Unlike in their last municipal election, Wilton voters have a real reason to go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3. There are two contested races: first selectman and selectmen. They have also had ample opportunity to learn about the candidates and their thoughts about Wilton’s future, with several forums for first selectman and Monday night’s debate among the selectman candidates.
While both candidates have presented strong cases for their election, the nod for first selectman goes to Lynne Vanderslice. Her service on the Board of Finance is both a plus and minus. While she has a depth of experience regarding the town’s financial situation, she has also served on the board that has provided budgetary guidance that continually anticipated tax increases. On the other hand, the Board of Finance showed admirable restraint in not jumping on the ill-fated fiber bandwagon of several years ago, and Vanderslice was at the fore when the town successfully went to arbitration over teacher salaries. She has the right idea about expanding the grand list by expanding business opportunities and her stated dedication to aiding the senior population. Her opponent Deborah McFadden’s argument for expanded housing opportunities is something that deserves strong consideration.
In the time he has served already, Michael Kaelin has proved to be a thoughtful selectman who is not afraid to speak his mind and disagree with his fellow board members. His statements that people, more so than money, are key to the success of Wilton’s schools and civic organizations are indicative of a promising combination of fiscal conservatism and civic engagement. He also has some positive ideas about boosting Wilton’s economy by bringing in more businesses that are large enough to offer meaningful employment, thus supporting smaller enterprises. He deserves a full term on the board.
Too often on Wilton’s boards and commissions the same names come up, civic volunteers moving from group to group to fill empty seats. Both Gilmore Bray and Brian Lilly have been stalwart and admirable volunteers who have contributed much to the town, but there is an advantage to having a new face, and that is why David Clune deserves a seat on the Board of Selectmen. Clune petitioned to be a candidate, showing a real desire to serve. He has already been contributing as a member of the Economic Development Commission, experience that will be helpful as Wilton tries to expand its tax base. As a pretty much lifelong Wiltonian who has chosen to raise his family here, he has a vested interest in the town’s future that will benefit not only his family but all the families here.