Elections Government Politics

Meet the Candidate: Al Cortes

Al Cortes. Submitted photo

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running in the Nov. 5, 2019, municipal election. 

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 the 2019 municipal election.

Identical questionnaires have been sent to all 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 voters in being informed and prepared when they go to the polls on Nov. 5.

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: Al Cortes

Age: 42

Party, Position seeking: Republican, Town Council

Family information: I am married to Jessica for 19 years and have two boys, Adrian and Gabriel. I have been a resident of West Hartford for over 20 years.

Other occupation, if applicable: Retired Corrections Officer.

Political experience: None.

Other relevant experience: I currently serve on the West Hartford United Methodist Church Council. I have had the opportunity of advocating for individuals on the autism spectrum at the national level. During my career as a Corrections Officer I had the opportunity to advocate for workers rights as a union steward.

Why are you running for office: I have lived in West Hartford for over twenty years and as our property taxes continue to grow every year, I am not sure how much longer I can afford to live in this town. As residents we have been sacrificing for a long time now and something has to give.

What issues are your primary area of focus? We need to improve the conditions of our roads, with growth comes an increase in volume of traffic that goes through our town roads and currently we are struggling to keep up. Safety is another issue that needs to be addressed. I will put pressure on our state legislators to make sure repeat offenders are held accountable for their actions so we can reduce the crime rate in our communities.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? Our budget is growing too fast. We need to slow the growth in our budget and focus on making sure we are spending in an efficient manner. We need to cut the waste in government spending and create a budget that is sustainable. 

Please provide a brief statement regarding your opinion of the town of West Hartford fiscal situation, and what, if anything can be immediately addressed: We need to change the way we do business in West Hartford when it comes to spending. As the State of CT deals with its own financial challenges we are at risk of losing state funding, we need to make sure if this takes place we can continue to support our employees and the residents of West Hartford as well.

What do you feel differentiates you from the other candidates also running for this position? I am new to politics so I am coming with an open mind and fresh ideas. With my military experience, career as a Corrections Officer and involvement within our community I know how important it is to work as a team. It is not about who is the majority/minority party, it is about putting our residents first and as a team we need to make sure all of our residents have a voice when it comes to the future of West Hartford.

Anything else you would like to share? My first priority is making sure the residents of West Hartford come first. We have been voting the same way since 2003 and year after year it is business as usual cut services and increase spending. The values of our homes have been the same since 2008 but yet it cost more to live in town. I am asking for your support on November 5th so that I can continue to serve this great community.

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