Category Archives: Press Clipping

SDTC and its endorsed candidates in the news…

Callahan and Ginsburg, running for 108th District, share Candlewood Lake as priority but little else

Callahan and Ginsburg, running for 108th District, share Candlewood Lake as priority but little else

by Kendra Baker, Oct 7, 2022

Patrick Callahan and Jeff Ginsburg have little in common, aside from their love of Candlewood Lake.

As they seek to be elected state representative of Connecticut’s 108th House District this November, the candidates present distinctive perspectives on how to improve the state and cite different priorities from addressing youth crime to supporting senior citizens.

Callahan is a longtime New Fairfield resident, seeking a second term in the seat he’s held since defeating Democrat Dannette Onofrio in the 2020 election.

“I’m looking forward to how productive I can be with the relationships I’ve taken the past two years to develop,” said the Republican incumbent, who has served on the legislature’s Education, Environment, Judiciary and Juvenile Justice Policy & Oversight committees.

“You’re getting your feet wet your freshman first two years,” Callahan said, “and I feel like I’ve made some really great connections and working relationships with both sides of the aisle.”

Ginsburg — a Democrat who’s lived in Sherman for nearly 20 years — said he decided to run for the 108th House District seat for several reasons.

“I realized that the towns have a number of common interests, and I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I like advocating for those interests,” he said. “I have a threshold of experience working in and with local organizations, and I think it’s time that I start giving back.”

In addition to serving as chair of the Sherman Democratic Town Committee, Ginsburg is a founding member of both the Sherman Artists Association and the Great Hollow Photographers Club. He’s also a member of the board of directors for the Candlewood Yacht Club in New Fairfield and chairs the organization’s finance committee.

Whoever is elected in November will represent a slightly different 108th House District. As a result of recent changes to Connecticut’s voting district lines, the 108th will include a larger number of New Fairfield constituents as of 2023.

The town’s southwestern corner — which currently belongs to the 138th House District — will become part of the 108th, joining all of Sherman, a section of western New Milford and part of northern Danbury.

Candlewood Lake

Both candidates said Candlewood Lake would be among their top priorities if elected or re-elected representative of the 108th House District.

The issues they say they would focus on, though, are different.

Ginsburg said serving on the Candlewood Yacht Club’s board of directors for the last 10 years has given him a greater understanding of the lake, as well as the impact it has — and could have — on the area.

“The five towns on the lake — four of which are in the 108th District — do not have a commission where they work together to enhance the economy as the lake contributes to that,” he said. “That would be something … that I would advocate for from my position.”

Ginsburg said such a commission would differ from the Candlewood Lake Authority in that its primary focus would be the “economic aspect” of the lake.

“The lake is very important to me. I live on the lake, I recreate on the lake and I know that it’s a critical economic force for our area’s economy,” he said.

Callahan — who served as chairman of the Candlewood Lake Authority for 10 years — said Candlewood Lake is “always a top priority,” and he also has concerns about Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield.

“The issues we’re having at Squantz with the influx of out-of-staters through the summer months on the weekends have to be addressed,” he said. “I’m also really concerned about people parking their cars wherever they want and walking with children down Route 39 to Squantz Pond when it’s full.”

It’s been a safety concern for years and town officials have tried to restrict people walking along the road to get to the park — either by asking the state to restrict walk-ins or cracking down on illegal parking in town — but the problem persists.

Callahan: Affordability and juvenile crime

If re-elected, Callahan said some of his other priorities would be affordability and juvenile crime.

“Affordability is the top one,” he said. “In the past two years, Democrats have passed a couple of new gas taxes that are going to cost us a lot of money on the highway use tax and the diesel tax.”

Driven by wholesale fuel prices that more than doubled over the past year, the tax on diesel saw a 9.1 cent increase in July — six months before the imposition of Connecticut’s new highway use tax on large commercial trucks, which is expected to cost the industry millions of dollars per year.

“We use diesel to heat our homes and any tax you put on a truck delivering goods is going to get passed down onto the consumer,” Callahan said. “We continue to tax people that serve us and it continues to drive up the cost of living in Connecticut — even more so than inflation.”

