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Beth Heller – Candidate for First Selectman

Beth Heller – Candidate for First Selectman

The First Selectman of Woodbridge must be First Selectman for ALL the citizens of Woodbridge. I am prepared to listen to everyone and to lead. My team is a diverse team of leaders with a fresh vision for our wonderful Town.

I have had the privilege of serving on the Board of Selectmen for nine years, and am proud to have served in my present position as Deputy First Selectman for seven of those years, and, in 2013, as First Selectman, finishing out the term of First Selectman Ed Sheehy after his sudden passing in April of that year.

Since moving to Woodbridge in 1992, volunteering and contributing to Woodbridge has been my passion: from member and officer of the Beecher Road School and the Amity PTOs to secretary of the Library Commission; from eight years as chair of the Board of Fire Commissioners to the Fire House Building Committee; from Registrar of Voters for eight years; from co-founder of the incredibly popular Summer Concerts on the Green to my current role as chair of the Animal Shelter Renovation Committee (for which I recently led the successful effort to secure a STEAP grant of $400,000). All of these experiences have brought me a deep understanding of the strengths and potential of our Town.

Most importantly, I have a strong commitment to excellence at our Amity District and Beecher Road Schools. My husband Allen and I came to Woodbridge because of the schools.  I am proud that my three sons are all graduates of the Woodbridge and Amity school systems. We must continue to provide the necessary resources to maintain the highest quality educational opportunities for all of our children. Superb quality schools will continue to attract younger families, which will also result in higher property values for us all.

There are so many different points of view about the Country Club of Woodbridge, and I understand and respect that. I think we can do a better a job in disseminating facts on the implications of investments that preserve and enhance the quality of life in Woodbridge, and I WILL bring the debate rapidly to closure.  I am absolutely confident that a well-informed electorate will choose the option that is BEST for Woodbridge. Those options might include recreational activities, a town center, and maintaining the use of the pool for our residents. I support maintaining current residential Zone A requirements. I promise to bring consensus on optimizing the untapped potential of the Country Club of Woodbridge property, and to solve this issue once and for all.

Our challenges are our opportunities. Woodbridge needs to focus on reducing our mill rate by increasing the commercial tax base. And despite our record of strong fiscal management, the current realities in Hartford and Washington will require us to explore new, creative approaches to managing our resources, including vendor consolidation to streamline procurement, eliminating redundancy, and reducing costs; sharing services with neighboring towns and school districts to maximize economy of scale; expanding green energy and enhancing efficiency to lower our utility costs, and renewing focus on increasing the commercial tax base.

I will focus on partnering with our business community, listening, and acting to address their needs and to promote their successes. We must also strive to keep our town affordable and always examine ways to reduce expenses.

As we work together, I promise to support investment and planning to preserve and enhance quality of life consistent with our shared values – our first responders, our schools, our library, our green open spaces, our role as a leader in preserving the environment, while maintaining our recognized highest standards for planning and fiscal responsibility.

Our democratic process is based on competition of ideas, and this is healthy, but I think our town politics are at risk for becoming overly polarized, and we should not move in that direction. Town government at its best is an inclusive process aimed at addressing the concerns and aspirations of all constituents.  Ideas should be judged on their merit, independent of their source.

We can take pride in the fact that Woodbridge is a great place to live and to raise a family. As a citizen of our Town you have the opportunity to shape its future. I am optimistic about our future and committed to listening to each of you and ensuring that every voice is heard as we work TOGETHER.

 

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