Election 2021 Letters to the Editor — Oct. 22, 2021

Every Friday until Election Day, GOOD Morning Wilton publishes Letters to the Editor that we’ve received about the candidates and/or election-related issues. Learn more about our election coverage guidelines and policies, including word count maximums and requirements for Letters to the Editor. Letters are printed in the order in which they are received. To send a letter to the editor, email it to editor@goodmorningwilton.com.

Republican Supporting “Strongest” BOE Candidates — Nicola Davies, Pam Ely, Debbie Low

To the Editor:

As a Republican, I support Nicola Davies, Pam Ely and Debbie Low for Board of Education. They are the strongest candidates in terms of skill, educational/district knowledge and commitment.

Nicola is an impactful parent volunteer with experience in every Wilton school. In one example, she improved STEM extracurriculars by bringing Odyssey of the Mind to Cider Mill. Nicola earned administrative support, trained volunteer facilitators, and built the program. By the second year, there were eight teams, including one that advanced to the World Championships.

Pam’s passion is understanding, serving and advocating for Wilton’s littlest learners and their families. Paired with business acumen demonstrated by running the Children’s Day School for 20 years, she brings a valuable new perspective.

Incumbent Debbie Low assumed the chair role in 2019. In that role, she maintained focus on students’ educational needs and wellbeing even with the pandemic difficulties. Her strong fiscal management and keen understanding of public education and how to successfully implement change are critical skills for the BOE.

BOE shouldn’t be partisan — it is about serving the community and all our kids. And Row A [candidates] earned my vote as the best choices to continue and build the tradition of excellence in Wilton schools.

Matt Hall

Bas Nabulsi will Bring “Invaluable Experience and Expertise” to Board of Selectmen

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Bas Nabulsi’s candidacy for Board of Selectmen. Bas has served the Town of Wilton for more than a decade as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner and will bring invaluable experience and expertise to the Board of Selectmen.

I served with Bas on Planning & Zoning for several years. At every meeting, Bas brought his intelligence and thoughtful, insightful, fair-minded approach to every matter, with a constant eye to the Town’s best interests. Bas has a unique ability to analyze a situation, identify areas of improvement, and build consensus around practical solutions — skills that will serve the Town well.

I hope that you will join me and vote for Bas Nabulsi for Board of Selectmen. He will be a positive voice for Wilton and an asset to the Board of Selectmen and Town of Wilton.

Doug Bayer

As Parents, Jess Chris and Jared Martin have “Skin in the Game” and Fresh Perspective for BOE

To the Editor:

Jess Chris and Jared Martin are on the “Board of Education Candidate List” of every parent who has the best interests of their children as their utmost priority! That includes every parent in Wilton!

Jess and Jared have children in our schools, know what’s going on (and not going on) in the classrooms, and naturally have in mind what’s best for Wilton’s students. Both believe the role of our schools is to teach students how to think without bias, while guiding students on what to think is the “holy grail” duty and prerogative of parents.

As a parent of Wilton High School alumni, I agree with Jess and Jared about the importance of increased focus on STEM. More emphasis on STEM will tremendously benefit Wilton students. It will provide them with critical thinking skills and prepare them with needed tools to succeed in college and beyond, improve our schools’ rating, and by extension, increase Wilton’s attractiveness for new residents and companies seeking to settle in Fairfield County.

I’m encouraged by Jess and Jared’s commitment to making the schools’ budget and expenditures more transparent.

I urge all Wiltonians to vote for Jess Chris and Jared Martin for the Board of Education.

