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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 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: Ben Wenograd

Age: 55

Party, position seeking: Democrat, seeking re-election as a member of Town Council

Family information: Married to Shannon Wegele, Daughter Sasha (Conard ’18)

Other occupation, if applicable: Trained as a Labor Lawyer, I have worked for various unions for the past 25 years. Since 2000, I have been a Field Representative for the American Federation of Teachers.

Political experience:  I have been active in local politics for over 30 years and a member of Town Council since 2015, as Chair of Community Planning and Physical Services.

Other relevant experience: I have been an activist for my whole life, fighting for the things I believe in. I negotiated one of Connecticut’s first union contracts to include domestic partnership benefits for LGBT families, helped defend health clinics from protesters while in law school, and stood with Stop & Shop employees this past year. As a member of your Town Council, I have worked to expand affordable housing options, supported pedestrian and bike safety measures, and backed expanded yard waste and clothing recycling.

Why are you running for office? I love West Hartford and believe that I can continue to help make our community even more welcoming, affordable and vibrant.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? Continued smart development, expanded efforts to protect and enhance our environment, and strong support for our schools.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? Affordability, by which I mean not just making all efforts to control costs, finding efficiencies in government and making sure we protect our AAA bond rating, but also making sure our social services, free libraries, senior programs and public schools continue to enhance the lives of our residents.

Please provide a brief statement regarding your opinion of the Town of West Hartford’s fiscal situation, and what, if anything, can be immediately addressed. (This question is more relevant to Town Council candidates, but Board of Education candidates are welcome to comment on the school budget.)

West Hartford is booming. Our tax base is growing, with new businesses opening in all parts of town. We do face many challenges, including rising MDC bills to the Town, old pension debts that need to be paid, and concerns about whether we will continue to receive sufficient funds from the State. Nevertheless, we continue to win deserved accolades from the credit agencies for our fiscal policies. West Hartford is one of the best run places in Connecticut and I am confident we can work our way through any challenges.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? I attended Duffy, Sedgwick, and Conard, and then went off to college and law school. We came back to West Hartford to raise a family because of all this community has become. As a professional labor negotiator, I bring both firm progressive beliefs and the ability to hear all voices and work towards mutually agreeable solutions.

Anything else you would like to share? I am a member of Congregation Beth Israel, and a former member of its Board of Directors.

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