Letters to the Editor

by State Representative Joe Gresko (D)
121st District

Dear Neighbor,

On Friday, I was thrilled to be present for the ribbon cutting of the new Exit 33 interchange for I-95 in Stratford.

The project, which took several years to be approved, designed, and completed, added an on-ramp in the northbound lane direction for Exit 33 and off-ramp in the southbound lane direction, creating a full interchange.

I know that the completion of this project is a relief to many Stratford residents and businesses. Projects such as this not only help ease congestion, but they also play a major role in helping Connecticut rise 15 spots in recent years in national rankings of the condition of each state’s highway system. I am proud that I was able to play a role in ensuring this project was completed for Stratford residents and visitors.

Stratford has new exit 33 on-ramp after decades-long fight

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at the Capitol at 800-842-8267 or email me at Joseph.Gresko@cga.ct.gov.

Ask The Registrar

Stratford Post Election Edition

By Jim Simon
Democratic Registrar
Your place to get Election questions answered in Stratford

Q: Did more people vote in Stratford this year than usual? 

You have to compare apples to apples. In 2021, 36.3 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in Stratford, up from 33.3 percent in the last mayoral election in 2017.

But 72 percent of registered voters cast a ballot last year in the presidential election, which always attracts more voters.

Q: Do people still write-in the names of “candidates” like Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, or their husband? 

A: In Connecticut, we don’t count write-in votes unless a person officially registers ahead of time as a write-in candidate. Nobody in Stratford registered as a write-in, so we have no official count.

During three election recounts held Nov. 4, I saw thousands of recounted ballots from Districts 3, 5 and 6.  I don’t recall seeing many – if any — write-in votes.

Q: Did most Stratford voters use Absentee Ballots in 2021?   

A:  About 17% of the votes cast Nov. 2nd  – some 2,159 votes out of a total of 12,865 – were from people using Absentee Ballots. Public records show 1,139 came from registered Democrats, 336 from Republicans, 670 from Unaffiliated voters, and 14 from those registered with a minor party.

Given the strong GOP showing, the 3-1 Democratic edge suggests the relaxed rules on ABs did NOT significantly increase Democratic turnout. Instead, many Democrats may have simply voted early instead of going to the polls Nov. 2nd.

Q: Can you really register to vote on Election Day, and then immediately cast a ballot? 

A: Connecticut law mandates that every town must offer Election Day Registration (EDR). In Stratford, you can come to Town Hall, show a photo ID and proof of residency, fill out paperwork, and then cast a ballot at Town Hall regardless of where you live in town.  Some 23 town residents took advantage of the option — out of 12,865 votes cast.   Only EDR voters can cast a ballot at Town Hall.

Q: Are there really twice as many registered Democrats in town as Republicans? 

A: As of Nov. 17, 2021, there were 13,348 registered Democrats and 6,351 Republicans, almost a perfect 2-1 ratio. But there also are 15,260 Unaffiliated voters, and in the 2021 mayoral election, they appeared to largely support the Republican incumbent Mayor Laura Hoydick. (There also are 480 voters registered with one of the minor political parties.)

REMINDER: “Independent” is the name of an official political party in Connecticut. If you don’t want to be affiliated with a formal party, you must register as “Unaffiliated”. You can check your current party status at: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx  If you want to change your status, contact us at Registrar@townofstratford.com

Stratford Registrar James Simon, (D), worked as a political reporter for 10 years with The Associated Press, then taught courses like political journalism for 18 years as a professor and dean at Fairfield University. He was elected as the Democratic Registrar of Voters in Stratford in November 2020.

Mores Questions?  Please send them to: jsimon@townofstratford.com

This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford

 

Blowout by Republicans

Municipal Elections Results

 

Board of Education

Christopher Cormier

Christopher Cormier is an elementary school educator in Bridgeport who believes his experience in the classroom, his previous experience in project management, and his community service activities make him an ideal candidate for election to the Stratford Board of Education on November 2nd.