Peter Wrampe

Excited by Jared Martin’s Enthusiasm for Education

To The Editor:

I am happy to have the opportunity to provide my strong support to Jared Martin for the Board of Education. As a father who is a registered unaffiliated voter Jared is not focused on anything partisan; he wants to not only maintain but improve the level of competency within our educational system for his kids and all of the current and future Wilton children. This is why he chose to take time out of his busy schedule — as a successful professional in the financial technology industry and as the father of two busy children — to serve Wilton. If you spend a little time speaking with Jared, it will be obvious to you why there are Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated [voters] alike excited by Jared’s enthusiasm for education, and why there is a number of people beyond Republicans with Christ and Martin (he is running along with a fabulous Jess Christ) Board of Education lawn signs in front of their homes. Jared is thoughtful, measured and professional in his daily life and that is what I envision for him as a member of our Board of Education.

Please join me in voting Row B for Jared.

Don Drummond

Rich Santosky has Experience in Areas that “Touch the Overwhelming Majority of Wilton’s Budget”

To the Editor:

As Wilton emerges from the pandemic, it faces new uncertainties with an increasing population, aging facilities and increased demand for new and improved town services. These challenges require new and enhanced expertise at the Board of Finance — and Rich Santosky has that expertise. Understanding how our town operates is essential to understanding each department’s needs and the appropriateness of spending. Rich’s career experiences — as a business leader, volunteer firefighter, college board trustee, etc. — have given him experience in areas that touch the overwhelming majority of Wilton’s budget. Looking at capital projects, Rich brings to the BOF his experience in civil and environmental engineering with the Army Corps of Engineers, building roads and infrastructure. As the president of a large NYC real estate development/construction firm with billions of dollars in completed projects, he understands governmental budgeting, funding and bonding — and the need to grow the Town’s tax base in a responsible manner. Do we need a Board member who is committed to making Wilton a better, more affordable place to live; understands these issues; and has the expertise to focus on budgeting, costs, value, and performance? Yes, we do. Rich is the right man at the right time.

Ken MacCallum

Democrat Supporting Jared Martin for BOE to Bolster STEAM, Increase Transparency and Oversight

To the Editor:

Jared [Martin] has been a trusted and reliable neighbor for the past six years when he moved to Wilton with his family for our school system. Over this time, I have known him to be thoughtful, kind, and passionate about the future of his children. He also brings over a decade of finance experience to the board that otherwise wouldn’t exist to oversee the majority of our annual budget. Lastly, Jared will bring a level of curiosity and proactive transparency that our professional community would greatly benefit.

As a registered Democrat, I contend local elections should reflect considering our neighbors and friends who volunteer to represent our collective interests and not blindly on partisanship. I believe, as many of my fellow Wiltonians would agree, the policies and rhetoric out of Hartford generally do not have Wilton’s best interests in mind, demonstrated by the recent forced school regionalization proposal.

Jared’s commitment to raising the expectations of our school system is profoundly important for our students. A vote for Jared Martin for Board of Education is a vote for bolstering our STEAM curriculum, increased transparency, responsible oversight, and a commitment to excellence in Wilton Education.

Ty Chung

Frank Bria’s “Fiscal Prudence and Acumen” a Key Qualification for Board of Finance

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of the candidacy of Frank Bria for the Board of Finance.

I have known Frank for almost 20 years since he was a young lawyer at our law firm. He is an intelligent and thoughtful person who has utilized his legal skills to advance as an executive at General Reinsurance Corporation. As important, he is someone who cares about and is involved in the community, as evidenced by his involvement in Wilton Cub Scout Pack 22 and his roles in the Volunteer Center of Southwestern Connecticut and Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut.

Over the years I have known him, Frank has shown his fiscal prudence, which is the key qualification for the Board of Finance. His priorities of maintaining Wilton’s strong credit rating, ensuring that tax dollars are being spent efficiently, and exploring new ways to grow the Grand List to reduce our mill rate reflect his fiscal acumen.

This is the first letter that I have written in support of a political candidate and I am proud to be doing so on behalf of Frank.

Very truly yours,

Stanley A. Twardy, Jr.

