We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running in the Nov. 2, 2021 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 2021 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. 2.
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
Party, position seeking: Democrat, Town Council
Family information: Married to Whitney Sweeney. Son, Rory Sweeney. Daughter, Claire Sweeney.
Other occupation, if applicable: Principal, Penn Lincoln Strategies
Political experience: Served two terms on the Town Council.
Other relevant experience: Previously worked in the General Assembly as staff to the Senate President and worked as a staffer to Senator Chris Dodd.
Why are you running for office? While we continue to fight COVID-19, West Hartford is well-positioned to maintain its reputation as a national treasure. However, to continue this distinction, we must:
- Continue to make West Hartford a destination for families by supporting our schools and keeping West Hartford affordable
- Attract smart development that serves all of our communities
- Keep West Hartford both safe and welcoming to all of our residents
- Most specifically, create a Community Center that supports the needs of our community and children.
As the Chair of the Human & Community Services Committee, I saw and heard firsthand how our kids were set back by the pandemic. Our Town has long needed to create an up-to-date space for our kids to work, play, learn, and grow. While West Hartford doesn’t currently have a space that fits those needs, with the recent acquisition of St. Brigid School, West Hartford has a path forward and site to create and build a facility like this.
What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? My main focus is on our kids and community. This past term I served as the Chair of the Human and Community Services Committee. As Chair, I championed efforts such as the Town’s acquisition of the former St. Brigid’s school, with the hopes of creating a State-of-the-Art Community Center in Town in its place. I have also proudly pushed for continued investment in our Town’s recreational programming and especially the Town’s teen center. During the pandemic, I also served as the Chair of the Special Advisory Committee on Social and Committee Recovery. In this role, I led efforts to help provide safe and welcoming programming as the Town restarted pandemic.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today, and how do you plan to address it if elected? The biggest issue facing West Hartford is the same that is facing many communities right now, that is making sure our Town recovers from the pandemic. Because of the leadership of Mayor Cantor and our Democratic team, our Town has fared significantly better than other communities. We have made longstanding investments in our schools year after year and that allowed our schools to get tablets and iPads into the hands of students and teachers at the beginning of the pandemic to support at-home learning. Our schools were able to create an amazing chain of operations that provided meals to families in need when food was hard to find. We were able to use Town resources to create one of the most impressive outdoor eating environments in the country and provide our restaurants the support they needed. The Town quickly enacted property tax relief for homeowners and landlords at the height of the pandemic. Under our budget, we invested in forward-thinking public safety policies that funded our Town’s paramedic program that allowed our paramedics to provide COVID tests and vaccinations to our neediest seniors. We must continue to be forward-thinking in our budgeting and make sure we don’t get complacent as we will never know when another pandemic-like situation could happen again.
What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? When I got on the Town Council in 2017 my goal was to ensure that I listened to the community, was compassionate to their perspectives, and responsive to their needs. I approached every day on the Town Council with those being my guiding principles. I take every email or call to me very seriously and work with my teammates and the Town staff to help create solutions to our residents’ problems. As someone who has spent most of their life working in and around government, I do my best to help resolve resident’s issues quickly and get answers to their questions expedited through our local government. I understand what it is like to be a part of a household with two parents working and juggling children’s schedules and how stressful that all can be. So, when someone comes to me with a problem with the Town, I keep that in the back of my mind and want to resolve their issue expediently so people can get back to their lives.
Anything else you would like to share? It has been an absolute honor to serve the Town I grew up in and there is so much more to do. As the Chair of the Human and Community Services Committee and soon to be the father of 3, I want to make sure I leave the Town a better place than I found it. We can do that with the potential development of St. Brigid’s School into a State-of-the-Art Community Center. For too many years this Town has not had a proper recreational facility. We currently house our Town’s teen center in a former janitor’s office. We must change this and constructing such a facility has been one of my top priorities since getting on the council. In this next term, we can create a facility that will be able to change the outcomes of our children and we must do it. I am looking forward to digging in on this issue and making our Town a better place for the youth of all different social classes to shine in.
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