Chris is a Hartford County transplant of 23 years.  He and his husband Jonathan lived in Bridgeport before moving into their home in District 2 16 years ago.  They are raising their 4 energetic and unique boys:  Jackson age 7, Ryan age 9, Steven age 11, and Aaron age 12.  All of the boys have attended Stratford Public Schools since they were Franklin Preschoolers, and are students now at Franklin, Chapel and Wooster.

Chris is a second career teacher.  He has just entered his 10th year as an educator and currently teaches 3rd grade at Edison Elementary School in Bridgeport. After a career in project management and commercial real estate, Chris decided to make a major life change and pursue his passion of being an educator.

In 2007, Chris earned his Masters of Science degree in Elementary Education at the University of Bridgeport. Chris also holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Management, Economics & Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University, and an Associates of Science degree in Finance & Banking from Norwalk Community College.

He is also a graduate of Parents SEE (Parents Seeking Educational Excellence)-Cohort 6.  This gave Chris the chance to consider how his voice could be used as a tool for change, and enabled him to advocate better for his children and his students.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Chris serves as the Bridgeport Education Association Building Delegate, Building Systems Operator (IT contact), Parent Advisory Council (PAC) member, School Governance Committee (SGC) member and has served on the board of the Franklin Elementary School PTO for the past 5+ years.

He is also co-chair of the Stratford Democratic Town Committee’s (SDTC) Lord’s Kitchen Planning & Serving Committee, which serves 75-100 hungry Stratford friends on the DTC’s assigned days each year.

“Our platform is based on transparency and access.” Chris says.  “We believe that there is a hindrance in the sharing of information coming from the BOE.  We are in a unique situation where we have a new superintendent.  This gives us the opportunity to foster a strong working relationship with the administration that is built on collaboration and clear expectations and the sharing of requested information.  For too long, the relationship between the BOE and the administration was reversed.  The Board and Administration should collaborate, but it should be clear that the Administration answers to the Board, and not the other way around.”

4 issues that Chris has zeroed in on as some of his main concerns are:

  • Ensuring equity across the District.
  • The need for better advocacy for Special Education
  • Investing in Teachers and their classrooms.
  • Revamping the current BOE meeting protocols by allowing members of the public to speak on any issue they need to during public comments, not limited to the meeting agenda.

Contact Chris at chriscormier4stratfordboe@gmail.com

Town Council District 7

Tim Bristol

Small businessman Tim Bristol is the Democratic candidate for Town Council in District 7. You may have met Tim at his gourmet grilled cheese food truck, which has helped other businesses grow through partnerships.  He started the company at the height of the pandemic in September 2020, and he has built the business and became a top ten finalist for Best Food Truck in the state.

In December he will earn his Master’s degree in political science. This degree is the product of 6 years of learning and research in political science. His focus in this degree has been state and local politics. He has studied the political make up of cities like Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford.

He is currently writing his Masters thesis, which is new research on our States Clean Elections Program and how it compares to other states around New England and the country. His hope is that he can turn his thesis into a book that other states can use as a blueprint in creating their own clean elections programs.

His research in the last 6 years has included: tax policy, tax abatements, health care within the VA, campaign finance reform, voter ID laws, education policy, the legislative process, political theory, international relations, infrastructure policy, and elections. He does not intend for this to be the end. He hopes to earn my PhD in Public Policy or Political Science down the road. He wants to use his knowledge to benefit the town and the 7th district.

Tim ran for Town Council two years ago and came close to winning. He impressed people with his understanding of business issues. Since then, he has campaigned for other Democrats and served as Campaign Treasurer for two-state rep candidates, including Stratford’s Phil Young in 2020.

Tim is a progressive, one who believes in equity for all and for people to be treated with respect. He says a lot of progressive ideas are discussed at the state and national levels, but they often can be achieved best through local government and community action.

Tim says: “The difference I will make for average voters in my district is that they will actually have a voice. I will be their advocate on the council. My agenda will be their agenda. For too long the 7th distinct has been silenced by Republican representatives who were asleep at the wheel or simply act as yes-men to Mayor Hoydick. I will not be a rubber stamp for anyone. I will always act in the best interest of District 7.”

 

Ask the Registrar

Your place to get questions answered about voting and local elections in Stratford CT.

Less Than Three Weeks Until Election Day !

