Here’s the official Head Moderator Tally from the November 5, 2013 election provided by Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton.
Jim Gaston, member of the town’s Board of Selectmen, has said, “Being an Elected Official on the Board of Education is perhaps the most difficult job one can have on any Town Board, Committee or Commission.” Both Democratic candidates to the Board, Michelle Embree Ku and Laura Main, are up to that challenge. Each candidate brings diligence, intelligence and a balanced perspective in education that will make them some of the best candidates put forth by the Democratic Town Committee, much like the former gifted teacher and current Democratic Board of Education member, John Vorous.
Michelle Embree Ku believes this is a critical time for Newtown, one which requires a renewed focus on preparing our children for the future. “I truly believe I can make a valuable contribution to the Board, through data-driven decisions, advocating for a transparent and inclusive process, and encouraging a more cooperative spirit…I would like to see our district develop a comprehensive education Strategic Plan with input from all stakeholders – parents, teachers, administration and the community. I would also like to see continued support for and augmentation for programs that support the potential of each student. It is imperative that we expose every possibility for enriching the full education experience of our children while balancing the need for fiscal responsibility.”
Michelle Embree Ku holds a B.S. in Animal Science, and a Ph.D. in Pathobiology. She has served as an Adjunct Professor, Brown University, and worked as a research scientist at RI Hospital, as a Quality Assurance Associate at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and a Reproductive Toxicologists at Lederle Labs. Locally, Michelle has served on the Charter Revision Commission, been the editor of the PTA newsletter, and volunteered for the Newtown Volunteer Task Force, and March for Change. Ms. Embree Ku has three children in the school system.
Laura Main will bring a wellspring of knowledge and experience to the Board. She is an Elementary School Principal with experience as a classroom teacher and instructional specialist in both public and private schools. Laura has earned a Bachelors of Art in English, a Masters of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and a Sixth Year Degree in Education Leadership. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Instructional Leadership. Laura has also published five books on education. She has two boys who attended Newtown Middle School, has been married for eighteen years and lived in Newtown for seventeen. She has been a member of the Board of Directors at Children’s Adventure Center for more than ten years, and is an active member at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Michelle and Laura look forward to serving Newtown using their extensive professional experience to enhance the decision-making process needed for hiring a new superintendent, and balancing the educational needs of all children with costs to taxpayers. Both see balance playing an important role in this important work.
Thank you, and please remember to vote on Tuesday, November 5th!
Ross Carley describes himself as a moderate Democrat. The “semi-retiree” and 24-year Newtown resident has served on multiple boards in town — currently the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Fairfield Hills Authority and the Lake Lillinonah Authority. He’s been working as an appointee since his first post, on the Commission for Aging, 10 years ago.
On Nov. 5, he’s hoping voters will promote him to the Legislative Council.
“It all started because I had the desire to get involved — to stop complaining and get involved,” he says.
A senior himself, he says his work on the commission gave him perspective on what seniors need in Newtown.
“We’re losing our seniors, and we need to do something,” he says. “Right now the town will give you tax breaks on your property. That needs to be raised. Something has to be done — more tax relief has to be available, taking into consideration their outlay of funds for other expenses— to keep our seniors here. “
He wasn’t happy when the budget bifurcated between municipal and education. While he’s a supporter of the schools — his wife is a teacher and school librarian, and his son teaches chemistry at Newtown High School — he says the Legislative Council should take a close look at how much money is going to education.
“The budget increases all went to education, not to the town,” he says. “That leaves us with the roads and the cleanup services we don’t have anymore. When you take roughly 70 cents per dollar and put it in education, it doesn’t leave a lot of money to pave the roads and take care of all the town employees.”
He suggests the town may even wish to consider an outside audit of the Board of Education.
“Even our First Selectman is one of the lowest paid in the state,” he says. “But we do have one of the highest paid superintendents. Our teachers, firsthand, I know are on the lower end [compared to] other towns. Where’s the money? They’re getting an awful lot, and the town doesn’t have enough money to pay for the roads except for the roadwork done on Queen Street.”
Carley: Newtown Has Budget ‘Inequality’
Not only did he not support splitting the budgets, Carley says he didn’t support the $71 million 2013-14 education budget, which passed in June on the third referendum.
“It wasn’t that the school budget was too high, but there was an inequality between the town budget and the school budget,” he says. “It’s flowing too much to education and not enough to support the town itself. It’s just the distribution and the equity of the split.”
“The solution isn’t necessarily to cut the overall budget,” he says. “There’s other ways to ease the income of the seniors in town. There are lots of national and state programs we can tap into — Meals on Wheels, or heating programs.”
On More Democrats in Newtown Politics
“This town ran best when the two major parties were in balance, and that’s the whole thing with restore balance,” he says. “This town functioned a lot better when it was 50/49. 60/40 even wasn’t bad. But the Democrats are poorly represented on any of the boards right now, and I just want to see a return to that balance … I think right now we’re seeing one-sided politics. I’d like to have more of a balanced voice in town.”
On the Future of Fairfield Hills
“Fairfield Hills has a couple problems, and unfortunately the [Fairfield Hills Authority] gets blamed for it,” he says. “We’re limited to what we can allow there. We’re not allowed to have residential living at all, but we’re looking at that right now.”
An updated version of the Fairfield Hills master plan re-opens the prospect of eventually allowing residents, and Carley says he’s weighing an application that would do just that.
“The main problem with Fairfield Hills is that for anyone who looks at renovating or tearing down, the cost is so great that it [makes more sense] to just go somewhere else and build somewhere else,” he says. “Some of those buildings would cost almost $1 million to take down. It comes down to $200 per square foot to renovate. You can build somewhere for $125 per square foot and not have to deal with abatement and all that.”
