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. Michael Richard Powers is a petition candidate for First Selectman.

My name is Michael Richard Powers and I am running for the Town of Wilton’s First Selectman. My wife, Lucia, and I moved to Wilton in November of 2015. We actively chose the historic beauty and serenity of Wilton. We also wanted the best community to raise a family. Our daughter, Eleanor, was born in 2017 and we work to ensure that Eleanor will be a lifelong resident of Wilton.

I am the youngest of five children, born to a father from New York City, of parents who were both immigrants from Ireland, and to a Mother who is herself an immigrant from Ireland. Growing up, my parents taught Catechism and I was raised, and I am, a practicing Catholic. My wife, daughter and I are all parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church. My parents instilled in me a deep sense of faith and an unyielding work ethic.

I received my Bachelor of Science in finance at Fairfield University and my Juris Doctorate at Pace University School of Law. I am admitted to the bar in New York and Connecticut and have developed a successful business-law and financial consulting practice. As an attorney who is also a certified public accountant, I have provided businesses and individuals with the tools they need to thrive financially while navigating through complex local and federal regulations.

I have never held public office. Over the last 25 years, I have dedicated my time as an active member and leader of numerous community-based and professional associations, including president of the Norwalk Lions Club and president of the New York Association Certified Fraud Examiners (NYCFE). As a LION, we help hundreds of children each year in this community receive sight and hearing tests. With the NYCFE, I helped professionals in the financial and government sectors learn and implement new tactics in discovering fraud and implementing strategies to dismantle fraudulent schemes.

I am a lifelong Republican and deeply believe in the cornerstone of Republican values–minimal tax burden on both individuals and businesses; economic growth; education; transparent government; and government accountability.

My “Wilton First” platform encompasses my values and vision for the town’s fiscal and educational future.  My vision for Wilton includes lowering the mill rate, spending sensibly and fostering a thriving business community. I aim to maintain and bolster Wilton’s top tier educational system. Under my leadership, Wilton will preserve its status as a historic, small town while modernizing its economy. I am intimately familiar with the Town Charter and the policies and procedures of the Town government.

Chief among my initiatives is to increase the value of homes in Wilton. Home values are inversely correlated to the mil rate. As the mil rate goes up, the home values go down. With interest rates exceptionally low these days the demand for residential real estate should be on the rise. Unfortunately, with the high mil rate in Wilton, the mil rate increases in recent years, and the uncertainty of future mil rate increases, demand for homes in Wilton has dropped. The mil rate issue, coupled with the exodus of families from Wilton once their children graduate high school, creates a vicious circle that requires attention.

As First Selectman I would review all expenditures made by the Town of Wilton to ensure the minimal mil rate. My professional background uniquely qualifies me for reviewing the financial statements of all Boards and Committees under my purview as First Selectman, and determining if the required process and procedures exist regarding their expenditures.

My plan as First Selectman also includes actively increasing the number of businesses within Wilton. As it exists now, Wilton is barely even able to tread water when it comes to economic development. I have reviewed the minutes of the Board of Selectmen and have witnessed no real propositions put forth to increase economic development within Wilton. We must make Wilton attractive and competitive for commercial growth.

Based on Wilton’s emergency services’ needs, requests by the residents of Wilton and the needs of large and small businesses, I would recommend forming a municipal broadband company (MBC). This MBC can assist in the outdated emergency service communications, provide large and small businesses with massive bandwidth for commercial needs and offer residents affordable options to internet access, all at massively greater speeds and reliability then what currently exists. (Take note:  underground wiring is the only option currently.)

This article covers just some of my platform and who I am as a candidate. This election I want voters to have a dynamic choice. I want residents to know that I am a candidate who is experienced to put Wilton First and govern by listening to the voice of the many and not the whispers of the few.