Bristol’s mayoral, council candidates square off at forum

by JAMILA YOUNG

STAFF WRITER

The Bristol Chamber Of Commerce Municipal Candidate Forum was held at St. Paul Catholic High School on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Topics discussed were taxes, jobs, economic development, city hall, public transportation, and the Memorial Boulevard Project.

Each district’s candidates were given their own individual questions to answer.

District 1 candidates was asked, “What will you do to promote job growth?”

Republican Jeff Caggiano said he would focus on the next generation workforce, and complete the downtown project.

Kathy Faber, Republican, said she would bring more fundraising and philanthropy to the city.

Democrat Greg Hahn said he would continue to look for programs to assist current employees.

Scott Rosado, Democrat, said he would place businesses in demographics where they’re needed, and get a diverse youth community involved, as well as set up better transportation.

District 2 candidates were asked, “What are some top economic development opportunities in your district?”

Democrat Peter Kelley said new restaurants are coming in and there is a brownfield remediation underway.

Hannah Lemek, Republican, said she would invest in technology, and focus on development.

Republican Gary Lukasiewicz said he would develop downtown.

David Preleski, Democrat, referenced the General Motors plant and Rich Ice Cream.

District 3 was asked, “How will you improve public transportation access?”

Brittany Barney (D) said that the city and state are working together to bring buses to the parks, and the Double Tree by Hilton in Bristol.

Camerin Crowal, Republican, said the buses should be tailored to the elderly, and to add more stops.

Mary Fortier, Democrat, said she is on the city’s transportation committee, and the state Department of Transportation has been petitioned to make improvements on the routes.

Cheryl Thibeault, Republican, said that there needs to be innovation, and shuttles and vans for accessibility for seniors.

During the mayoral debate, the candidates were asked asked to define fiscal responsibility.

Dante Tagariello, Republican, said it is finding ways to be innovative through technology, and efficiencies.

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, Democrat, said it is understanding employee tasks and making sure the employees have the tools they need to do their job.

When asked about the Memorial Boulevard School project, and its impact long-term, Zoppo-Sassu  said that it has a positive impact, and it will be a marketing tool, and a destination that will bring revenue to the city. Tagariello said there needs to be a plan for the existing schools, to which Zoppo-Sassu replied by saying that there is already planning being done in case of a tax increase.

Tagariello said a top economic concern for the city was that there is no entertainment in the downtown area.