Elections Government

Meet the Candidate: Beth Kerrigan

Beth Kerrigan. Credit: Cara Paiuk (we-ha.com file 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: Beth Kerrigan

Age: 62 and counting

Party, position seeking: Democrat, Town Council

Family information: I am married to Jody Mock. Together we are raising our sons, Fernando and Carlos, who attend public schools. Choco our rescue from Tennessee and a couple of parakeets along with a large extended family complete our family.

Other occupation, if applicable: I am a self-employed broker for Medicare and have specialized in Long-Term Care Protection since 1989.

Political experience: I am honored to have just completed my first term on the Town Council.

Other relevant experience: I co-founded an insurance agency, NET Plus, that was ultimately purchased by The Travelers. I was lead plaintiff in Kerrigan vs. Connecticut, making same sex marriage equal.

Why are you running for office? I run to work with my fellow town councilors to help West Hartford continue to be a top choice when choosing where to live, work or play. Like many residents in West Hartford we chose to raise our family here because it’s a great community. West Hartford has nationally recognized public schools, ranked as one of the top 30 safest towns, is diverse in our people, our culture, our food and our parks. We are a cool place to live. Our work must continue to keep West Hartford the shining star in Connecticut.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? As a 62-year-old self- employed working mom with twin sophomores I am concerned that West Hartford be affordable but not at the expense of delivering the benefits of a high quality public education. With the proverbial fixed income within sight and the cost of colleges on my horizon I understand how critical it is to live within a tight budget. We must do what we can to continue to attract younger residents at the same time we must make it possible for folks, like myself, to be able to live out our retirement years if we choose. We must continue to work to attract local businesses as well as keeping our neighborhoods safe to walk, drive and bike.

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 This is a very difficult budget year not just for West Hartford, but, for all 169 municipalities in Connecticut. We did not have a state budget to work with when we approved our budget. Our town was also hit with a large increase in the cost the MDC charges for the use of sewers that is reflected in our property tax. The Board of Education did a good job working together to reduce 16 teacher positions as well as reducing their proposed budget without sacrificing the quality of our public education.
  • The State of Connecticut budget situation West Hartford, as well as every town in Connecticut, is hurt by not having a budget. We cannot make important planning decisions without knowing how much money we have. Our leaders must do their job, come together, discuss the options, put their differences aside, compromise and deliver us a fair budget. Fortunately, for the residents of West Hartford, despite the lack of a state budget (for the time being) we continue to deliver the services we rely on, fire and police, trash and recycling, and quality public education.
  • Regionalism As a town councilor it is important to remain open to any and all potential cost savings available to us. As we discuss any possibilities such as regionalism we must also try to uncover any unintended consequences. We must be sure to vet any proposal of regionalism to guarantee it is a win/win proposition and to insure there is no loss of quality to our life style. We do utilize regional cooperation’s such as the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District as well as the MDC.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? I believe it is sustainability. West Hartford is a great town in a state that is struggling. We are a well-managed, thriving, exciting place to live. We need to focus on what can we do to sustain ourselves. Money is always the driver. We must continue to sharpen our pencils and shave off expenses where possible. We must be a business friendly town in order to thrive. We must remain open to new ideas and talk about ways to do things differently if necessary. We must avoid the trap of doing something because “it’s always been that way”. There are exciting opportunities that we must entertain and decide as a whole if they are a good fit for West Hartford’s future.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position?On the surface, there are characteristics that differentiate me from my fellow candidates: I’m older, gay, I have two sons of color, I’ve lived in New York, Dallas, and Boston as well as Kibbutz Nachsholim in Israel, I’m self-employed, and I’m not a lawyer 🙂

I focus on what brings us together. I believe in listening and working together.

I believe that what brings us together is more powerful then what drives us apart. We are more alike than different. We are fortunate to live in a town where so many residents are willing to volunteer their spare time to help keep our town great.

Anything else you would like to share? Thank you for taking the time to read. Thank you for staying engaged. Please remember to vote on November 7. Your vote counts.

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