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Meet the Candidate: Ben Wenograd

Ben Wenograd. Submitted photo

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running for election on Nov. 7, 2017.

Compiled by Ronni Newton

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to “Meet the Candidate” – designed to help them get to know the candidates running for office in West Hartford’s Nov. 7, 2017, municipal election.

Identical questionnaires have been sent to all major party candidates, and each profile received has been submitted directly to We-Ha.com by the candidate or the candidate’s campaign management. The responses have not been edited but have been formatted to match our publication style. Questions left blank have been deleted.

As profiles are received, they will be published on We-Ha.com under the “Government” tab. We-Ha.com is not making endorsements of any political candidates but we are publishing this information in order to assist West Hartford voters in being informed and prepared when they go to the polls on Nov. 7.

If you are a candidate and wish to submit a profile, please return it by email to Ronni Newton at [email protected] as soon as possible.

Name:Ben Wenograd

Age:54

Party, position seeking:Democrat for Town Council

Family information:Married to Shannon Wegele, Daughter Sasha

Other occupation, if applicable:Field Representative, American Federation of Teachers.

Political experience: Completing first term on Town Council

Other relevant experience:Trained as a labor lawyer, I’ve spent my career representing union members including teachers and paraprofessionals, nurses and other healthcare workers, police and physicians. I have also served as an executive board member of Congregation Beth Israel.

Why are you running for office?I love the town I grew up in and believe I can make a difference for our future.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus?I have focussed on ways to preserve our quality of life, whether through increased recycling and more bike lanes or more convenient library hours. As chairperson of Community Planning, I’m focussing on a growth agenda to create more jobs, a bigger grand list, and continued economic diversity. West Hartford is the economic engine for the entire region. We are the main attraction for businesses moving into this part of the state, and we need to continue to be a place of great schools, vibrant commercial areas, and efficient government.

Several topics are likely on the minds of West Hartford voters this year. Please provide a brief statement regarding your opinion about:

  • The Town of West Hartford budget – We passed a responsible budget this year which planned for cuts from the State but also protected our schools and other services. We cut millions from the original budget we were presented, continue to pay our long-term debts, and we protected our schools. I am always on the lookout for waste or inefficiency, and would encourage anyone with ideas to write me with suggestions.
  • The State of Connecticut budget situation – We all know the state budget is a mess. We as a Council have continued to insist that West Hartford be treated fairly, that our economic diversity be recognized, and that we not be punished for our successful management of our budgets over the years.
  • Regionalism – The towns and cities of Connecticut need to work together to improve the economy of the entire region. Cooperation on transportation and economic development is essential.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? Keeping West Hartford affordable, which means not just controlling spending, but also providing excellent schools and libraries and other public services, retaining our economically diverse housing stock, and increasing our grand list with suitable and appropriate growth.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position?I was raised in town by my widowed mother, who made ends meet with social security survivor benefits and her job as a substitute teacher in Hartford. I think my passion for social justice started then, and was ultimately the reason I chose my career in the service of others. I bring that same empathy and passion to my service for our town.

Anything else you would like to share?It has been an honor serving the residents of West Hartford these past two years. I have enjoyed every conversation I’ve had with the residents of our town and always impressed by their thoughtfulness for the town and neighbors. I know that at the national level, politics is getting uglier and more divisive, but I’m glad that in West Hartford we can discuss issues with civility and respect.

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