An Honor and Privilege to Serve on the Board of Finance

To the Editor:

It’s an honor to run for re-election to the Board of Finance and truly a privilege to have served Newtown over the past years. Our family has lived in Newtown for 26 years. I served on the Board of Finance from 2001 to 2011 (time of inception until time elected to the Board of Selectmen); 2011 to 2015 Board of Selectmen; and Board of Finance 2015 to 2017. I have served as chairperson and vice chair of the Board of Finance. Many know my wife, Stephanie, who was president of Newtown Scholarship Association, and my children who attended Newtown schools, Tara, Jimmy (volunteer firefighter with Hook & Ladder), Kelley, and Owen (and their sports.) I have also served as vice chair of the Family Counseling Center and am warden of the Borough. We believe strongly in giving back to our community that has given us so much… a picture of John F. Kennedy hangs in the entrance of my office.

At Lehigh University I double majored in finance and economics with an emphasis in public finance, and a minor in government. From my studies it was easy to understand the peer review and mathematical/statistical models regarding closing schools and property values — conclusion: the closing of the Hawley School Elementary School would not save money. For the past 25 years I have been a small business owner running my law offices. I understand the need to make a payroll each week. Understanding local small business is important when sitting on the Board of Finance.

The coming years will present financial challenges to Newtown. Specifically, Newtown is in the top 25 percent tax/per capita towns in the state. It is one of the factors that must be addressed in order to achieve a Moody’s AAA rating (bonding savings). The other holdback is our grand list. It needs to be increased by smart commercial development. A way to remember our policy directives at the voting booth would be — “it’s about T.E.D.” meaning it’s about Taxes (controlled), Education (Blue Ribbon), and Development (smart!). Like any business, we need to find further efficiencies and economies of scale. We should also continue to focus on senior tax relief. Education (Blue Ribbon quality) is not only important for the economic and cultural health of our country, but it drives the demand to move to Newtown. That demand raises property values and increases the grand list. Commercial development alleviates the property tax pressure on Newtown residential taxpayers. It needs to be smart, though. We all love Main Street and the rural feel of Newtown. These need to be preserved. Once our treasures like Main Street, the flagpole, volunteer fire companies, cultural arts, Edmond Town Hall, the Meeting House, etc are lost, they are gone forever. Without them, the demand to move to Newtown is diminished and our property taxes rise.

Please visit newtownctdemocrats.org for more information.

Thank you for your consideration. Please remember to vote on 11/7/17!

Sincerely,
Jim Gaston
18 Main Street, Newtown         October 4, 2017

DTC Announces Candidates for November Municipal Election

On Thursday, July 20, 2017, the Newtown Democratic Town Committee enthusiastically endorsed candidates for this November’s municipal election. The well-rounded candidate slate, consisting of many incumbents and a slew of newcomers, is as follows:

  • First Selectman:
    • Dan Rosenthal
  • Selectman:
    • Maureen Crick Owen
  • Legislative Council District 1:
    • Chris Eide
    • Judit DeStefano
    • Paul Lundquist
  • Legislative Council District 2:
    • Dan Honan
    • Clinton DePaolo
    • Jordana Bloom
  • Legislative Council District 3:
    • Kelley Johnson
    • Robert Pickard
    • Chris Smith
  • Town Clerk:
    • Valerie Hart
  • Board of Finance:
    • Keith Alexander
    • Roger Cyr
    • Jim Gaston
    • Steve Hinden
  • Board of Education:
    • Michelle Ku
    • Debbie Leidlein
  • Planning and Zoning:
    • Barb Manville
    • Don Mitchell
  • Planning and Zoning (alternate):
    • Margot Snellback
  • Zoning Board of Appeals:
    • Alan Clavette
    • Prerna Rao
  • Zoning Board of Appeals (alternate):
    • Joe Bojnowski
  • Police Commission:
    • Andy Sachs
  • Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers:
    • Jen Guman
    • Herb Rosenthal

 

Municipal Campaign Training Coming to Newtown!

Thursday 4/20 update!  Comptroller Kevin Lembo is coming too!  It’s a party!  Be there or be square!

Now with 100% more Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman!  Hooray!

The Lt. Governor will be here with us in the morning session, so make sure you register and get in there!  Spots are filling up!

Newtown Dems Run for Office Training Seminar

Always thought about running for office, but not sure where to start?  Well, start here!  We are hosting a training event on 4/22/17 at the Newtown Middle School.

This is a FREE event for all Democrats and interested folks looking to run on the Democrats row in their town election this fall.

