investing. The inverted yield curve helped create the large returns that we have enjoyed the past year and a half, and the booming economy created the rest. The investments we have now will need to be adjusted to preserve what was created in advance of any potential downside.
Tell me about your current involvement in Ridgefield
Where to begin. First, I am a dually licensed Real Estate Broker in CT and NY. I am serving my 2nd of 3 years as a director on the Ridgefield Board of Realtors® where I am currently chairing Community Outreach and Public Relations. We as a team, have been able to fundraise for the Ridgefield Food Pantry in a consistent manner. As Chair of Community Outreach, I meet with The Salvation Army, the First Selectman, Director of Social Services for Ridgefield and Redding, along with several other volunteers quarterly. We partner with them during the Holiday Season in Bell Ringing where 90% of the proceeds stay in our community. We are also excited about a trial program run with the Salvation Army, where coupon books are given out to Seniors of need during the summer months so they could purchase farm fresh vegetables from local growers. It was softly rolled out this year and t was a success. I absolutely love this additional support for our Seniors and hope we can grow it next year. As a member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists I sometimes volunteer to help with the shows. They offer great classes for both children and adults. I have taken several painting classes and have had a fun time showing my works at Bedlam and the Holiday show. Also, when time allows and they need help, I lend a hand to the flower arrangers at my church St Elizabeth Seton, where we assemble cut flowers into beautiful bouquets and maintain them throughout the week.
Biggest crisis facing our town?
As a Realtor®, I believe the values of our homes are a challenge to face. We are still significantly below our peak market performance and it’s more than ten years since the bubble hit. Why? I believe it is because the job market in Connecticut is not doing well. The available jobs are paying less than the jobs we once had, therefore the people moving into our state are making less money translating into lower housing prices. We need to attract solid businesses back to our state and into our community. Ridgefield’s number one employer in town, Boehringer-Ingelheim is employing 17.35% of total town employment according to our town’s fiscal financial report year ending June 30, 2018. That percentage was 25.14% in 2009. They are still invested here but we have lost almost 1000 jobs in the past nine years as they have relocated and scaled back their staff. What can we do to help support Boehringer expand its footprint in Ridgefield rather than shrinking it? What can we do to entice big businesses to stay in CT? How do we foster a business-friendly environment? We need to grow the Grand List but not by overburdening our homeowners with higher taxes. We have seen a flat housing market due to the lack of high paying quality jobs. We need to put the focus on Hartford. Better infrastructure, railway commuters and tax incentives are necessary to entice businesses to CT. Hartford does not care for our little historical town. We need town leaders that will push back against State mandated 8-30G buildings while providing alternatives to our builders that would support their businesses too. We had a moratorium once, but we need to have 5% in affordable housing units before we get another. That number needs to change as it is unattainable and leaves our town vulnerable to over expansion. We need our leaders to push back and say NO to Tolls. Say NO to Grocery Taxes. Say YES to Fiscal responsibility instead. That is John Frey’s position at the State level, but we need to get involved as a community to fight the State alongside him. We need to combine efforts with other towns who are in the same position. A united front to save our Historical Colonial Towns’ character and wellbeing. Higher paying jobs will bring our Real Estate market back, but we must unite our efforts where the Bills are passed. Its time to set aside partisanship and look to what works for our Town, our County, and our State. This is not up to the Town Treasurer, but I hope to foster good relationships with the people who can make change possible.
Name a few of your favorite books
Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett and The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone.
Name a person or persons you look up to dead or alive
There are so many people I look up to. First and foremost my grandparents. They were all teenagers traveling from separate locations at the ages of 16 and 17 they took a treacherous trip across the ocean not knowing if they would make it to America nor see their families that they left behind ever again. Their courage has blessed me and my family with living in the greatest country in the world. My Mom instilled strength and confidence in me. When my father suffered his first heart attack, he was in his late 30’s and perished at the age of 48. I was 18 years old when he died and through the preceding years watched my mom’s strength and courage as she dealt with not only his illness but raising her three children and caring for her live-in mother. Having only a part-time job when my father died, it was rough going. Mom kept the family together through her faith and hard work. Her ability to persevere is the trait that I draw from daily.
Rules for candidates who wish to participate in our Q&A:
*Please answer 5 of the 6 questions.
*You MUST answer #1
*Please include a photo with your answers
We will publish your answers in Ridgefield HamletHub, on our social media pages, in our evening e-newsletter and Google News.
What office are you running for and why
What do you hope to accomplish should you be elected on November 5th?
Tell me about your current involvement in Ridgefield (include nonprofits)
Biggest crisis facing our Town?
Name a few of your favorite books
Name a person (dead or alive) who you look up to
Learn more here.