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Meet the Candidate: Liam Sweeney

Liam Sweeney. 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: Liam Sweeney

Age: 33

Party, position seeking: Democrat, Town Council

Family information: My wife, Whitney, and I have a wonderful son, Rory, who just celebrated his first birthday.

Other occupation, if applicable: I am a Principal at Penn Lincoln Strategies, a government relations and strategic communications firm based in Hartford.

Political experience: I worked for several years as an aide in Senator Dodd’s office, and also worked as a Democratic staffer for the Connecticut General Assembly. Additionally, I have ran and been apart of several campaigns in Connecticut and both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Other relevant experience: I worked for many years for an organization advocating for better educational opportunities for Connecticut’s youth. Additionally, I am a founding board member of Active City, a nonprofit that helps to provide affordable sports recreation options for underprivileged children in the Greater Hartford area. I participate in the West Hartford Public School’s mentoring program and am a parishioner at St. Patrick-St. Anthony’s Church.

Why are you running for office? West Hartford is and always has been my home, and I am running to ensure equity and prosperity in town through smart growth, business development, strong schools and keeping our community both safe and welcoming, something that has long been a hallmark of West Hartford. This town has given so much to me, and I want to work as a member of the Town Council to ensure those same opportunities are extended to the next generation of residents.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? As a candidate for Town Council, I have four pillars to my campaign. First is to continue to make West Hartford the place in Connecticut that young people look to raise their families. My wife and I chose to move back to West Hartford because it is a vibrant community and full of activities. We need to continue to think outside the box to continue to entice young families to move to our town. One of the main reasons is our fantastic public schools. Another pillar for my campaign is supporting and investing in our public school system so that our children are both college and career ready upon graduation. This is the main reason families move here. As both a graduate of our school system and as someone who has advocated for equitable education for all kids, I know how amazing our schools are and how important they are in shaping a child’s future. We must continue to fight for schools because they are the backbone of our community. Another focus of mine will be to continue to make West Hartford both a safe and welcoming community. People want be assured after working all day that their family and possessions are safe, and as someone who has grown up here, I can tell you our first responders have always delivered on that. We must continue to support them to allow them to do their job effectively. We also must continue to be the welcoming and open community that has garnered us national recognition and allowed us to blossom into such a diverse community. Finally and probably most relevant to the times, we must ensure that our local government and town services continue to be responsive, fiscally responsible and equitable to all of its residents and local businesses. Mayor Cantor and our Town Council have done one of the best jobs in the state in maintaining a high quality way of life here in town, and we must continue to do that while being responsive to those families that are feeling the pinch of this economy. Our town must continue to be equitable and fiscally responsible; that is what our residents want, and that is what is what our Democratic team in town has done.

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 – People want to come and live in West Hartford because of the extremely high value they receive for their tax dollars. We have seen a blossoming in our vibrant business communities in Elmwood, Park Road, the Center and Bishops Corner. West Hartford has grown into one of the most desirable locations for a diverse array of young families in the Greater Hartford area. We need to keep that going and approve town budgets that continue to make those smart investments. This is what has made West Hartford a great place to live, work and play, and this is why we need to continue on a path of careful, responsible fiscal planning that keeps our town on top.
  • The State of Connecticut budget situation – This has been one of the most challenging budget years in recent Connecticut history, and we have all been impacted by it. Legislators should pay special attention to work in a bipartisan manner and assure Connecticut residents that the state budget isn’t balanced on the backs of hardworking taxpayers like my friends and neighbors in West Hartford. If we don’t work together, the impasse will continue, and our residents deserve better.
  • Regionalism – In economic times that are as challenging as they are in Connecticut in 2017, we should always be open to potential municipal cost-sharing through shared services and intra-town collaboration. But this must be done while also placing the needs of West Hartford, our schools, our residents and our businesses are always first in our minds. We have no greater responsibility than to ensure that our residents always come first.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? Our Democratic team has knocked on almost 3,000 doors here in town and, without question, the biggest issue is protecting our schools. I can ensure you, as both a graduate of our school system and as someone who has advocated for equity in education, I will fight for our kids. What I have also heard from going door to door is that we need to allow for West Hartford to grow equitably and comprehensively. How do we do this? By passing smart, responsible town budgets which keep our services strong while not placing an undue burden on taxpayers. By continuing to invest in our schools to keep them as some of the finest public schools in all of Connecticut. By finding the right opportunities for smart commercial growth that bring the right jobs to town. And finally, by ensuring that our most vital resource – our children – are afforded the same opportunities as I was when I grew up here.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position?My many years of experience working in and around government, as well as advocating for better education opportunities for all, has shown me the value of working cooperatively towards a common good. This is who the great people of West Hartford will get if they do me the honor of voting me into office – someone who loves and knows our town and will work in the true spirit of collaboration to always place their needs first, above politics or any special interests.

Anything else you would like to share? It is an honor to be running for Town Council and to work for the opportunity to serve the town of West Hartford. These past several months have been incredibly special for Whitney, Rory and me, walking through so many neighborhoods and meeting so many wonderful people, every one of whom wants to see West Hartford continue to thrive. It would be my greatest privilege to serve them all as a member of the Town Council, which is why I am humbly asking for their support on Election Day, November 7th.

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