By James Simon
Democratic Registrar

Q: Why is your office so secretive about the voting machines?

A: To the contrary, we comply with state law and will have a public testing of all of the optical scan voting machines that will be used in the Nov. 2nd election.

Feel free to attend: Monday Oct.18th, 9 a.m., Town Council chamber.

Q: The white Ballot Drop Box is for the Nov. 2 election, right?  But can I also use it to deposit my signed application for an Absentee Ballot?

A: Yes, and dozens of Stratford voters have already done so. I would put the application into an envelope before depositing in the Drop Box, located alongside Town Hall across from the Fire Department. The Town Clerk empties the Drop Box daily, then verifies you are a registered voter in Stratford before sending you an absentee ballot.

Q: I want to vote the old fashioned way, but I hate standing in long lines. What’s the best time to go to the polls to avoid lines?

A: The most recent Stratford elections were the Democratic primaries in Districts 8 and 9 on Sept. 14th. We track voting by the hour; the fewest number of votes were cast between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. The largest number came between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., then again from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.   You might expect a last minute rush, but poll workers in the 10 districts say it is often very slow between 7:00 p.m. and the 8 p.m. deadline.

Q: The Secretary of State in Hartford sent an Absentee Ballot application to every registered voter in 2020 due to Covid-19 worries. Neither the state nor the town is sending AB ballot to all voters in 2021 for the municipal elections. So will there be a lot fewer ABs used?

A: There will always be fewer ballots cast in a town election than in a presidential election, because more people are attracted to the task of picking a president.  Both the Democrats and Republicans appear to have sent out AB applications to many Stratford voters. There is nothing illegal about their doing so. If you did not receive an AB application, you can go to: https://portal.ct.gov/…/ED-3-1202-Rev-2021-fillable.pdf  and download an application.

Like 2020, every voter can use an Absentee Ballot this year due to worries about COVID-19 if they choose to do so. Or you can vote at the polls as usual; all locations are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Q: If I send in an Absentee Ballot application and receive an actual ballot by mail, can I decide instead to cast a vote in person on Election Day?

A: Yes, as long as you didn’t send in the completed AB (and have it counted). We use a variety of means to prevent voters from voting both by AB and in person.

More Questions? Please Send Them To Registrar Jim Simon; jsimon@townofstratford.com

This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford (Vol. 1, No. 11; October 14, 2021)

Board of Education

Matthew Schlager

Matthew Schlager will bring his experience as a health care official, legislative aide, and his work with the Stratford school system to office when you help elect him to the Stratford Board of Education on November 2nd.

Matt has lived in Stratford for 22 years. He is the married father of two Stratford Public School students, and is eager to make sure town education funding goes to the classroom instead of being eaten up by the growing number of middle-level administrators in the system.

While a student at Northeastern University, Matt was an intern in Washington DC, where he worked in the Massachusetts State/Federal Relations Office. He again saw government from the inside when he worked as a legislative aide at the State Capital in Hartford, where he was employed by the Senate Democrats and also worked for the Committee on the Environment. He now works in the Legal and Risk Management Department at Yale New Haven Health.

In Stratford, Matt joined Parent SEE (Parents Supporting Excellence in Education), which helped give him an inside view of our school district’s budget and how it is developed. He learned how to be an advocate for equity in education due to obstacles he had found while navigating the IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) process for his children.

Matt also served on the Superintendent’s school re-entry committee, then served on the Portrait of Graduate Committee.

“With a new school superintendent coming on board, it is an exciting time to join the Board of Ed,” Matt says, “and make sure all the processes are transparent to people, fair and equitable, and that every dollar we spend goes as closely as possible to the students in the classroom.”

Matt has four issues he is looking to focus on as a BOE member:

  1. Ensure Equity Across the District.
  2. Advocate for Special Education.
  3. Invest in Teachers and their classrooms.
  4. Revamp the current BOE meeting protocols by allowing members of the public to speak on any issue they want, not limited to the agenda.

Feel free to reach out to Matt at matt4boe@mattschlager.com if you wish to talk further.

