We reached out to both the Killingworth Republican Town Committee and the Killingworth Democrat Town Committee and asked candidates to respond to a set of questions; if a candidate did not respond, their name is listed, so that you know who is running for each office.
Updates from all candidates are welcome and will be published as Letters to the Editor. The questions posed to the candidates were:
- Tell us a little about yourself.
- Why are you running for the position?
- What do you see as the important issues facing Killingworth and how would you address them in your role?
- What are the key things you love about this town and its people?
- Additional thoughts to leave voters with?
Brice McLaughlin (R): As a Killingworth resident for the past 30 years, I have called our town home for my entire adult life. I grew up in Guilford, graduated Guilford High School, and then college at Rochester Institute of Technology, then landing in our small town shortly thereafter. I have raised my family here in Killingworth, 2 boys (21 and 23), both who attended the Killingworth public school system from Pre-K through High School. One entering his Senior year at UCONN, the other a UCONN graduate working as a Bio-Medical Engineer in CT, and my wife a Teacher in the Madison public school system. I am self-employed in the mortgage business after a 12-year career in the Information Technology field.
I am currently a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission. When elected, as is the case now, my main reason for running is to “serve” the town. I never had much interest in politics until I experienced it on the local level, a place where one can actually make a difference, and “give back” to the community. I was originally recruited to be a member of the KRTC (Killingworth Republican Town Committee), where I became treasurer for a period of time. I was Treasurer for Fred Dudek’s First Selectman campaign not long ago. In each position I realized I was surrounded by others who volunteered their time for the good of others, very different to what I perceived of those in higher level of politics. So “why am I running” to serve you, the residents of Killingworth, if you’ll have me.
[Important issue facing Killingworth] “Affordable” housing options for those other than the typical middle to upper-middle class family. Whether it be young High School or College graduates just entering the work force, retirees looking to downsize, or any number of other scenarios, our town has little to no housing options in the area of Apartments, Condominiums, Planned Unit Developments, and other options that provide a lower cost and less maintenance than the typical Single-Family Home.
In a related topic, the ability for Single Family Homeowners to add Accessory Suites, and similar extension to their homes, for the purpose of housing family members who are otherwise shut out of the Killingworth housing market is of great importance to me.
Killingworth residents are known for being friendly, while also giving you space. We are a small tight knit community that respects its residents’ privacy and understands that the rural nature of the community is one of the main draws for many who choose to live here.
As we are a very small town, with declining population. We need to get creative with the balance of staying the small rural town we all love, while keeping property taxes and other expenses at a reasonable level. It has been shown that Killingworth can support businesses compatible with the towns character; it has further been shown in some cases that Killingworth can even be a destination for certain businesses. The town needs to develop policies, facilities, rules, and regulations that attract the type of businesses we would like to see in our town.
Geoffrey Cook (D): I have lived in Killingworth with my family for 20+ years. I am running for my 4th term on P&Z.
I feel a strong commitment to working with the rest of the Commission as well as townspeople to ensure any changes made or approvals issued, are in keeping with the Town’s POCD, (which reflects townspeople’s desires) as well as trying to ensure a balance of existing and new development.
From my perspective, the top 3 issues are:
- Creating a more pedestrian-oriented “town center.”
- Balancing new residential development with the existing rural characteristics we all enjoy.
- It is important to me to continue working on further initiatives for more affordable housing solutions for our elderly and for those just starting out, so they have options which allow them to continue to live in town.
[The key things you love about this town are] The rural character of the town and the close relationships we all share.
As a reminder, we welcome anyone to attend P&Z meetings to stay informed and/or to share ideas with the commission. Join us. We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month!
Guy Vecchitto (R): My name is Guy Vecchitto and I have been a resident of Killingworth for 40 years. I picked Killingworth for its beautiful country setting. I bought a piece of land, built a house and raised my family. I have been involved in serving the public my entire life. I have always felt very strongly about protecting our environment. I was Superintendent of Water Pollution Control for the City of Middletown until my retirement in 2004. I am a member of the Parmelee Farm Committee and the Killingworth Lions where I enjoy volunteering whenever I am needed.
I believe I would bring an environmentalist’s view to the Commission which would be very helpful when reviewing the issues that come before us. The environment is very important to me and planning and zoning plays a huge part in maintaining the environment. I held a Class IV wastewater distribution license and a Class III wastewater treatment license during my career in wastewater. With these licenses came a great deal of training in other environmental issues. This background will be instrumental in making decisions on planning and zoning issues since the two topics are intertwined.
I believe Killingworth needs to continue to be careful on its growth. We should look into the feasibility of allowing more affordable housing, more professional services and more commercial services in town. However, changes, if any, must be done considering any possible environmental impacts and with the input of its residents.
I recognize and appreciate the love the people of Killingworth have for their town! I believe they really treasure the beauty and great quality of life that we enjoy here. I also believe our town is fortunate to have so many volunteers who help make this such a great place to live.
I have always been a very good listener and will consider all aspects of an issue before I make a decision that will affect the town we all love. I have also expressed my concerns to elected state officials of the importance of allowing local planning and zoning commissions to continue to make the zoning decisions for their towns and citizens. Many towns simply lack the geology and the infrastructure to support some of the changes that were being proposed. And lastly, no matter who you would choose to represent you make your voice heard and VOTE!
