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.

Jennifer Budai

Stratford Town Council Candidate-District 6

If you are looking for someone to serve in Stratford’s Town Government who has an outstanding record of consistently contributing to our community, Jennifer Budai is you best choice for Councilwoman in the Sixth District.

A community organizer with a passion for making our lives better, Jen knows how to make things happen. Having resided with her husband in our town for nearly 25 years, she has worked tirelessly to make this town better by helping to ban fracking waste, help prevent the sale of Stratford’s water treatment plant, by advocating for Paid Family Medical Leave, fighting for Family Justice and Women’s rights, supporting quality health care, and helping victims of domestic abuse.

A true environmentalist, Jen has served on the Long Island Sound Advisory Board which has been instrumental in cleaning up the Sound. She even has family roots in Stratford which stretch back for generations.

A high energy leader with a successful career in financial risk management, Jen knows how to challenge budget decisions and asks the tough questions to ensure money is well spent.  She has expertise in regulatory affairs at both the Federal and State level and know how to enforce compliance. Who better to help pull Stratford out of its financially “distressed community” designation by the State of CT, thereby avoiding a state takeover of our town’s finances?

So how do we clean up Stratford government waste and stagnant leadership? – by electing Jen Budai and her fellow democrats to bring effective governing back to our government.

“In a nutshell, I care about the town, about my fellow citizens, and about you!” Jen Budai

Zoning Commission

Zone 3, District 5 and District 6

Harold Watson

For the past 6 years, Harold Watson has served on the Planning Commission, first as an alternate, then elected as a commissioner, and finally as Planning Chairman, where he has been dedicated to realizing Stratford’s Plan of Conservation and Development, as well as making real our response to coastal resiliency and housing affordability.

He has lived in Stratford for the past 15 years, and previously in New York City and at the end of Long Island, where he was also active in town planning and regional LIS (Long Island Sound) environmental and coastal issues.

For four years, Harold served as Vice-Chair of the town’s SDTC (Stratford Democratic Town Committee) and an even longer period as the SDTC Data Director helping bring Stratford Democrat’s campaigns into the digital age, earning him Democrat of the Year 2017.

An avid bicycler and a member of both the Greenway and Complete Streets Committees, he prefers the up-close view of wetlands, the Long Island Sound, and parklands, and he has argued for greater commitment by the town to the as yet incomplete Stratford Housatonic Greenway network.

Immacula Jo Cann, Stratford Mayoral Candidate

[Editor’s Note: on November 2nd Stratford residents will head to the polls to vote in a municipal election. As part of the Stratford Crier’s mission of keeping residents informed we will be running bios of those running for office.]

My dad, when I was growing up, always told us, “Whatever you do, have fun.” He didn’t mean to shy away from hard work, nor have I. He meant that anything worth doing should be done with the fullness of the human spirit, that satisfaction could (and should) be derived even from the most daunting of tasks.

I’ve taken that lesson with me my entire life, and never has it had more meaning than now, as I run to be the next Mayor of Stratford and become the first woman of color to hold that position in our town’s nearly 400-year history.

My father’s words guided me when, as a young mother, I worked my way through nursing school as a caterer, when I took my first job in health care, and when I decided to pursue my master’s. It was in my mind, too, when I accepted a new position as a nurse administrator responsible for hundreds of patients and a million dollar budget. In short, it means that I’ve never done anything halfway.

Make no mistake, Stratford needs a leader who doesn’t do things halfway. Our current mayor has seen to that. Despite our town’s tremendous natural advantages, she’s landed us on the state’s list of “economically distressed” towns, and left millions of dollars worth of improvement projects years behind schedule.

And, instead of holding herself accountable to voters, she worked with her Republican allies to redraw council districts and dilute the power of anyone who dares say “Wait, there’s a better way for Stratford.” She’s doubled down on this misplaced attitude with her refusal to hold public hearings on the millions in federal aid secured by Democrats in D.C.

She seems to see public input as an inconvenience. I, on the other hand, see it as invaluable. How can we tackle the challenges in Stratford’s path if not together? How can we, divided, ever hope to find the joy of accomplishment my dad taught me as a child and get Stratford back on the right path?

The answer is, we can’t. We have to come together.

Republican officials, both here and nationally, have found great political advantage in division. When we talk about acknowledging and valuing diversity, they distort it into an “us vs. them” mentality. But the simple fact is if we can improve the lot of our most disadvantaged, we’re making life better for everyone. A rising tide lifts all boats, not just a fortunate few.

As your mayor, I’ll devote all of my energy to improving the lives of Stratford’s constituents. Economically, with investment and a smart, equitable, and inclusive budget process. Socially, by acknowledging the importance of education and a good school system (Stratford spends more per pupil for poorer results than surrounding towns). And practically, by ensuring a transparent, responsive government that doesn’t treat its citizens as an inconvenience.

Running for mayor is hard, but I’m following my dad’s advice and finding joy in the hard work. Talking to voters, exploring new solutions to old problems, and never giving up — that’s what a leader does. Every day, I’m excited to get out on the campaign trail, and listen to people just like you tell me about their lives, and the ways real leadership in Town Hall could make a difference. I know with all my heart that together we can build a better future for Stratford.

Elder Justice Services

by State Representative Joe Gresko, (D)
Connecticut House District 121

Dear Neighbor,

The State of Connecticut has created a resource to help older residents navigate state services. Operators will be able to provide assistance for various Elder Justice issues, such as aged based discrimination in the workplace to abuse and neglect.

The hotline will be staffed by the Attorney General’s Office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you are calling after hours, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

If you’d like to learn more, click here. You can reach the Elder Justice Hotline by calling 1-860-808-5555.

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.