Callahan — who worked in law enforcement for almost 30 years — said juvenile crime is still a problem, and one he would keep fighting to address if re-elected.

He said part of the ongoing juvenile crime problem is that the courts go too easy on youthful offenders.

“In the pre-trial process, there’s no accountability. There’s nothing being done to curb it,” Callahan said. “There has to be consequences, and right now there aren’t.”

Even though Republicans presented “several different solutions” in the past two sessions that all got voted down, Callahan said he’s determined to continue trying.

“I’ve worked with so many different groups of people and kids to turn their lives around,” he said. “If they’re not getting disciplined and not seeing consequences early on, they think they can keep doing this forever and it escalates into larger crimes — and then they wind up in jail.”

Ginsburg: Senior citizens and zoning

If elected, Ginsburg said one of his other priorities would be “ensuring that senior residents have good options for staying and enjoying the area.”

He said he would focus on what can be done financially and organizationally at the state level to “improve what’s going on for the seniors.”

When asked if housing would be part of his focus, Ginsburg said he would work with the towns “to see what resources are available from the state level,” but the decision would ultimately be up to them.

“I would certainly be in the mix, asking questions and making sure people are making decisions very explicitly — but the towns would have to drive it and decide to what extent,” he said.

Ginsburg said he knows several older residents who had to move out of the area due to a lack of alternative, smaller-scale housing options. He also knows the topic of housing development can be controversial.

“With some people, there’s that not-in-my-backyard kind of syndrome — and others say, ‘Look, people are moving out,’” he said. “It’s going to be a compromise, but I think the platform of being a state representative might help bring attention to that, and I think it’s something worth looking at.”

Ginsburg — who manages residential apartments in the Danbury area and has helped tenants obtain emergency rental and other types of assistance over the years — said he gets his passion to help people from his dad.

“My father had the biggest drug store in Danbury, and he always went out of his way to provide outstanding service and help customers,” he said. “That has inspired me to do that with my tenants and in my career.”

Ginsburg said keeping zoning regulations within the control of the towns would be another priority of his as a state representative.

“Each town is different, so I want to make sure they have the autonomy to determine their own zoning regulations because that affects the quality of life in a town,” he said.

Callahan said that is something he, too, feels strongly about.

“I want to make sure that control over zoning remains local, and I always vote that way — to protect our communities and our ability to handle our own zoning,” he said.

2022 election

Callahan said he believes he’s done a good job representing the 108th district and hopes voters re-elect him in November.

Robust Election Turnout for Sherman

Town Tribune Front Page*, Nov 11. 2021

SHERMAN – Election Day was a busy one for Sherman. Though non-Presidential. municipal elections arc typically quieter, they had a higher than typical turnout this year with 914 residents voting. Democratic Town Committee Chair Mr. Jeff Ginsburg believes that “The BOE races spurred turnout, since structural issues with the Sherman School arc highly discussed around town. Two of the longer-term Republican BOE members chose not to run, increasing Republican interest in turning out the vote. Hence the election of two replacement Republican candidates.”

Republican Town Committee Chair Mr. Rick Hudson was happy that “every single one of our candidates (was) elected!” Of the BOE. he said “Those Candidates we put forward for the BOE are long-term residents who have kids in the schools and who are impacted directly by the decisions of the BOE on multiple levels. Kristin Grasseler and James Philipakos hope to make a real impact on the decision-making process of the BOE and help our school and  community move forward with a solid plan for Curriculum, Citizenship and Construction.”

Ginsburg was excited to see the wide support that First Selectman Mr. Don Lowe received. “Known for his more bi-partisan approach to town government, Don Lowe, a Democrat, is a very popular First Selectman with all parties and was the strongest vote-getter. People could have skipped his race since he was unopposed, but instead, they crossed party lines to give him a vote of confidence.” He also noted that “Kate Frey, also a Democrat and well known in town, was the second-highest vote-getter in her first race. She obviously had support from all parties and is viewed as highly qualified and needed on the BOE.”

