Elections Government

Meet the Candidate: Dallas Dodge

Dallas Dodge. Submitted photo (Credit: Cara Paiuk Photography)

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] by Oct. 18.

Name: Dallas Dodge

Age: 34

Party, position seeking: Democrat, Town Council

Family information: I am married to my college sweetheart, Jessica, and we have a pre-school aged son, Dallas, and daughter, Felicity. We also have an Australian Shepherd, McNulty.

Other occupation, if applicable:  I serve as the vice president and general counsel of a business trade association.

Political experience: Prior to being appointed to fill Scott Slifka’s seat on the Town Council, I served on West Hartford’s Conservation & Environment Commission.

Other relevant experience: I previously worked at a leading Connecticut law firm, where I specialized in municipal law and complex financial transactions.

Why are you running for office? I want to make sure every family has the same opportunities I did growing up in West Hartford. This is a great town, with a top-rated public school system, thriving commercial districts, and outstanding town services. I want to protect those things while making sure West Hartford remains affordable for all generations.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus?  Education and affordability. We need to ensure that we continue to provide the best public education in the state. Not only is it important for preparing our kids for college and the challenges they’ll face later in life, but it also drives our real estate values and is what attracts families to West Hartford.

At the same time, we must work to keep West Hartford affordable for all generations. Every dollar counts, especially for our small businesses, working families, and seniors on fixed incomes. We must make sure that we control costs so that West Hartford remains affordable now and in the future.

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 – West Hartford residents get a high return on investment – we have outstanding schools, municipal trash pickup (which many other towns have cut), sewer service (residents get billed by the MDC for water usage, but the town pays your sewer usage bill), award winning public libraries, and beautiful neighborhood parks. In the most recent budget, we made millions of dollars of cuts while protecting all of these services. Through careful fiscal planning, we’ve maintained a top credit rating. Most importantly, we’ve fully funded our long-term liabilities so that future generations won’t be left to pay our bills.
  • The State of Connecticut budget situation – State lawmakers should work toward a bipartisan budget that protects education funds for economically diverse, middle class suburbs like West Hartford. Connecticut is the only state in the country that has not yet adopted a budget, and the current gridlock is unacceptable.
  • Regionalism – I represent the citizens of West Hartford, not any other city or town. I am always open to ideas that will reduce costs for West Hartford or benefit our residents – but every proposal must be evaluated individually. My test for any regional proposal will always be very simple: Is this the best thing for West Hartford residents?

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? The proposed cuts in state aid are unquestionably the biggest challenge we face. Without these cuts, we could have achieved a no-increase budget. Because of the proposed cuts, however, we were forced to set aside large reserves to cover any potential shortfall.

The reality is that West Hartford is a strong, socially and economically diverse, middle class community. We have carefully managed our finances and invested in smart economic development – we should not be punished for our success. West Hartford must continue to fight for our fair share of state aid.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? We are at our best when we work together, and I favor a bipartisan, cooperative approach to local governance. I was disappointed that my Republican colleagues refused to offer an alternative budget, or even one amendment or specific idea for additional savings. In the future, I hope we can work together toward our common goal of keeping West Hartford a great place to live.

Anything else you would like to share? It’s been an honor serving on the town council and representing my hometown. I hope you will support me on November 7.

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