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. Mike Kaelin is a Democratic candidate for the Board of Finance.

New Leadership for a Better Wilton

All of the Democratic candidates are enthusiastic about Wilton. We believe in Wilton and believe it can be even better with new leadership. We cannot expect things to change for the better unless we do things differently than we have in the past. The Democratic candidates have a positive vision to make Wilton grow and prosper and we have joined together as a team to make that happen. We all know none of us can do this alone and no one person can do this for us. Wilton is great because of each and every person who chooses to live and work here. We need to join together to create a brighter future.

The Democratic Party has put together a large and diverse team of your friends and neighbors to help all of us maximize our potential. We represent all segments of our community–people who have never run for public office before and people who have served this town for many years; young people and not so young people; people with children at home and people who do not have children; people who are new to town and people who have lived in town for many years; people who have successfully built their own businesses and people who successfully built upon the foundations built by those who came before them, which is what we need to do in Wilton.

We are blessed with great resources in Wilton–first and foremost each and every one of us who choose to make our homes and build our businesses here. We are fortunate to have so many talented, well educated, and well informed citizens, who generously contribute to our community in so many ways. Our proximity to New York and Stamford, and the sheer beauty of our town–our homes and gardens; the rolling hills, stone walls and open spaces; and our great community organizations will always make this an attractive place to live and work, but we can do even better if we build upon this foundation. We need to continue to invest in our schools so that we all grow and prosper, and to invest in other amenities that make living here attractive to people who do not have kids in the schools. We also need to continue to contain costs so that people can afford to live here; and we need to create more housing options so that people move here and stay here for reasons other than the schools.

One thing I learned from serving on the Board of Selectmen is that one person cannot do this alone. We need to work as a team. The individual members of each board and commission need to work collaboratively with each other. We need to build consensus on each board and commission, and between each board and commission, and ultimately with each and every voter and property owner in town. The Democratic candidates believe the ultimate decision on how much we spend for services every year should be made by the voters at the Town Meeting, and that the members of our boards and commissions should make decisions based upon the needs and wants of the people they represent and not based upon the needs and wants of individual board members.

I changed my party affiliation from Republican to Democrat because the Democratic Party better reflects my values–truth, respect for the rule of law, and respect for all people. The Democratic candidates know we will only succeed if we are honest about the challenges we face, play by the rules, and welcome input from all segments of our community. We welcome and encourage everyone to participate in our town government, and believe that all of the decisions made by our boards and commissions should be made in open public meetings after vigorous public debate. We do not believe one person or one small group of people should be making decisions for the rest of us. All of us should be participating in the decision making process.

Please join us by voting for all of the Democratic candidates on Nov. 5 to help us make Wilton an even better place to live and work. Please vote for new leadership for a better Wilton.