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: Rick Bush
Party, position seeking: Republican – Town Council
Family information: Married, 4 children.
Other occupation, if applicable: Self employed – Real Estate Investment & Property Management
Political experience: This is my first run for any political office.
Currently on the Board of Directors of (CCOPO) Connecticut Coalition of Property Owners – Lobbying organization for small to medium sized landlords.
Other relevant experience: Many years of real estate development & construction experience.
Community Association Manager.
Self-employed businessperson for 24 years.
Why are you running for office? I am running for Town Council because on October 3rd 2018 there was a catastrophic event that disrupted my life for over a year. The sanitary sewer line in my street failed and caused 4’ of water to back up into my basement. When things settled and the neighbors and I went to talk with the town leadership, we were told that there would be help for us, that there would be solutions and there would be resolutions but none of that materialized. At first, I thought it was because the town wasn’t aware of the true nature of problem but when I realized that there was no money or political will to help solve the problem, I knew I needed to step up. I have spent the last year talking with everyone involved: neighbors, town council members, lawyers, engineers, MDC employees and leaders and I have learned a that this is a serious problem and a seriously expensive problem.
I am asking for your vote and your support because I have the will, the energy and the ability to work on the solution. I know the players and I will communicate with everyone involved. I understand the engineering, the fiscal and the political issues and because of the education I have received over the last 12 months dealing with this firsthand this issue, I feel that I am the best advocate West Hartford could ask for to work across party lines and and solve this complex problem.
What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? My primary area of focus is the massive stormwater problem.
The EPA MS4 (Municipal, separate, storm sewer system) mandate to separate storm water from the sanitary sewer.
Many town streets flood during heavy rain and cause the sanitary sewer to have what are known as SSO’s “Sanitary Sewer Outflows”. This is when storm water mixes with the sewage, overwhelms the existing sewer infrastructure, designed over 100 years ago, and the combined mixtureliterally flows out of the sewer system into our streams, rivers, streets and basements.
MDC is spending billions of dollars to remedy this problem on a larger regional level by building a very expensive tunnel 200’ under the ground from West Hartford to Hartford but this will not solve our problems. West Hartford will be faced with fixing these SSO’s alone. I have spent the last year learning about the problem and discussing the solutions with the people charged with implementing them. There is a plan called the integrated plan which will combine the efforts of the MDC with some of the work the towns will need to do anyway. The alternative is that MDC will spend another $1B on another north tunnel which will solve their mandate from DEEP and EPA but will not address any of the member town’s individual problems. Once this 2nd tunnel is complete the entire solution to stop the SSO’s will rest solely on the shoulders of the Town of West Hartford to the tune of $50-$500 million dollars.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? The biggest problems facing West Hartford today are the unfunded mandates and the significant increase in taxes.
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.) The fiscal situation in West Hartford is a tale of two towns. On one hand we have the tax and spend Democrats who have driven up taxes and lowered property values. On the other hand, we have the Republicans who are trying to fight the high taxes. Clearly, the majority of voters in West Hartford like to pay high taxes because they keep voting the Democrats into power. In addition to the partisan position on the tax situation there is also the tale of two residents in West Hartford. There are those who are able to afford the cost of living and there are those who cannot. It becomes a strained relationship when our out-of-touch leaders continue to drive up the cost of living in our town under the guise of “better town services”. We need to get back to the basics and we need to take care of all of our residents. From the seniors on fixed incomes to the many renters who call West Hartford home. High property taxes reduce values and inflate rents. We are effectively eliminating low income housing from our town by raising the rents through the unsustainable increases in our town budget. And we haven’t even contemplated the huge unfunded sewer mandate.
What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? There are a lot of good people who are running for Town Council.
It is not an easy task to differentiate one’s self at this level from the people seeking office.
The main differentiators between myself and the other candidates would be that I have a significant amount of experience in real estate and construction that has shaped my view on how to work with all different types of people. It has allowed me the opportunity to create and maintain sustainable budgets and how to work effectively with all sorts of people from many different backgrounds to solve real problems.
I will bring a clear, calm voice to the table but also a strong voice.
I am intelligent, energetic and hardworking and I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe.
I am not afraid to solve the problems and I am not afraid to have difficult conversations.
If I had to pick one specific thing that differentiates me, it is my extensive knowledge and deep understanding of the very complicated storm water problem and the Federal MS4 mandate.
Anything else you would like to share? I am a positive person with a lot of positive energy.
I am able to work effectively across the aisle to solve problems and get things done.
I will work hard to make sure West Hartford is a town that is fair for everyone.
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