Meet the council candidates of District 1 | Bristol Observer

Meet the council candidates of District 1

October 30, 2013

As Bristol residents prepare this year’s municipal elections on Nov. 5, the Observer asked the council candidates for the city three districts a series of questions that will help voters make their choices when they turn out to cast their ballots.
Eric Carlson
Republican candidate District 1
As an incumbent, what is an accomplishment you are most proud of during the time you have served?
The biggest accomplishment was the change in direction with city labor contracts. We have kept wage increases at more reasonable levels. Having the city work with Plymouth and Plainville to deal with the flooding issues is another plus for the city.

What do you believe are the biggest issues Bristol faces in the next two years and, if elected, how will you contribute to address them?
Our biggest issue will continue to be downtown development, along with the West End and blight issues. They are closely linked and need to be handled together.

What can you do, if elected, to attract more business to the city?
Our city is attractive due to a more reasonable tax structure and incentives for expansion and hiring.

If elected, what will you do to make sure taxes are low without city services being cut?
Continuing to closely watch where money is spent and looking for efficiency where possible.

Bio: I am a self-employed electrician and have lived in Bristol most of my life. I have volunteered in Little League and Boy Scouts along with occasional Habitat for Humanity projects around the area. I am a member of Gloria Dei Church and served on the Church Council and Property Committee. I am a member of Bristol Choral Society and served on the board. My wife Tracy and I have been married 27 years, we have two children, April and Michael, who both live in Florida.

Thomas Hick
Republican candidate District 1
As a challenger, what is an issue that has come up to the council in which you would have handled differently? How?
Most of the issues I have seen in front of the council have been handled in a professional manner. No one is going to agree on every issue, but they are listening to their constituents and making the most responsible decisions.

What do you believe are the biggest issues Bristol faces in the next two years and, if elected, how will you contribute to address them?
I think one of the biggest issues facing Bristol over the next two years will be the downtown revitalization; we need to make sure the citizens of Bristol are kept informed on what is happening with this project and the city council has experienced people who will know what questions need to be asked and when to ask them.

What can you do, if elected, to attract more business to the city?
I think we need to continue to market the city as open for business. I know first hand that we have some of the most highly skilled craftsmen in the country living right here in Bristol and our surrounding towns, as many of my friends and relatives including my father have made very successful careers working in our city factories. We also must not forget the company’s that are already here in Bristol, they need to know we are here for them to assist in any needs they may have.

If elected, what will you do to make sure taxes are low without city services being cut?
First, we need to bring all the different teams to the table and see where we are duplicating efforts within the city. After that has been completed, we then have each team submit formal suggestions on where they can reduce costs.

Bio: Born and raised in Bristol, and I married my wife Michelle in 2008 and we have a daughter Emily, who is 19 months old. I have worked at Aetna since December 1999, I have held multiple positions since joining Aetna as a temporary employee in 1999 including claim error correction analyst, trainer, team leader and I am currently a project leader. Prior to working at Aetna, I was employed at Connecticut Spring and Stamping in the maintenance department from 1994 to 1999.

 

Stephen Jeffries
Democrat candidate District 1
As a challenger, what is an issue that has come up to the council in which you would have handled differently? How?
As a candidate for City Council in the 1st District, one of the concerns that I have is the accessibility the children close to Jennings School have available to them as they are no longer able to utilize the basketball courts and playgrounds. This area of Bristol happens to have the most densely populated section of children, which now forces these kids to travel long distances to Page Park and/or Rockwell Park in order to have some fun and recreation. My opponent, Eric Carlson refuses to see and fails to understand that this is not only a major inconvenience to the families and children, but has gone back on his word to preserve these grounds for the children to utilize in their spare time.

What do you believe are the biggest issues Bristol faces in the next two years and, if elected, how will you contribute to address them?
The two biggest issues Bristol faces is fairness with city workers (unions) and a better development plan to breathe life back in the downtown space once occupied by the Center Mall. Our children’s education is vital and it starts at all levels including the workers at each facility. The attempt to privatize the cafeteria workers in my opinion is a major slap in the face to all of the workers. These workers are not only reliable, but are dedicated to our students and give their all in everything they do. Privatizing and bringing outsiders to run some of these facilities only demonstrates that the Republican faction is only concerned about profit and not people. These workers are familiar with our children, know them well and will serve them better, rather than an outside firm and group of people who couldn’t care less and only care about getting paid. The other issue is the downtown development plan, which is a bad plan in my opinion. We don’t need more apartments and certainly don’t need a hotel. During my campaign, many people want to see a sports facility that could house indoor soccer and other sports that will cater to our children’s interest as well as bring in additional revenue from other towns and cities. 

What can you do, if elected, to attract more business to the city?
First, always keep an open mind to ideas and suggestions that are being floated. Many people here in Bristol have awesome ideas however the current council just isn’t listening. For my part, I will actively look for new businesses that would want to be part of something special. As mentioned above, I think the idea of having an indoor year round sports complex would be a good idea and would definitely pump needed dollars back into our city.

If elected, what will you do to make sure taxes are low without city services being cut?
Being able to look at and understand a budget spreadsheet is key to knowing what is being spent as opposed to what is being brought in. Unfortunately, there are several currently serving on the council who can’t do this and it shows. The numbers don’t lie, therefore looking at the data and coming up with reasonable plan to get spending and taxes under control is critical. I have both the knowledge and experience to help do this however unless and until we are elected and see the damage that has been done, it is hard to provide specifics.

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