Monty Du’s “Patient, Analytical, Thoughtful Leadership” will be Asset to Board of Finance

To the Editor:

Monty Du will make an excellent addition to the Wilton Board of Finance. As a trained engineer he possesses the analytical skills necessary to make informed decisions that will benefit Wilton’s fiscal health in both the short term and long term. Monty has also demonstrated his commitment to public service by serving as the current vice-chairman of the Wilton Zoning Board of Appeals. Monty’s patient, analytical and thoughtful leadership is an asset to Wilton. I am confident that Monty will work tirelessly to do what is best for the people of Wilton. Monty’s background and commitment to public service makes him uniquely qualified to serve as a member of the Wilton Board of Finance. Please join me in voting for Monty on Nov. 2.

Anthony Cenatiempo

Experience in Education and Expertise as Board of Education Member Speak for Themselves to Re-Elect Deb Low

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Deborah Low’s candidacy for re-election to the Board of Education. Deb has served on the BOE for four years and served as its chair for the past two years. She has lived in Wilton for 26 years and is the parent of two Wilton Public School graduates. Deb has a 38-year career in education, including experience as a classroom English teacher, Wilton High School principal, and Ridgefield superintendent.

Deb Low works with members of the BOE as an integral part of a non-partisan team with the schools’ welfare taking precedence. As a board member, she is proud that they helped manage a safe and successful year for students during the worst of COVID.

The BOE has recently approved an inspiring plan — Wilton’s Portrait of the Graduate. They are focused on high achievement for all students and are addressing any deficits, such as the math achievement scores, which are not yet where they need to be. The BOE has also supported initiatives to address the social-emotional needs of students and developed reasonable budgets.

Deborah Low’s experience in education and her expertise as a BOE member speak for themselves as qualifications for her re-election.

Ann Scozzafava

Christopher Pagliaro has Contributed “Immeasurable Value” to Planning & Zoning

To the Editor:

I would like to enthusiastically endorse Christopher Pagliaro for Planning and Zoning. Chris is an accomplished architect and longtime resident who has already served four years on P&Z and contributed immeasurable value. Now more than ever, as the town faces an unprecedented amount of multi-family housing applications and our Master Plan is about to launch, leadership from a seasoned building professional sensitive to Wilton’s historic landscape could not be more critical.

During his tenure, Chris helped steer the updated Plan of Conservation and Development [and] the formation of Wilton’s new Architectural Review Board, and define the scope of the Master Plan project while ensuring a firm with appropriate vision and expertise was selected. He asks the pertinent questions and does not shrink from challenging applicants to improve upon their submissions in ways that best serve Wilton. Owing to his feedback and deep knowledge of architectural aesthetics and building codes, Chris has helped raise the bar on both dialogue within the commission and expectations on applications coming into P&Z.

Wilton needs the qualifications, perspective and continuity of expertise that Chris Pagliaro provides.

Sincerely,

Victoria Mavis

Matt Raimondi has Earned Democrat’s Vote for Board of Finance

To the Editor:

As a long-term resident of Wilton and local realtor, I know a competent and steady hand overseeing Wilton’s finances is critical for Wilton’s vibrancy and health. I’m a registered Democrat, but Matt Raimondi has earned my vote for Board of Finance and is perfect for the job.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Matt for 20 years and watching him grow into a thoughtful young man. Matt brings a fresh perspective to our town’s leadership: not only did he grow up in Wilton, but as a young newlywed and homeowner, he represents Wilton’s newest generation. His presence on BOF will provide a voice to new residents while also recognizing needs of long-term residents. Ultimately, Matt can advocate for all Wiltonians in ensuring the town’s fiscal responsibility.

Matt is also highly qualified for the role. In addition to his homegrown knowledge, Matt works as a financial investor and oversees budgets which are multiples larger than Wilton’s. He’s a seasoned hand when it comes to managing finances and has already started giving back as a member of Wilton’s Economic Development Commission.

I’m excited to vote for Matt and would encourage all Wiltonians, regardless of political affiliation, to do the same.