“Sherman’s elections are not all that partisan.” Hudson said, going on to say that the town “is being very well served by the majority of those in office. This basic tenet is why I firmly believe that most of Sherman’s voters, regardless of their affiliation, feel the same way. Some few might not. and that is to be expected.” He noted, “We did not contest every Office, at least partly because certain functions arc performing efficiently and creating an artificial controversy serves no one.” He’s optimistic that “If we continue to communicate across the divides we will succeed. When we stop talking, everyone will lose, and the greatest impact will be felt by the kids. That is totally unacceptable. 1 truly believe that Sherman is now better positioned to make real progress toward that end.”

Results From a Source Independent of the Town Tribune

*Words in Bold are added. Election Tabulation is also added.

Meet Sherman’s Board of Education Candidates

Town Tribune Ad Oct 28, 2021.

Kate Kelley Frey (D)
Kate Kelley Frey seeks a position on the Board of Education. Kate is an elementary school teacher with 33 years of experience in public education and this would be her first run at an elective office. She hopes “To volunteer my time and give back to a town that has supported and given so much to me personally, and to my family over many years.” She also said. “My expertise in curriculum design and best practices would fill a practical need currently existing on the Board of Education (BOE). Running for a seat on the BOE is a stroke of good fortune: to have the special abilities to give back and a strong sense of indebtedness to Sherman.”

Kristin Grasseler(R)
Kristin Grasseler has 20 years of experience in the relocation industry with expertise in customer service, employee management, home sale, global mobility, and executive-level support She has board experience with the Ostomy Awareness Foundation and the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation. Kristin says that she has made many wonderful friends in the community over the years and hopes to be able to serve and support the families of Sherman.
Her goals are to: inspire transparency and collaboration among the board and the community; ensure that children can thrive in a safe and inclusive environment, and encourage common sense and mindfulness as Sherman tackles the maintenance of The Sherman School building.

James Neunzig (D)
James Neunzig has served on the BOE for the past four years and was recently appointed Chair, lie now seeks a second term. The owner of J.P. Gifford Market. Giffords Catering, and JP Gifford Cafe. James says that “Having served [on] the BOE for the previous four years, I am eager to continue the momentum of that work.” He went on to say that “My style is to work in partnership with parents, other citizens. and town leaders to address the important issues [that are] meaningful to the Sherman community. Investing our tax dollars wisely towards the best school experience for not only the near-term but also for the future is essential to me.”

James Philipakos (R)
James Philipakos works in the banking industry as a mortgage originator and has served on several boards and committees, including the Regional YMCA’s 11 nance Committee and the Northem Fairfield County Association of Realtors (NFCAR).  James has also participated in many town efforts, such as the Senior Housing Commission and a separate committee set up to investigate senior tax incentives. He says that his goals for service on the BOE are very simple, “I will communicate with our community and town officials as best as I can; I will make decisions that I believe are in the best interest of the children, I will keep an open mind, and I will respect others.”

Matt Vogt (D)
Matt Vogt has served on the BOE for the previous two years and now seeks a full term. As a small business owner, he says that he will continue to bring “my experience in operations and budgeting, with an understanding of the balance needed between the financial requirements of operating the school district and the realities of its existence within the framework of such a small town.  A lifelong resident of Sherman with young children in the school. Matt says  “I also feel an acute responsibility to maintain this highly valuable center of our community for our town and for the future generations of Sherman School students to come.”


Endorsing Kate Frey for Board of Education

From Town Tribune Oct 7, 2021.

To the Editor:

Kate Frey, known to many of you as Kate Kelley Frey, is seeking to serve a four-year term on the Sherman Board of Education.  Kate is a dedicated, experienced educator having taught for 33 years in the public school system. She is an outstanding candidate for the Board of Education.

With a Master of Science degree in Curriculum from Western Connecticut and a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern, Kate has a deep knowledge of curriculum development and best practices which would provide a much-needed perspective to the Board. In addition, her collaborative nature and ability to develop consensus will be vital assets to the challenges facing the Sherman Board of Education.

