FAIRFIELD, Conn. Robert Bellitto Jr.s campaign pitch is something of a paradox. The Republican candidate says that should he become Fairfields first selectman , hell periodically cold call residents to ask what they think of his performance. But at the same time, he said this week that when its time to make a decision, he wouldnt always go with a popular one.
I dont look at politics as a career choice. For me, its a call to duty, Bellitto says. Im not afraid to do whats necessary to protect taxpayers and prepare Fairfield for prosperity in the future. I dont care if I get re-elected. Im only looking to do whats right for the town.
Bellitto, vice chair of the Board of Finance , was born and raised in Fairfield and graduated from both Fairfield Prep and Fairfield University . He and his wife Maureen have three children: one a graduate of Fairfields public schools, one a current student, and a third due to enter the system in a few years.
Since 1996, he has co-partnered a Black Rock Turnpike-based law firm with his father, Robert Bellitto Sr. The younger Bellitto says his experience as an attorney would help him with the upcoming rounds of contract negotiations with town employee unions. He believes asking those unions for sacrifices is the only way to significantly trim the towns spending and lower taxes and he feels he can persuade the unions to accept compromises to ease the taxpayers burden.
I think that people in this town are aware of whats going on in the economy, and theyre not stupid, Bellitto says. I think if theyre just spoken to in a frank manner, and treated with respect and civility, then you can come to an agreement on things.
Bellitto says he would work with the unions, other town bodies and Fairfields residents through honest communication. You may not always agree with me, he says. But youll always know where I stand.
Keeping Fairfield affordable is the issue Bellitto says he would most want to focus on if he took over Fairfields government on Nov. 8. He would do this by shifting the tax burden away from homeowners and by attracting more businesses to Fairfield.
His idea is to create designated commercial areas with a simpler zoning process, which would make it easier for large companies and small shops to get started. He also wants to update Fairfields master plan to set a clearer picture of the towns future.
Long after this elections over, Im still going to be here, and Im going to have to answer for what Ive done, and for what I didnt do, Bellitto says. "I want to be able to tell people, including my children some day, that I made the decisions I did for their best interest, not because it was politically expedient or popular at the time.