Meet the Candidate: Liam Sweeney

Liam Sweeney (top left) with his wife, Whitney, daughter, Claire (on his lap), and son, Rory. 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: Liam Sweeney

Age: 35

Party, position seeking:Democrat, re-election to Town Council

Family information: My wife, Whitney, and I have son, Rory, who will be 3 in October and daughter, Claire, who will be 1 in November.

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.

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. I am running to ensure equity and prosperity in town through smart growth, business development, strong schools of which we can all be proud and the type of safe, welcoming communities that have long been a hallmark of West Hartford. This town has given so much to me, and I want to continue to work as a member of the Town Council to ensure these opportunities are extended to my children.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? First and foremost, continuing to maintain West Hartford as one of the most livable, successful and welcoming communities in the state. I want to maintain our great town as the place where young families look to raise their families. Next is education; as someone who benefited greatly from a West Hartford public education and then spent several years advocating for educational equity and access for all, I support keeping our public schools as second-to-none institutions where students learn and thrive, and where they are prepared for college and a career to follow. Finally, I will make it a priority that our local government and town services continue to be fiscally responsible and equitable for every resident and local business owner.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? – Our biggest issue is keeping the momentum going that has turned West Hartford into the jewel of the Greater Hartford area in recent years. 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.

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. Over my first term on the Town Council, I learned a lot about the fiscal state of the town, which first and foremost is very strong. Through Mayor Cantor’s leadership we have continued to maintain AAA bond rating and are consistently named one of the best communities in the country in which to live. That being said, there is always room for improvement and our team has done just that. Whether it is was exploring alternative methods for hauling yard waste (which has already saved the town money) or moving to a completely online and paperless agenda management system (which saves thousands of dollars on paper and printing costs), we are constantly looking for better ways to run our town. I know that affordability is always at the top of minds of our families, and my wife and I –with two kids in daycare –understand that completely, which is why this is something that I am constantly looking for ways to make improvements.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? – My many years of experience working for elected officials and advocating for better education opportunities for all has shown me the value of working cooperatively and being results-driven. I have constantly worked with my colleagues on the Council in a bipartisan way, and that has helped with getting results for the Town. One example was helping to shepherd through policy that made West Hartford the first municipality in the State to move to a paperless agenda management system. This program provides more sunlight on the happenings of the Town and also drastically reduces the amount of paper and, subsequently, the cost of the running the town. Furthermore, as Chair of the Administration and Technology committee, I oversaw the town’s efforts to drop its energy usage by close to 20% percent.However, this is all possible because of our amazing leadership with Mayor Cantor and our phenomenal town staff.

Anything else you would like to share? – It is an honor to be running for re-election to Town Council and to continue to serve the Town of West Hartford. These past two years have been incredibly special for me and my family. It would be my greatest privilege to continue to serve this community in which I was raised on the Town Council for another term. I humbly ask for voters to support me again for Town Council on November 5th.

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