Kate’s connection to the Sherman School goes back to having her first teaching job there, watching her daughter and nephews attend the school, as well as her mother, Polly Kelley, teaching there for many years.  She would love to serve this community that means so much.

Carol Muska, Sherman

Endorsing James Neunzig for Board of Education

From Town Tribune Oct 7, 2021.

To the Editor:

Sherman is fortunate to have James Neunzig as a candidate for our Board of Education. James communicates in an organized, transparent, team-oriented style. His communication skills have been developed through 30 years of effectively managing staff, employees, and the public. James listens to all sides, assesses the situation, and seeks expert guidance to gain perspective before making a decision. He communicates in an open, civilized, unvarnished fashion and doesn’t become discouraged or confrontational when faced with challenging or unpleasant situations.

Sherman School is facing a critical time and James has demonstrated the ability and temperament to make a positive difference. He has devoted a significant amount of time, thought, and research in an attempt to achieve positive outcomes on issues that benefit the school, our children, and our town. His vision for our school is forward-thinking and one which I wholeheartedly embrace.

I’ve listened to him communicate his vision for our school and our town – he’s the real deal – authentic and honest. I ask you to please join me in voting for JAMES NEUNZIG for Board of Education.
—Ann Chiaramonte,Sherman

Danbury’s superintendent makes $20 per student. Sherman’s makes $887 per student. Here’s why

June 12, 2021 Updated: June 12, 2021 9:58 p.m.
Written by
Photo of Julia Perkins

Experience, performance and their community’s affluence are among the factors local school boards consider as they set their superintendents’ salaries.

Superintendent average compensation in Fairfield County is higher than in other parts of the state, a Hearst Connecticut Media analysis found. The highest salaries are in southwestern Connecticut.

“But we also have to realize that property is much more expensive in that end of the state, so it costs more for living expenses, etc,” said Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

“It is also a municipality’s ability to pay, which goes into property taxes and all of that,” she added. “It really is dependent on the wealth of the community.”

School board chairs and other officials said they thought the superintendent salaries in their communities were fair.

“It’s fairly compensated,” said Peggy Katkocin, New Fairfield’s school board chair. “I know we walk a delicate line because it’s taxpayer money.”

Superintendents sometimes get various perks. For example, in Bethel, Superintendent Christine Carver received a $10,000 stipend upon the completion of the renovations to Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools.

Rabinowitz said she’s seen that in other districts.

“A superintendent spends an incredible amount of time outside of the normal duties of a superintendent working on a renovation project,” she said.

To become a superintendent, educators must complete a certification program approved by the Connecticut Board of Education. A doctorate degree is not required, but many districts pay more if the superintendent has a Ph.D.

“There is high demand for top quality superintendents, so the wages clearly reflect that,” Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton said. “For a school district like Redding, we want in a superintendent one of the best educators in the state and even the nation.”

Superintendents in Danbury, Brookfield, Bethel, Ridgefield, New Fairfield, Newtown, Sherman, and Easton, Redding and Region 9 have doctorate degrees.

“You need to get really qualified people who are not only good educators, but good administrators and incredibly good communicators to do these jobs,” Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn said.

Pay per student

The pay per student varies greatly in the Danbury area, with Sherman’s Superintendent-Principal Jeff Melendez earning about $887 per student, compared to the around $20 per student that Danbury Superintendent Sal Pascarella gets.

More Information

Superintendent pay per student

Sherman: $887.42

Region 12: $298.59

New Fairfield: $107.94

Brookfield: $93.73

Region 9: $90.04

Bethel: $75.26

Region 15: $67.03

Ridgefield: $57.95

Newtown: $54.45

New Milford: $52.08*

Danbury: $20.10

Per a Hearst Connecticut Media analysis of 153 superintendent contracts in the state

*This figure reflects the superintendent’s salary when she was the interim leader

Danbury area superintendent salaries

Ridgefield Susie Da Silva: $264,000 (No. 11 in the state)

Brookfield John Barile: $240,240 (No. 21 in the state)

Danbury Sal Pasarella: $237,874 (No. 23 in state)

Region 15 Josh Smith: $235,487 (No. 27 in state)

