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West Hartford Republican Town Committee Chair, Town Council Minority Leader, Share Vision

Top row: Host John Lyons (left), RTC Chairman Mark Merritt. Bottom row: Minority Leader Lee Gold (left), We-Ha.com Managing Editor Ronni Newton

During a Facebook live roundtable discussion Thursday night on We-Ha.com, Republican Town Committee Chairman Mark Merritt and Town Council Minority Leader Lee Gold spoke with hosts John Lyons and Ronni Newton about the Republican Town Committee’s newly-released “Vision for West Hartford” which has been reproduced in its entirety below.

The conversation, which includes responses to questions from viewers, can be watched on the following video:

West Hartford Republican Town Committee Vision for West Hartford

The West Hartford Republican Town Committee sees a bright future for our town. We need to act NOW to rebuild our foundation which will lead to a robust local economy that benefits all residents. Our vision is to embrace our diversity which makes our community unique and vibrant.

We are excited to share our vision to make West Hartford the model for fiscal discipline, economic growth, community engagement and forward thinking. The core elements of our platform is focused on 4 key areas, Educational reform, Economic Development, Fiscal Responsibility and Safety & Security.

Economic Development: We want to revitalize the town’s Economic Develop- ment Team to make it more proactive and less reactive. We want them to seek out organizations that can help us create a “technology zone” with “incubator” organi- zations that can bring a vibrant and diverse culture to the town.

Safety & Security: We want to help the town support the development of more community-based policing. Since 2013, we have seen non-violent crimes rise dramatically in town in the areas of larceny, burglary, property damage and motor vehicle break-ins. In fact, our crime levels in these areas are above that of the state average and the national average. We also continue to have an issue with aggressive pan handling within our town and are working on solutions to identify scams from those who are truly in need. We also will be supporting ideas to ad dress racial equity and anti-Semitism in town and other ways we can use town facilities in multiple facets to help save resources.

Education: The pandemic has taught us the need to continue with leveraging digital learning in a post-pandemic world. We will explore ideas to help students continue the digital learning experience even after we are back to full-time, in- person learning. We also want to create a curriculum that recognizes a more bal- anced perspective between liberal and conservative viewpoints for issues and trends without fear of retribution. We also need to address the depreciating condi tion of our educational facilities and infrastructure.

Fiscal Responsibility: The Democrats in town have been “asleep at the wheel” with their mismanagement of our town budget especially, as it pertains to town employee salaries and bonuses when compared to the private sector. In addition, they have raised property taxes to an unsustainable level in the town. We need to explore a zero based budgeting system for both the Board of Education and the town so that we get back to more sensible spending. We will seek to remove the myth that quality education is dependent on massive spending increases. We need to rescind state issued unfunded mandates and continue to advocate for more state funding for these unfunded mandates that are placing undo pressure on our town budget. We will also provide solutions that will develop and enhance our Grand List so that we can reduce the tax burden on current residents.

Over the past 15 plus years under the majority party, West Hartford has been lagging in economic development, no clear vision for the future, creating divisions between the mul- tiple areas of the town. When one party is in control for so long it creates complacency, lack of vision and disregard for what is right for the entire town.

2021 is the year for us to make bold and necessary changes to brighten the future of West Hartford. Join us in creating a vibrant and diverse community of the future.

Visit www.whgop.org to learn more about our core pillars, elected officials and to get involved.

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