Steinberg, Savin seek to address traffic in Westport if elected

Westport Democratic First and Second Selectmen candidates Jonathan Steinberg and Candice Savin.

Westport Democratic First and Second Selectmen candidates Jonathan Steinberg and Candice Savin.

Contributed Photo

WESTPORT — Democrats Jonathan Steinberg and Candice Savin want to relieve traffic issues and invest in infrastructure to make Westport more resilient if elected first and second selectman.

Steinberg, 65, said they plan to enact several different methods that could help address Westport’s traffic issues.

“Since the very beginning we have been out there discussing an issue that everyone thinks is very important and that is traffic,” Steinberg said. “There may not be a single solution to solve it, but we’re looking at a variety of answers like technologies like smart traffic lights with cameras in them that dictate the traffic light flow based on what the actual volume is.”

Steinberg said they also plan to address known intersections that have been a problem, pedestrian cross walks, and perhaps a mass transit system to give people an alternative to driving.

“These are things that have not been solved,” Steinberg said. “Put all of those things together and maybe we can have an impact on traffic.”

Steinberg first got involved in local government nearly 20 years ago when a local issue made him attend his first school board meeting. Not long after, the town reorganized its Representative Town Meeting and created a ninth district. When Steinberg found out there were three candidates to fill four spots, he drove to Hartford to get his name put on the ballot for the RTM seat.

He won the write-in election and served in the RTM for seven years. He’s since become a state representative, and has spent six terms representing Westport in Hartford, making him the 136th district’s second-longest serving state representative.

Steinberg said that while he has been in the state legislature, he has contemplated running for first selectman as early as eight years ago, but didn’t receive the Democratic nomination at the time.

“Things work for a reason,” Steinberg said. “I think I am much stronger and much better suited for being an effective municipal executive than I would have been eight years ago thanks to all my experience in the legislature and all the relationships I’ve established.”

Savin, 53, a real estate attorney in Westport, said she was eager to run with Steinberg when the opportunity came up.

“I was very eager to run with Jonathan because I know he’s been such an experienced, committed and productive public servant for all of us in Westport and I thought we would make a great team,” Savin said. “I just really feel like Jonathan gets things done and he knows the issues better than anyone.”

Savin said she finds his record on fiscal discipline, environmental issues and public “inspiring.” She added he helped pass legislation to tighten the requirements for vaccinations to keep children safe..

“I know how committed he is to the town and we really share a kind of a results-oriented leadership style,” Savin said. “We each share the same values that align with the community of Westport.”

Savin first got into local government through the Westport Democratic Town Commmittee. A friend then encouraged her to run for the Board of Education when a seat became available.

“I was always interested in government,” Savin said. “I decided that it was something I was interested in because I had two kids in the school system at the time and was very committed in doing my part to ensure the success of our school.”

Savin was appointed to the school board and then was elected to it the following year. In 2019, Savin was elected as the board’s chairwoman.

“Candice is incredibly smart,” Steingberg said. “Somebody who I would not just run with, that if elected would have her own portfolio of things she could pursue, which I think makes town government effective when the first and second selectman are working on behalf of the town in a very proactive fashion.”

Steinberg and Savin said they also want to address the downtown, infrastructure and resiliency.

Steinberg said currently the downtown is doing “OK”, but they believe by embracing the Saugatuck River, the playgrounds and having pop-ups to sell local food, the town can make downtown a destination “in a way the doesn’t currently exists.”

“Other communities have been more assertive in planning for the future and I think that this is something that we need to talk about,” Steinberg said. “The more I talk about it with people when I knock on doors the more neighborhoods I find out have more flooding issues.”