William T Tobelman (D): I’ve been living in Killingworth for almost 30 years now. I’m a graduate of Morgan High School and have a degree in sociology from American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. I most recently worked 27 years for a Connecticut based medical manufacturer.
I’m running for the Planning and Zoning Commission because I want Killingworth to basically stay the way it is in a way that allows both young and old to live here.
I think an important issue is not becoming like other towns that have changed and lost their identity.
I love Killingworth’s Mom and Pop businesses, the open space, the dump, the baseball and soccer fields, the school system, the town crews, the library, the volunteer fire department, the ambulance, our resident state trooper, the circle, Chatfield Hollow, and Parmelee Farm.
Some say that Killingworth folks don’t know who their neighbors are, but this is true only if you make it so. Killingworth has always had wonderful residents. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.
I think my vision for the town matches that of most residents, but I’m open to new ideas and suggestions. I’ll listen to you. Please consider voting for me in November. Thank you.
David Gross (R): As a 40 year resident of Killingworth and have served on many boards and commissions over the years. I have been a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for 12 years, four of those years have been as the Vice Chairman. I also served on the Board of Education for four years.
Planning and Zoning is vital to maintaining the character of Killingworth. I feel that it is important to serve our town.
It is important to maintain the rural character of Killingworth; we need to balance commercial development while maintaining our rural character. I love the spirit of community that is a trademark of this town and the rural character.
Malorie Neveu (R, P&Z Alternate): I have been living in Killingworth since 2019 when my boyfriend Kevin Gorman and I purchased the Welter property farm on Roast Meat Hill Road. I moved here from Granby MA, a small town that reminds me of Killingworth. I work full time as a medical coder in Guilford. I am also a member of the Killingworth Women’s Organization and volunteer at Helping Hands food pantry in Killingworth.
I love the close community feel in our town and want to do my best to preserve our towns history while also keeping up with the current laws and regulations. Our town is special and deserves to be preserved while also making sure that we stay current.
We need to make sure that planning and zoning laws remain under the control of the town. I will work to make sure our laws are made in the town, as our townspeople know what is best for Killingworth. We also need to work on the health and safety of our residents. Putting community first is my top priority.
Since moving here in 2019, I have loved the small town charm that Killingworth offers. I live on a 41 acre farm and I am so lucky to be a part of this welcoming community. I have met many wonderful people through the KVFC, Killingworth Women’s Organization, and the Republican Town Committee. Knowing I will be able to raise a family in such an amazing town makes me want to work even harder for this community. I love the many opportunities to get involved that are available in here. We have a great community here in Killingworth and I will do my absolute best to keep Killingworth strong.
I will work hard and listen to the needs and wants of the residents of Killingworth. We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful place. I will uphold the planning and zoning laws while also putting our community first. Our town deserves the best and I plan on providing that for Killingworth.
Stephanie Warren (D, P&Z Alternate): By way of introduction, my name is Stephanie Warren and I moved to Killingworth 23 years ago, attracted by its rural nature and the friendly and positive feel of the Killingworth community. My (adult) kids are amazed that I have lived in Killingworth for so long, as previously I have lived all over the country, related in part to my work in research and teaching in Clinical Developmental Neuropsychology, which I continue to do.
In order to give back to Killingworth, I have been serving on the Killingworth Conservation Commission (KCC) since 2001. In addition to working on conservation projects, I have also created educational projects, displayed at the Killingworth Library. These have included information on Invasive plants, Dangerous (to wildlife) Discards, and several years of essay and drawing contests for children related to invasive insect issues, local wildlife, and conservation I served as the KCC secretary for eight years and became the Chairperson for the KCC two years ago.
Based on my work in that group, as well as my interest in protecting our area while also enhancing overall growth and development, I was appointed to the CT. River Estuary Board (CREPA) and remained on that board until CREPA evolved in 2012 into the RiverCOG and the Lower Connecticut River Valley Regional Planning Committee (RPC), where I continue to be an active member. On these two commissions, I have logged in over 14 years. My focus is to ensure that Killingworth town needs are incorporated into regional planning and development projects. Part of that role, in relationship to regional needs, is to work with the other members of the RPC to identify regional needs and how those needs can be met with benefit to the 17 towns, including our Killingworth-Haddam area, in the River Cog/RPC region. In these volunteer positions, I have gained a real appreciation for the ways that our town and region are able to work together for common goals that meet both development and conservation needs.
In 2019 I was elected to the Killingworth Zoning Board of Appeals, as an Alternate member. I am now running for the Planning and Zoning Commission, as an Alternate Member.
To that role I will bring my many years of experience with town and regional planning, zoning, and development as well as general growth and development of our town and region. Working on Town commissions and serving with the members of those groups, I have learned and integrated awareness of what is important to the town and its residents.
Killingworth has proven to be a wonderful community, with all the country features that make it so beautiful and peaceful, and neighbors and friends who give meaning to “community”.
It would be a privilege to again serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission.