Wilton editorial — Endorsements
Election Day is Nov. 5, and voters will have to make up their minds about whom to vote for by then. Wilton is very fortunate to have many worthy candidates seeking to serve the town this year. While most people have probably already made up their minds about top ticket races for first selectman and Board of Selectmen, there are other candidates who may be less known who deserve voters’ serious consideration.
OK, he is well known but Wilton could not do much better than to bring Democrat Michael Kaelin onto the Board of Finance. As has been mentioned in many of the letters endorsing his candidacy, Kaelin has ably served the town in many capacities. There is no reason to think he would not do so on the Board of Finance. Well aware of the town’s slow real estate, he will bring a broader point of view to elevating Wilton’s economy and appeal to home buyers.
Democrat Jung Soo Kim, who got a laugh from the audience attending last week’s candidate’s forum when she joked that the difference between her and the four men at the table was that she was the only one who was not over six feet tall, is another good choice. Height aside, her differences are real. As a woman with children in school who also cares for her aging in-laws, she would bring a different and valuable perspective to the Board of Finance.
The Board of Education controls two of the most important aspects of life in Wilton: education and spending. As such, it is important for members to look at both in an unbiased manner, not forsaking one for the other.
Republican Mandi Schmauch is such a candidate. As a member of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee, she worked to get the most for the community for every dollar spent. She is also determined to improve communication between the school district and the community. School districts are not always the most transparent institutions, so having someone dedicated to bridging gaps between not just families and the district but the community at large is vital.
Planning and Zoning does not spend much of the town’s money, but its effect on how Wilton looks, feels and works is enormous. This is one board that cannot work as a rubber stamp. Richard Tomasetti , Melissa-Jean Rotini, Rem Bigosinski, Florence Johnson and Peter Squitieri will serve the town well.
Tomasetti, a Republican, and Rotini, who is unaffiliated, are incumbents who have proved to be thoughtful and conscientious, unafraid to stand up to applicants who bring in projects that are ill-suited to the needs and desires of the community. Both have worked very hard over the last 18 months on the Plan of Conservation and Development and are ready to embark on master planning. Their input will be very valuable to this process.
As a native of Wilton, Johnson, a Democrat, has participated in the POCD process, offering input and suggestions. At the public hearing on the POCD in July, Johnson espoused a concrete plan for public participation in tracking progress of the POCD. She understands the need for Wilton to move forward with commercial development and modern zoning practices, while balancing the town’s residential quality of life.
Rem Bigosinski is a Fulbright Fellow, landscape architect and formerly served as an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He has experience with designing mixed-use properties and streetscapes, and also has fresh ideas to continue expanding access to the Norwalk River area to create a more vibrant town center.
Peter Squitieri doesn’t look at Wilton in a vacuum. Aware of the importance of development of the town’s master plan, he is keen on maintaining the quality of schools to support housing prices, preserving the natural environment, and prioritizing solar and other sustainable resources for the town.