Bethel Christine Carver: $232,492 (No. 29 in state)

New Fairfield Pat Cosentino: $230,125 (No. 31 in state)

Easton, Redding, Region 9 Rydell Harrison: $225,000 (No. 34 in state)

Sherman Jeffrey Melendez: $223,631 (No. 35 in state)

Newtown Lorrie Rodrigue: $220,692 (No. 39 in state)

Region 12 Megan Bennett: $205,428 (No. 55 in the state)

New Milford Alisha DiCorpo: $194,400* (No. 85 in the state)

Per a Hearst Connecticut Media analysis of 153 superintendent contracts in the state

*This figure reflects the superintendent’s salary when she was the interim leader

The salary for Danbury’s superintendent appears “quite low given the number of students that there are and the number of challenges,” Rabinowitz said.

Superintendents still have many of the same responsibilities, regardless of district size, Rabinowitz said. Most superintendents work at least 60 hours a week, she said.

“The work is the work,” said Christine Carver, superintendent in Bethel who makes about $232,000 and runs a district of around 3,000 students. “It doesn’t matter if you have 18,000 students or 3,100 students.”

But she noted urban districts have a “tremendous amount of increased needs.”

Dunn said he was initially surprised superintendents in bigger districts like Bridgeport or Hartford didn’t earn two to three times Brookfield’s superintendent. John Barile earns about $240,000, which is almost $94 per student.

But Dunn said he realized smaller towns “have the capability to attract really qualified people.”

“To do that, you’ve got to pay more money,” he said.

He said Barile’s salary is fair.

“I don’t think we should be paying ours less,” Dunn said. “I think Hartford should be paying more.”

Barile has done a “superb” job in Brookfield and recently signed another three-year contract, Dunn said.

“I don’t see these as out of place,” Dunn said. “These salaries are what they should be.”

Superintendent Pat Cosentino earns about $230,000 to run the about 2,000-student New Fairfield school system, while Rydell Harrison gets $225,000 from the 2,500-student district of Easton, Redding and Region 9.

Newtown’s Lorrie Rodrigue makes less than $221,000 in the around 4,000-student district.

Megan Bennett earns about $205,000 running the 688-student Region 12, which serves Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington. She said she has a smaller office staff than larger districts.

“You’re doing more roles in a smaller district,” she said.

Alisha DiCorpo, who became New Milford’s superintendent in February, earned about $194,000 running the about 3,700-student district when she was interim superintendent. A contract signed in March put her salary at $202,000, with an additional $2,000 annuity.

“You really cant compare one superintendency to another,” said Greg Cava, chair of the Region 12 school board. “No. 1, they are different levels of experience. No 2, they are different levels of taxation expectations. No. 3, they have different jobs. Superintendents in Connecticut do different things from town to town.”

School budgets in Region 12 have stayed fairly consistent over the years, Cava said.

“I don’t think anyone is saying we can’t pay the superintendent X dollars because the taxpayers won’t stand for it,” he said.

Factors in pay

New Fairfield looks at the superintendent’s ability to lead and engage with the community, as well as how she has met her goals and how students rank academically against other schools in the state, among other factors in setting the salary, Katkocin said.

“Unfortunately, I think sometime people think you should only evaluate superintendents on whether they make everyone happy,” she said. “That’s impossible for any leader anywhere.”

In Newtown, the board considers the superintendent’s performance and local and general economic factors, said Michelle Ku, school board chair.

“It’s also what the community supported in terms of a budget increase when they came out and voted,” she said.

Typically, the Newtown school board does not have information about what other districts pay, she said.

When Region 12 hires a new superintendent, the school board examines the candidate’s experience, market factors and what the board is trying to accomplish, Cava said. Raises for existing superintendents are based on how he or she fulfilled previously set goals.

“This is not something where you sit down and check off a box and do an evaluation,” he said. “It’s a little bit more subjective than that.”

Student achievement may be one of those goals in districts, but it doesn’t play a large role in the superintendent’s compensation, he said.

“I don’t think people pay a superintendent because they achieve a certain level of testing, unless there were some huge deficiency you were trying to correct,” Cava said. “That’s not a factor here.”

