FAIRFIELD, Conn. − To help our readers prepare for Election Day, The Daily Fairfield sent five questions to each of the candidates on the November ballot. The following responses are from Carolyn Richmond, a Republican running for re-election to the Representative Town Meeting in District 1.
Why should people vote for you?
Over the last two years on the RTM, I have thoughtfully and actively represented the constituents in District 1. During this time, I have kept myself informed on issues by attending Board of Finance and Board of Education meetings, particularly during the annual budget review. My background in technology, education and government enables me to dig beneath the surface of many of our most pressing issues to provide both a logical and fiscally responsible approach to finding solutions to the issues the RTM is asked to address.
What are the biggest issues facing Fairfield?
The biggest issue facing Fairfield is one of balance. How do we maintain what makes our town a thriving, well-educated and exceptional community while at the same time keeping it affordable for all of our residents? How do we in the government balance the needs of all of our residents in the community if we have to raise taxes above the inflation rate every year to support our high level of spending?
Taxes are too high and our spending levels are not sustainable.
Is Fairfield going in the right direction - If you are an incumbent, what are your biggest achievements?
The 2009 RTM election saw a dramatic shift from a majority of Democrats to a majority of Republicans on the RTM. The significance of this is that the town's budget was scrutinized in detail and no longer rubber-stamped. Projects and contracts were not automatically accepted. Taxpayers' cries for fiscal responsibility were heard loud and clear. However, Fairfield still has to reduce its appetite for spending and borrowing.
As a member of the RTM Education and Recreation Committee, I have focused most of my efforts on understanding the most effective use of taxpayer money, particularly given the ongoing economic uncertainty. I am proud to have served on the committee that chose the company, Prismatic, to undertake an operational audit of our school district. Using the audit data and my background as a science teacher, I was able to identify a number of cost saving, educationally sound ideas to help in providing a more affordable budget this year, and hopefully in years to come, without sacrificing the quality of our children's education.
As a member of the District 1 RTM team, I have also participated in a series of district-wide community meetings designed to provide our constituents with yet another way to voice their concerns. Many of my constituents are "getting involved in politics" for the first time and have said they will fight to keep Fairfield affordable so they can continue to call it their home.
What would you do to involve your constituents in your decision-making process?
I will continue to foster district-wide community meetings and to respond to phone calls and emails (email@example.com) as I have done in the past two years. I am also becoming active on Twitter (@richmondrtm1) and have my own website (www.carolynrichmond.com) for generating and receiving input from District 1 residents. Voters are also invited to visit our District 1 website.
How can Fairfield avoid another Metro Center, i.e., a project that goes severely over budget? What will you do to prevent it? Be specific.
The lessons we have learned from the Metro Center and several other over-the-budget projects is that transparency and good project management are essential. I have always chosen to believe that the people I work with have integrity and are truthful. That does not mean, however, that one should not question and monitor said activities. As a member of the RTM Education Committee, I will ask for progress reports on all school projects as well as other bonded projects to help assure that they are on schedule and on budget.
Find all of our Candidates Q&As here.