Registration is live!

We are running four time blocks for classes.  Each block will have four of the programs running during that block.  The classes are as follows:

Using Social Media with Newtown’s own Kyle Lyddy!

VAN 101 with Jen Thomas

Field Organizing with Dhru Nag

Communications and Literature with Christian Murray

Understanding SEEC Rules – SEEC representative

Fundraising with Meghan Frangione

GOTV  with Lindsay Farrell

Panel Discussion with locally elected officials

Getting involved in High School for students – Katsuri Mia

We are still here!

While we are excited that Rep Esty and Sen Blumenthal are going back to DC to work for us and be our voices, we were disappointed in the other results.  Especially Eva’s.  Her hard work and dedication to the citizens of Newtown are unparalleled.  Her focus on what works for Newtown and her ability to be our voice in Hartford is an opportunity missed.  Eva never gives up, never stops fighting for the working families and we are sure that her voice in Newtown will not be silenced.

So, we are still here and going to continue to work for Newtown families, children, teachers and workers.  Next year is the local election and with the voters ensuring that the Board of Education will have differing voices on it, voices that can’t be ignored, our work starts anew.

If you were as disappointed as we were, but not sure where to turn, come to one of our meetings, we are looking for new members and people willing to step up and work for a better, nicer Newtown.

 

 

Phil Dwyer endorsed for State Senate!

Congratulations Phil!  The CT Post has endorsed Phil Dwyer for State Senate district #28, which covers all of Newtown.

We met Phil earlier this year as he started exploring a run for the State Senate.  We were impressed with his resume of community service, his work ethic and his long resume supporting working families, social justice and education.  

Phil’s knowledge of the education system is going to be key as CT tries to figure out new ways to equally fund our school after the recent court decision ruled that our current system was not working for all.  Phil’s experience on the Fairfield Board of Education and as the Chair since 2012 gives him a working knowledge of school funding that will serve all of us well.  “To say he understands the intricacies – including financing – of public education would be a gross understatement”.

Phil’s career of service to the YMCA also gives him a sense of pragmatism and first hand knowledge of collaboration with diverse groups of people that is needed in Hartford.  Phil’s work as CEO of the CT Central Coast YMCA put him contact with people whose in need and in crisis.  “He understands the needs of his constituents, and the profound impact that decisions made at the state level have on the towns in his district”.

We are happy to see the CT Post realize what we did this spring when we met Phil.  That his hard work, dedication and common sense pragmatic approach to problem solving is what this state needs.  While the incumbent is probably focused on higher office, Phil will be focused on serving the 28th Senate district on a daily basis.

Congratulations Phil!

Raghib Endorsed for the 2nd District

Congratulations to Raghib Allie-Brennan on earning the Danbury News-Times endorsement for the 2nd CT General Assembly District.  Raghib’s background in behind the scenes work as a Legislative Aide to two different Congresswomen in Washington DC has prepared him for getting work done.  “Working in the minority party, he learned how to work in a bipartisan fashion.”  

One critical aspect in this election for the CT General is the ability to fight for change from within and Raghib has the skills to stand up and take action that will help Newtown, the 2nd district and the state of Connecticut.  The News-Times noted that “He does not intend to toe the party line.”  We need people to stand up for what is right for Newtown and right for the state.  We believe Raghib will do just that.

Raghib also stands tall for common sense gun safety legislation.  While his opponent called the CT laws that are keeping families safer “draconian”, Raghib stands with us, not the NRA, not the NSSF.  If you are in the 2nd District, we urge you to vote for Raghib.  

For the full News-Times endorsement:  http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Endorsement-Raghib-Allie-Brennan-for-the-2nd-10528680.php

Eva has been endorsed by the Danbury News-Times

http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Endorse-106th-District-10487222.php

Today the Danbury News-Times acknowledged what we already knew.  Eva is the best bet for Newtown to support our families, businesses, children and schools.  “Eva…understands the unique needs of of the Newtown community”.  We knew that working with Eva for the past couple of years as she increased her advocacy and volunteer work in and around town.

One thing that the News-Times endorsement points out that Eva knows first hand that the current educational system of funding is unfair, unjust and Eva will “be a forceful voice as the state responds to the recent Superior Court decision that found Connecticut’s education funding ‘irrational'”.

Eva has long been testifying in Hartford and fighting for our families when important legislation is being debated.  She understands how the state budget is developed and “Unlike many first-time candidates, she can talk about tax policy reform in detail.”  We are very proud of Eva and thankful for her work and advocacy for Newtown and for all of Connecticut.