District size and the superintendent’s background is considered in New Fairfield, too, Katkocin said.

“You certainly wouldn’t pay a brand new superintendent what you would with a superintendent with more experience,” she said.

The way superintendents managed the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be another factor, Katkocin said.

“I’m sure every Board of Education is looking at how their superintendents functioned in this very difficult year,” she said.

Attracting strong candidates to tough job

The average tenure of a superintendent in Connecticut is four years, Rabinowitz has said.

That’s not good because the “quality of education suffers” when there is superintendent turnover, said First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton, a former member of the Region 9 school board.

“I’m not concerned about super salaries per se,” she said. “What I am concerned about is that our superintendents are being put in positions that lead to them leaving their jobs and going elsewhere. I think we see that around Fairfield County, it is like musical chairs.”

Social media has made superintendents’ jobs harder, and parents expect to have constant access to the superintendent, Pemberton said.

“You’re doing the job of public relations and you’re also the educator in chief of the community,” she said. “Those barriers have fallen. That’s a good thing, but I think our superintendents in many districts become overworked.”

Superintendents are responsible for everything in their district and are always on call, officials said.

“Any time there is an incident in their school, any time a fire alarm goes off, everything falls on the superintendent’s desk,” Katkocin said. “They need to answer to everything.”

Superintendents have advanced degrees, are experts in their fields and manage a “complex system,” Carver said.

“There are some people who still think I don’t work during the summer,” she said. “When I tell you it’s 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job, you can just talk to my husband. I rarely take a vacation where I don’t have to be constantly responding to things.”

Julia Perkins has been a reporter with The News-Times since June 2016 and covers the towns of Bethel and Brookfield. She also has covered breaking news for Hearst Connecticut on weekend mornings. Graduating from Quinnipiac University in 2016, she served as the editor-in-chief of The Quinnipiac Chronicle, the weekly, student-run newspaper. She is a huge “Harry Potter” fan.

Democratic Candidates Prevailed in the Mid-Term Elections in CT

Although the Sherman votes for the Governorship and State Senator edged ahead for the Republicans, the margin was narrower than expected based on the mix of registered voters by party line. Sherman’s voting results show a strong shift towards the Democrats as reported in the Town Tribune on November 15, 2018:

Ballotpedia identified
 six of the races as battlegrounds, including four Republican-held districts and two Democratic-held districts. Democrats won five of those elections, with a sixth election in a Republican-held seat remaining too close to call as of 2:15 p.m. ET on November 14, 2018.Democrats expanded their majority in the 2018 elections for the Connecticut State Senate, winning 22 seats to Republicans‘ 12. As of 2:15 p.m. ET on November 14, 2018, two races remained too close to call, with Democrats expected to win both.[1] Should Democrats win both uncalled races, the party would gain a supermajority.

All 36 Senate seats were up for election. At the time of the election, Democrats and Republicans each held 18 seats, now Democrats hold 20 seats and Republicans hold 11.

Heading into the election, Connecticut had been under a Democratic trifecta since 2011 when Dan Malloy (D) was sworn in as governor. Malloy’s swearing-in ended a period of divided government that had lasted since Gov. Lowell Weicker (I) took office in 1991. Democrats had held majorities in both chambers of the state legislature since the 1986 state legislative elections. Had the Republican Party taken the chamber, it would have broken the Democratic trifecta.

The Connecticut State Senate was one of 87 state legislative chambers holding elections in 2018. There are 99 chambers throughout the country. The Connecticut State Senate was also one of 22 state legislative battleground chambers.

In 2019, half of House Democrats will be members of a fledgling caucus of progressives committed to reforming Connecticut’s tax structure, raising the minimum wage and passing paid family and medical leave, legalizing recreational marijuana and fighting climate change. House members serve two-year terms; there are no term limits imposed on them.