Ask the Registrar

Absentee Ballots

By Registrar James Simon

Q: Absentee Ballots for the November 2nd election are available beginning on October 1st.   How do I get one?

A: IT’S AS EASY AS 1-2-3…

Step 1: First you must apply for an Absentee Ballot; all voters can cite Covid and the pandemic as a reason for requesting one.  The Town Clerk handles the distribution of Absentee Ballots; you can write to the office and request a ballot:

Susan M. Pawluk
Stratford Town Clerk
2725 Main Street
Room 106
Stratford, CT 06615

Telephone:  203-385-4020
Fax:  203-385-4005
Email:  spawluk@townofstratford.com

You can save time by downloading and printing the ballot application, then returning it to the Town Clerk:

https://www.stratfordct.gov/filestorage/39879/53278/41274/123223/Application_for_AbsenteeBallot.pdf.

(NOTE: There is no place on the form to specify the date of the election. So in the middle of the application, where it asks for a date for referendum/ primary, write: Nov. 2, 2021 election)

Step 2. Once you get the official ballot, fill it out and follow directions. Each Ballot Must be Returned in its own envelope; Do Not Combine your Absentee Ballot with that of Another Family Member. 

Step 3: Be sure to submit your ballot before 8 p.m. on November 2nd. You can mail the completed ballot to the Town Clerk at the above address. Or you can bring it to the white Ballot Drop Box, alongside Town Hall, across from the Fire Station.

Any questions, contact:

James Simon
Registrar of Voters (D)
Town of Stratford

2725 Main St.
Stratford CT 06615

203 385 4049

jsimon@townofstratford.com

 

Board of Education

Lisa Carroll- Fabian

Lisa Carroll- Fabian is running for the Board of Education. This is her first time running for public office, however, she is very familiar with the Stratford Public schools.

She has worked as an educator for over twenty years.  Lisa is not only the parent of Stratford public school students but she is also a product of the Stratford School system.  Lisa graduated from Bunnell High School in 1995.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from SCSU as well as a Masters’s of Education from Sacred Heart University.  Lisa continued with her education and earned a 6th-year degree in Remedial Reading K-12.

She is certified as a K-6 teacher as well as a K-12 Reading teacher.    Lisa returned to Stratford after college and began her career and family back in her hometown.

Lisa taught 1st and 2nd grade at what was Stratford Academy/ Honeyspot House and served as a reading specialist and 6th-grade teacher at Chapel Street school.  After 11  years working in the Stratford Schools, she was offered an opportunity to teach remedial reading at the high school level and took a position at Fairfield Warde High School where she has been ever since.

Lisa and her husband Keith are the proud parents of two Stratford school district students.  “I believe in giving back and feel indebted and committed to Stratford for the rich and diverse education and well-rounded development that it has given me.   As a mother of two current students in multiple levels of educational placement, I see some room for improvement and feel it is my time to give back, for the benefit of all.  I am committed to every student in our system and their needs and best interests.”

Anthony Afriyie

Board of Zoning Appeals

Zone 3, District 5 and District 6

Anthony Afriyie was born and raised in the south-central Bronx and grew up in Stratford, CT. Educated in the Stratford public schools, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in philosophy from Western Connecticut State University.

Having graduated during the pandemic, he serviced with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps impacting communities in Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Missouri. Whether it was doing national service or interning for the Small Minority and Business Enterprise for the City of Bridgeport, the Secretary of the State of Connecticut Denise Merrill, U.S. Representative John Larson, or in The General Assembly in Hartford, Anthony has consistently found himself working within teams of great people, to solve big problems whose scope exceeded personal gain.

Since completing his service year Anthony has been campaigning for a local land use board within his town. Anthony is the candidate for Stratford’s Zone 3’s, (District 5 and District 6) Board of Zoning Appeals because zoning shapes our communities and our lives. It’s the invisible hand that molds the locale to fit its character.

He seeks this office because he wants to be a problem solver and solution finder for his neighbors who are dissatisfied with the outcomes of their zoning situations. Anthony is interested in urban planning, and public policy. He is excited to learn more about how to encapsulate being a citizen of the world, building social capital and coalitions to foster positive change, and improve on being a citizen leader.