The Lake Lillinonah Authority
“I worked with Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, and Chris Lyddy to close the trash transfer station in Hawleyville that was starting to send polluted water down Pond Brook into the lake.”
On November 5th, the residents of Newtown will cast their ballots in the municipal election. I am a candidate for Town Clerk and would like you to know why I am the best candidate, and why you should feel good about voting for me. Most important, I am well qualified and have an exceptional work ethic. My record demonstrates an ability to complete tasks in a timely manner and with particular attention to detail. I will bring my extensive experience back to the Town Clerk’s Office and make sure the information available to the public is up-to-date and accurate.
The Town Clerk’s Office is the direct link between our community and the town government. As the official keeper of municipal records, the Town Clerk must use proven and effective procedures to carry out the provisions of law. Given the progress in information technology, and my firm grasp and understanding of it, I will be able to use staff more efficiently and offer additional services to taxpayers, as well. Some of these services will include:
- Implement early/late office hours for the convenience of working residents.
- Provide hunting/fishing licenses in the office.
- Automatically send absentee ballots to permanently, physically disabled residents for every election to every voter who qualifies without having to reapply.
- Offer training to real estate agents in the use of the town’s land records software.
In 2006, I began working in the Town Clerk’s Office where I spent more than four years serving the community. After becoming a Certified Town Clerk in 2010, I was elected as the Borough Clerk for Newtown and am still serving in that position. This position involves additional knowledge of typical Clerk work given the uniqueness and subtleties of Boroughs. For the past three years, I have served as a Case Manager with Newtown Social Services working closely with families in need, as well as many seniors requiring assistance.
Your vote for me will be a vote for the most experience, dedication and integrity in the Town Clerk’s Office. Serving the community is a privilege to me. I would be honored to have your vote on November 5th. Thank you!
NEWTOWN DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE
OCTOBER 4, 2013
MEET THE CANDIDATES
Castle Hill Farm, 25 Sugar Lane, Newtown
Sunday, October 13th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
The truly great thing about politics at the local level is that voters have enormous impact, and better opportunities to know the candidates personally.
To give you a chance to meet many of the Democratic Party slate, the Newtown Democrats are hosting a Meet the Candidates event on Sunday, October 13 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Castle Hill Farm, 25 Sugar Lane, Newtown. You can gather around the bonfire on a fall afternoon and chat informally with the candidates and ask questions. Please join us and meet our exceptional candidates while enjoying a cup of cider and goodies.
Newtown is a wonderful town. Part of the reason is that good people, like these outstanding Democratic candidates, donate so much time toward making and keeping it remarkable. We look forward to seeing you on October 13th!
PRESS RELEASE FROM JAMES O. GASTON, SR.
It is an honor and privilege to run for re-election to the Board of Selectmen. The Board of Selectmen has worked to provide strong leadership throughout the past two years of trying times. Through mutual respect, cooperation, and corroboration the Selectmen have worked well together, this balance of representation broadly expanding a wide spectrum of backgrounds, ideas and experiences. I believe this Balance has served Newtown well.
Much work has been completed, including that involving Parks and Recreation, the Animal Shelter, Economic Development, Conservation, and the Plan of Conservation and Development. However, there is still much work to be completed. Aside from the obvious 12/14 efforts, a number of important ongoing community efforts continue. Some of these include economic development, Fairfield Hills, education, space needs, seniors, arts and culture activities, and property tax relief.
As we address the ongoing matters it is important to acknowledge that no one person or one political party has all the answers. I would suggest that this recognition at the Board of Selectmen level is one of the reasons it has functioned well in both regular and emergency mode. I would suggest that our town is best served when there exist a breadth of Balance that includes knowledge and participation. A Balance in representation of elected officials optimizes the best ability to thoroughly address issues and solve problems. I pledge to continue to work diligently for all of Newtown, and with all our officials, Boards, Commissions and Committee members. Aristotle had it right…Balance is the best optimization of life and virtue.
NEWTOWN DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE
The Newtown Democrats have an all-star lineup of some of the most qualified candidates to ever run for town office. We have looked back at history a bit to see what formula really seemed to work best for Newtown. It wasn’t surprising to see that the best system of civility, economics, taxes and education was when there was a more balanced political makeup of officials. No one person or one party has all the answers. Diversity of thoughts, opinions and ideas bring us a greater spectrum from which to solve problems and move forward. That’s what the Newtown Democratic candidates mean when they say RESTORE BALANCE.
Remember when we had a Blue Ribbon high school? Remember when we had a 3-3 balanced Board of Education? Remember when taxes were better? Remember when we had a 7-5 and 6-6 Legislative Council? BALANCE.
Today, Newtown needs the breadth of its citizenry to address the challenges. There are many important issues, including economic development, education, and taxes. RESTORING party BALANCE with exceptional Democratic candidates moves us forward in that direction.
The Newtown Democratic Town Committee is pleased to support our outstanding slate of candidates for the November 5th election:
Board of Selectmen James Gaston, Sr.
Town Clerk Ann M. LoBosco Benore
Legislative Council District #3 Daniel Amaral Jane Bojnowski
Board of Education Laura Main
Board of Education Michelle Embree Ku
Planning & Zoning Donald Mitchell
Planning & Zoning – alternate Rudy Pozek
Police Commission Andy Sachs
Zoning Board of Appeals Alan Clavette
Zoning Board of Appeals – alternate Herb Rosenthal
Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers Mary Fellows
Please go to the Newtown Democratic Town Committee website newtownctdemocrats.org and read about our superior candidates.