Both amendments to the state consitution were passed:

Amendment 1 requires that all revenue placed in the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF) be used for transportation purposes, including the payment of transportation-related debts. (88% voted for). Six other states voted similarly in previous years.  For more info, click here

Amendment 2 requires a public hearing on bills to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of state-owned properties, such as state parks, forests, and conserved lands, to non-state entities and requires a two-thirds vote of the Connecticut General Assembly to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of land under the control of the state agriculture or environmental protection departments. (84% voted for).For more info, click here.



Don Lowe (D): Volunteerism, Openess, Stopping the Waste of Taxes

From Town Tribune, Nov 2, 2017. The best part of the 2017 campaign has been the opportunity to visit with so many Sherman residents and  business owners, and to hear your concerns. These concerns encompass a broad spectrum and they speak to the challenge of being First Selectman and to the type of leader we need here in Sherman: a sincere person who listens and responds to people’s concerns.

As I spoke with Shermanites of all ages and backgrounds, one common thread kept coming up: people expressed that, if I’m elected, they’d like to volunteer to serve Sherman in some capacity. Music to my ears! I believe Sherman is better served by shifting away from oligarchy and, instead, allowing a wider range of people to be involved. One of my immediate goals as your First Selectman is to fill the vacancies that currently exist on our boards and commissions. Your political party won’t matter to me; I just want you to belong to the “I like my town” party. I will also push hard for volunteers to our invaluable Sherman Volunteer Fire Department as well as other important Sherman organizations.

Speaking of amazing organizations: I am so impressed by FISH, a group of dedicated volunteers who have been providing rides to Sherman seniors for 46 years. At the Annual Luncheon last week, Barbara Hoag delivered some remarkable statistics. In the most recent FISH fiscal year, volunteer drivers made 173 trips for 23 different residents, most of which (121) were for doctor appointments but also covered other important needs too 5,898.5 miles of driving! Through 46 years, FISH volunteer drivers have made 6,211 pickups and amassed 204,857 miles. That’s almost four fifths of the way- to the moon! This spirit of neighbors helping neighbors makes Sherman a mighty special place. I am deeply honored to have been a Selectman for six years in such a wonderful town.

Thank you to those who attended the candidate debates that the Town Tribune did such a fine job of hosting. They went very well and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to get my points of view across. One of the debate highlights for me was hearing my running-mate Kevin Keenen speak. Kevin spoke openly and responded to audience questions with a modest honesty that I found refreshing. He has no political ax to grind and calls them like he sees them. I have been fortunate to learn so much from Kevin as he and I discuss issues concerning Sherman. His expertise on infrastructure and building alone makes him a valuable person, especially now, for Sherman. I truly appreciate him stepping up.

Please vote for Kevin!

If I am your First Selectman you can expect to have your tax dollars valued and not wasted or over-spent. You can expect a fair tone of government and when you attend meetings and want to express something that you feel is important you will be treated with respect. When people came to me, for example, about concerns over Sherman’s air quality from the Cricket Valley power plant, I took them seriously. One thing I would like to start doing now is to monitor our air quality so that when the plant opens for business, we have a baseline for an air quality comparison pre-Cricket Valley vs. post-Cricket Valley. (By the. way, I didn’t think of that myself. A smart and concerned Sherman resident offered me that idea as we were discussing Sherman’s future with a power plant just miles off our border.)

As your First Selectman, you can expect me to fight for fairness and the protection of our Candlewood Lake Authority so it can continue to protect our lake. You can expect me to work successfully, cheerfully, and in synergy with our public works department, our boards and commissions, and our town staff to enable Sherman to fully realize its potential. You can expect me to take great interest in our senior population and in assuring that the terrific people who already help our seniors are respected and served by my office. As a First Selectman, you will see me at BOE meetings ready in any way to help our Sherman School. That extends to our high school students and also students seeking higher education as I have already demonstrated through my 16 years with the Sherman Higher Education Fund Board. You can expect me to help our business community thrive. (I loved John Jenner’s presentation, by the way, about a Roger Sherman Trail, which only offers upside for our businesses.) And Sherman folks? If you come into Town Hall, my door will be open and I will look forward to listening to you, to helping you, and bringing an inclusive approach back to the First Selectman’s office. I humbly ask for your vote on November 7th.