As part of GOOD Morning Wilton‘s coverage of the elections for the 2019 municipal elections, we have set out guidelines inviting each candidate to submit one 800-word op-ed piece before Election Day. Jung Soo Kim is a Democrat  candidate for the Board of Finance.

The Board of Finance has a simple mission, to propose the town budget at the Annual Town Meeting. To do so fairly, we need to broaden representation of the voices in our town to better reflect town priorities and chart a fiscally sustainable course. I am running for the Board of Finance to bring a greater diversity of perspectives into the conversation. I’m running because families with children in the school system are unrepresented on the Board of Finance, but make up a significant portion of the town and contribute to its vitality.

This lack of representation was very evident at the April 2, 2019 Board of Finance meeting. This BOF meeting was one day after a Tri-Board meeting of Selectmen, Education and Finance to discuss the possible impact of CT state legislation that would negatively impact our budget. A number of possible responses were discussed. The conclusion was a consensus for a joint press release to outline the plan in case of a budgetary shortfall resulting from decisions taken by the CT state government.

Less than 24 hours later, the Board of Finance held a special meeting which allowed no public comments and permission to speak was granted only by the chairman. At the beginning of this meeting, a proposal was presented and supported by the four Republican members of the Board to hold all budgets to a 0% increase. This decision was a surprise to the Board of Education, the Board of Selectmen and the Democratic members of the Board of Finance. The work completed to create the budgets for the Board of Selectmen and Education had been unilaterally dismissed.

When I watched the videos of the meetings, I was impressed by the concern that was voiced for those residents who owned smaller properties and saw their assessments rise significantly. However, they failed to represent a significant portion of this town, who understand that the quality of the schools buoy the property values of residents.

I am running for the Board of Finance to bring a greater diversity of perspectives into the conversation. I’m running because families with children in the school system are underrepresented on the Board of Finance. Because our community is stronger with the vigorous participation of our older residents and we need to enable them to remain. We need to invest carefully in a Wilton to allow residents and businesses to flourish. While we have fiscal prudence, there is a lack of optimism which seems to prevent sound investments in Wilton’s future.

My husband graduated from Wilton High School and played little league baseball on a field where the Post Office now stands. When I chose to go back to work, I returned to school and earned my MS in software engineering from Fairfield University to start a new career with a financial data and software company. Our children attend Wilton Schools and three generations of our family have enjoyed life in this town. Because I helped care for my Wiltonian in-laws until their passing, I understand the financial and physical challenges of elderly residents who want to stay in our community and the adult children who support them. We have been very fortunate to have made a good life in Wilton. I believe that with judicious planning it will continue to be a town that multiple generations of families will want to call home.

It takes vision, effort, collaboration and determination to implement change. However, if we want to see progress that attracts new homeowners and businesses and improves the quality of our schools, we can not continue the same course and expect different results. We need to be open to prudent investments that increase the value of our homes and improve the quality of our lives is the vision that I and the other candidates on the Democratic slate hope to implement.

I offer my energy as a distance runner, my optimism as a woman who believes that she’ll exercise her way into a size 2 skirt, my commitment to the town and the financial knowledge and analytical skills I have acquired.

I ask for your vote on Nov. 5 for me, our slate of candidates and for a brighter vision for Wilton.