It’s no secret that our government in Connecticut is too big, too expensive for our families and too unfriendly for businesses. I have been vocal about the poor leadership that has led us here. The good news is that many of our towns have local leaders that tune out the politics and focus on delivering for taxpayers.
Over the past few months, I’ve been traveling across Connecticut and talking to voters as a part of my own decision-making process about whether to run for governor in 2022. I’ve been to over 50 towns across our great state, and I’ve seen first-hand some real success stories in many of our municipalities.
Republican leadership at the local level has led to real results for taxpayers. Our Republican town leaders practice fiscal responsibility, keeping taxes and spending in check while providing high-quality services that make so many of our towns such great places to live. They value public safety and support law enforcement, doing everything they can to address rising crime when our state government won’t. They recognize that pro-business policies and working with local business leaders creates a thriving local economy, bustling main streets, and provides jobs and opportunity for our residents.
You don’t have to just take my word for it, you can look at the success stories in Republican-led towns and see for yourself.
Take Wethersfield Mayor Mike Rell, for example, who worked with his town council to go line by line through the budget to identify and eliminate as much waste as possible. Once wasteful spending was cut, so was the mill rate, proving that you can cut taxes without cutting services, and increase funding for education at the same time.
Southbury First Selectman Jeff Manville also cut spending without cutting services and didn’t raise property taxes the way so many others have. Southbury is better because of it. Likewise, voters in East Haddam can find a fighter for fiscal responsibility and law enforcement in First Selectman candidate Rep. Irene Haines.
In Stratford, Mayor Laura Hoydick lowered taxes and the mill rate while investing in infrastructure, creating a roaring local economy that has attracted hundreds of new businesses. Stratford is now coming out of the pandemic stronger than it was before. If only we could say the same about all of Connecticut.
Voters in Westport have been well served by retiring incumbent First Selectman Jim Marpe and Second Selectwoman Jen Tooker, who kept the mill rate flat while making key long-term investments in infrastructure. As a result of their pro-business policies, Westport’s local economy is booming with over 90% occupancy on Main Street. Jen Tooker and her running mate, Andrea Moore, offer Westport voters an opportunity to keep their city thriving.
First Selectman Fred Camillo in Greenwich provides a gold standard for leadership at the local level. He has kept Greenwich’s budget in check, property taxes low, and attracted new businesses to Greenwich to expand the tax base. Whenever Democrats in Hartford attacked local zoning laws, Fred stood up for local control, just like he has stood up for law enforcement.
Danbury is one of Connecticut’s strongest cities, and Dean Esposito is a candidate for mayor who has been at the forefront of the Danbury success story throughout his 30 years serving the town. Dean understands what it means to put aside politics to deliver for the people because he’s done it throughout his career.
Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold’s strong leadership is proof that experience matters in leading as a chief executive in government. He has kept taxes in check while paying down debt and investing in infrastructure and education, all priorities for his community. Our current leadership in Hartford could learn a thing or two about that from Tim.
Towns across Connecticut are currently feeling the effects of our statewide crime surge, yet not all municipal leaders stood up to tackle the problem head on. Republican leaders in Fairfield, Rocky Hill, and New Britain have. Until Democrats in Hartford decide to act, voters in Republican-led towns can know that law enforcement in their town is supported at the local level. Voters in Manchester, West Hartford, and Glastonbury could all benefit from that leadership.
When you go to vote next week, I encourage you to look at the towns and cities that are successful in our state. Republican values of fiscal responsibility, public safety, and creating a business-friendly environment have delivered real results for many of our residents. Our Republican-led towns are success stories. In 2022, we will have an opportunity to elect new leadership to fix our problems at the state level, but we don’t need to wait until then to start that at the local level. On November 2nd, 2021, I encourage you to vote for your Republican candidates for First Selectman, Mayor or Town Council, and start or continue your town’s success story with an efficient government, safe neighborhoods, and roaring local economy.
Klarides served as House Minority Leader in the Connecticut Legislature from 2015 through 2021.