Wilton Board of Finance candidate: Jung Soo Kim
As Jung Soo Kim was considering a run for Board of Finance, it was her son, a student at Wilton High School, who convinced her to do it.
“He said, ‘if you don’t do it, who will?’” she said. “I do try to teach our children if you see something that needs doing, step up. I do feel as a parent we have a responsibility to demonstrate behavior we hope our children will engage in. And I think volunteering is important.”
“In Wilton, on the Board of Finance, I do feel like there’s not a lot of representation of women’s voices,” the Democratic candidate said last week in an interview with The Bulletin. “If I’m elected I would be the only woman, I would be the only Board of Finance member with children who are currently in school.
“I understand that as much experience as some of the older candidates have, I still get Christmas wish lists from teachers for their classrooms … and to have volunteered in the classroom, I see where the investments are and where the needs are and maybe where the program is, as a parent, maybe I would not want funds to go. I feel having that insight would be a slightly different informed voice,” she said.
“If I can bring a different perspective, I hope it will lead to better discussions and I think the way the Board of Finance has communicated — some of the decision-making process — with the town has not always been great,” she said.
One of the main issues Kim sees has to do with a lack of transparency regarding some decisions that affect the Board of Education.
“When the Board of Finance asks the Board of Education to submit a budget with a maximum increase, and they come in with a budget that’s below the request and then they cut it further, to me that’s a surprise and not very transparent,” she said.
She believes that if the Board of Finance cut had been proposed at the Annual Town Meeting, it would have been defeated.
“That’s not to say the Board of Finance isn’t listening to a constituency that has different concerns,” she said. “That’s fine. Our job is to represent the townspeople. But if the majority of people at the town meeting [had] defeated it, then maybe there need to be more voices.”
Along with having children in public school, Kim’s husband’s senior parents also live in Wilton, so she sees things from two perspectives.
On the one hand, families come to Wilton for the schools. On the other, there are challenges for older people who want to stay here.
“It’s not a walkable town,” she said. “As driving becomes limited, a lot of things fall away.” Other towns, she said, are better at reaching out to seniors.
As a multigenerational town, she believes there can be a balance by “investing wisely in some services for seniors and the schools. That improves all home values and the attractiveness to young families and keeps older residents in town.”
“There are some planning and zoning issues that would encourage people to stay in town as they downsize,” she said. “I’m hoping that encouraging investments that would make the town a little more walkable, a little more accessible to older residents and younger families would help.”
One that she mentioned in particular, as someone who runs marathons, is the high school track, which is the focus of the Back the Track fundraising effort for needed repairs. She has seen adults walking with their parents, young mothers running on it and others. “That high school track gets a lot of use,” she said.
“We can’t invest in everything,” she said. “We have to look at how much usage something gets and how many people want it.