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Meet the Candidate: Mark Zydanowicz

Mark Zydanowicz. Courtesy photo

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 editorial@we-ha.com as soon as possible.

Name: Mark Zydanowicz

Age: 54

Party, position seeking: Republican, Town Council

Family information: Mark Zydanowicz and his wife Nella have lived in West Hartford since 1998. They have three children, Jenna, a college sophomore attending UCONN, Ryan a junior, Julia a sophomore both attending Hall High School.

Other occupation, if applicable:

Political experience: Mark has served as a commissioner on the West Hartford’s Zoning Board of Appeals, 2nd Vice Chairman – 1st District for the state party and is currently an elected member of the West Hartford Board of Education since 2012 where he has served on the Policy Committee and the Financial Examiner as well as the union contract negation team.

Other relevant experience: Professionally, Mark is currently a business and marketing Consultant. Previously, he was an owner and third generation family member of Guida’s Dairy, it was one of the largest independent dairies in New England which was founded by his grandfather in 1947. However, they sold the business where Mark helped transition with the new ownership. Zydanowicz business experience provides him with the acumen vital to understanding the importance of solid leadership and accountability to staff and clients; characteristics he considers critical in any role. He’s a retired Engineer officer from the Connecticut Army National Guard. An Iraq war veteran where he earned the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star.

Why are you running for office? After 9 years of successful work on the Board of Education and our school system, I want to bring my experience of working across the isles to the town committee by developing ideas and deliberation with all opinions being heard and considered. With three children who still live at home, I want to ensure a future, where our kids can come back after college and still afford to live in this great community.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? I want a West Hartford that works for everyone. So we’ve developed a simple 4-pillar platform which address many issues around town today;

  1. Improve Transportation Infrastructure and Support Local Businesses
    • Keep Zoning Local
    • Allocate funding to improve our local roadways
    • Treat businesses equally, not based on zones
    • Provide separate funding to handle MDC sewer/water issues
  2. Enhance Support of Schools
  3. Reduce Crime and Promote Community Safety and Security for our Neighborhoods
    • Support Police with the appropriate resources to reduce crime
    • Reinstate town wide parking ban
    • Allocate resources to DPW to maintain parks, sports fields and safe sidewalks
  4. Fiscal Responsibility
    • Develop property tax structure that is fair and equal to all residents
    • Protect the town from adding new debt
    • Don’t just provide affordable housing – Make West Hartford affordable.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today, and how do you plan to address it if elected? Keeping the community safe is a priority, not just in the center, but the entire town. Take for example the recent carjacking by gunpoint near Bishops Corner, officers call it a problem of “catch and release”, released only hours after holding them and often see the same juvenile criminals over and over again. Additionally, West Hartford Police have investigated multiple complaints around large numbers of ATVs and other vehicles driving recklessly throughout town, however, our own police officer’s hands are tied by State laws regarding stopping them, chasing or use of tire stop sticks. In fact, State law prohibits the use of tire deflation devices and road blocks, police officers cannot pursue for vehicle violations and property crimes.

Allowing juvenile criminals to be released after 6 hours, with drawn-out court dates and stopping motor vehicles with reasonable devices and tactics is something that needs to be changed. It’s essential for a safer community. These laws provide criminals with no consequences or deterrent. To ensure a safer community, we must have open dialogue with our state legislators and press them to change the laws that will make our community safer. It’s essential for a safer community.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? This questions is often asked, however, there’s so many candidates and I feel it’s more fitting to tell you what I bring to the table. I have a 9 year history of votes, experience and negotiation under my belt. I’ve been at the table during some of the toughest deliberations. After Sandy Hook, it was particularly difficult, not as a vote but subject matter. How do we, as a Board of Education, ensure our students safety and what measures do we take? Although tough work, it is often some of the most rewarding, ensuring the administration had the tools, finances and flexibility to make our schools considerably safer was our only charge. The progress we made as a school system was remarkable.

I also bring a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge surrounding how municipal and capital budgets are planned, designed, allocated and executed by line item. Currently as the financial examiner for the board, we look at more financial detail on a monthly bases, not just during budget season.

After 9 years of public service with the board, I’m proud to stand on my record. I hope people know how passionate I am and that I have brought a reasonable and commonsense approach to my years of public service. I hope to continue this precedent as a Town Councilor.

Anything else you would like to share? I think it’s critical for our local officials to keep marijuana dispensaries and consumption areas out of our town. The unknown is too great and the potential exist to impact our community negatively. Often, there’s time to lean forward and lead, marijuana is not the solution nor is it the time to lead the charge. The local tax generated would be so nominal, making an argument for a larger tax base to our grand list would be dishonest and a poor argument. Keep it in private homes and out of the public.

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