Nancy Pantoliano

Wilton has Greatly Benefitted from Stewart Koenigsberg’s Service, Dedication on Board of Finance

To the Editor:

I’m writing in strong support of Stewart Koenigsberg for re-election to the Board of Finance. Stewart has expertly served on this Board for the past four years and has proven time and time again how capable Board members can effectively navigate in the most trying of times.

Wilton has greatly benefitted from Stewart’s service and dedication these past four years. He has played an influential role in managing costs while maintaining the highest quality schools that we all so highly prioritize.

Stewart’s unique ability to drive fiscal responsibility is hardly surprising given his background. Stewart spent 26 years at GE, as CFO of some of GE’s largest divisions. For GE Capital, he ran all budgeting, planning and strategic planning, and brought this unequaled expertise to the Town of Wilton. Stewart spent decades poring through sizable budgets and knows firsthand how to identify line-item opportunities to keep overall budgets and crucial priorities in proper balance.

Stewart has lived in Wilton for over 30 years and truly cares about our town. I’m grateful for all that Stewart has helped Wilton accomplish these past four years, and believe we’d be lucky to have him continue in this crucial role.

Sam Gumins

Frank Bria — Focused on Wilton’s Fiscal Well-Being, with Clear Vision for Future

To the Editor,

I am voting for Frank Bria for the Board of Finance. Frank has all the attributes and experience we want for a member serving on the Board of Finance. Professionally he is a lawyer and businessman but, more importantly, he also has a clear vision for Wilton’s future. Frank is focused on the fiscal well-being of Wilton. While he wants to maintain the high credit rating of the town, he also wants our tax dollars to be spent efficiently. He understands that if Wilton actively encourages new businesses, the Grand List would grow, which, in turn, would keep our mill rate down. Frank knows that a stronger and more vibrant town center would draw new business and, with it, financial strength. Frank, his wife and two sons are active participants in the life of Wilton, a town they value and want to see prosper. Vote for Frank Bria for Board of Finance!

Mary Gail Gristina

Republican Party’s Candidates Oppose Teaching About Equity

To the Editor:

The direction of our schools is on the ballot this year.

The Republican Party‘s candidates for Board of Education oppose efforts to teach about equity.

I’ll simply share their words. One stated on her campaign webpage, “It is very important to me that this concept of ‘equity’ be removed from our vocabulary.” The other recently wrote to the school board, “I reject all concepts of ‘equity’ as they are rooted in Ibram Kendi’s hypothetical prose.”

Mr. Kendi is a MacArthur Fellow, was on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in 2020, and received the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2016. He is a professor at Boston University and Harvard, and The New York Times called his most recent book, “the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.” His thoughts challenge our perceptions of society and are absolutely worthy of consideration by our high school students.

These candidates’ blanket rejection of equity issues will make our schools less welcoming and will lower their ability to prepare our students for the 21st century. Instead, I hope voters will support Deborah Low, Pam Ely and Nicola Davies to continue our schools’ excellence.

Sincerely,

Kerry Prager Nicholas

Rich Santosky has Relevant Experience, Will Change Wilton for the Better on Board of Finance

To the Editor:

Vote for Rich Santosky for the Board of Finance. He understands the operational needs of the Town and school’s various departments because he has had relevant experience. He joined his local volunteer fire department 35 years ago and served as the department’s captain and president during which time they procured equipment to conform to OSHA requirements including two new fire trucks. He worked his way through college as a paid EMT and part-time water/sewer treatment plant operator.  After 9/11 he was called upon by New York City to assist in the management of the response. On-site for 14 months, he established protocols, managed budget forecasts and accounting processes, as well as the overall cost control management for all contractor and consultant operations. As an engineer, he built roads, infrastructure and other public works projects. He served as a trustee for SUNY-Ulster. As the owner of a construction firm overseeing major private and public sector work, he has partnered with government and financial institution leaders, local economic development authorities, as well as community groups to develop, enhance and grow underserved communities. I believe Rich’s contributions have changed communities for the better and he will do the same in Wilton.

Warren Serenbetz