By MIKE CHAIKEN
After the Bristol Chamber of Commerce candidate forum wrapped up, both parties stepped forward to praise their own slate.
Additionally, the Democrats immediately took the opportunity to criticize their Republican opponents.
“The Bristol Democratic Town Committee is extremely proud of the performance of all of our candidates at the debate tonight. Clearly, if voters want an educated, experienced, fiscally conservative and forward thinking team leading City Hall, our candidates are the ones to vote for,” said the Bristol Democratic Town Committee in a written statement issued after last Monday’s debate.
“Dave Preleski and Mary Fortier spoke with knowledge and poise thanks to their years of commitment and distinguished leadership on the City Council. We are equally proud of our newest candidates — Greg Hahn and Josh Medeiros (District 1), Peter Kelley (District 2), and Brittany Barney (District 3) — for bringing new ideas and fresh perspectives to the discussion,” said the DTC.
Bristol Republican Town Committee chair Jeff Caggiano said, “I was extremely pleased that our entire slate of candidates very eloquently made their case to voters. Republicans proved that we are moving in the right direction and clearly won this debate. Bristol’s fiscal situation is the envy of the state and in some cases the nation with a Triple AAA Bond Rating, fully funded pension plans, and 66 million new dollars added to our grand list with many new businesses coming to town (Pods, GMN, Faneuil). Our fiscal future depends on a continued steady hand led by Republicans. Without a mil rate increase this year, Republicans have funded Memorial Boulevard, infrastructure for Centre Square, and a 3 percent increase to the Board of Education, while still maintaining a healthy rainy day fund. I encourage any voter that is unsure about who they might support to watch the replay on Nutmeg TV and see for themselves how well all of our candidates performed.”
The DTC also said, “Of course, mayoral candidate Ellen Zoppo-Sassu proved that she is the most qualified person to lead the city of Bristol into the future. Not only did Ellen speak from the heart and intelligently address the issues that she was asked about, she also did us all a great service by debunking some of Mr. (Ken) Cockayne’s (the Republican incumbent) inaccurate and exaggerated claims regarding his ‘accomplishments’ while in office. Just to name a couple, it turns out the mayor has not been as responsive to business needs as he should be, and currently the city of Bristol is not doing enough to combat the opioid crisis and provide the support services people need to get healthy. Mr. Cockayne’s statistics about crime and blight are also suspect.”
“Most importantly of all,” the DTC wrote, “our candidates accurately pointed out that Mr. Cockayne has in fact raised taxes — twice — since he’s been at the helm. Despite Mr. Cockayne’s claim to have ‘held the line on taxes,’ nothing could be farther from the truth.”
”Mr. Cockayne’s stunted vision and lack of leadership are leading Bristol in the wrong direction,” said the DTC. “We are absolutely confident that after tonight’s dismal performance by Mr. Cockayne, the overwhelming majority of voters will agree with us and cast their votes for our Democratic candidates.”