Wednesday, December 7, 2022
HomeUncategorized2021 Haddam Candidates: Board of Selectmen

2021 Haddam Candidates: Board of Selectmen

We reached out 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 your town 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?

Candidates for First Selectman

Bob McGarry (R):  I’ve been honored to serve as your First Selectman for the last two years. And what a two years it has been! Taking a new job is always challenging; there’s so much to learn. And if that wasn’t enough, the pandemic made everything more exciting.

Most of you know I’m a retired Coast Guard Commander and have been a leader delivering government services my entire adult life. I’ve worked at the federal, state and local government levels. My wife Vivienne and I live in Haddam Neck. We own Cold Goats Farm, raising sheep and Angora goats. Vivienne has taken over most of the day-to-day farm operations to allow me the time I need to be First Selectman.

I believe in giving back to the community. I’ve been a member of the Haddam Neck Fire Department for 24 years and served as its Chief for 19 years. I’m one of the Haddam Neck Fair Directors, served on the Board of Finance for three years and volunteered with the East Hampton Ambulance Association.

I’m seeking a second term because I have the depth and breadth of experience needed to address the issues we face. I’m proud of what has been accomplished during my first term but there’s still more I’d like to get done.

The revitalization of Higganum Center – I said this was a critical issue when I ran for office two years ago. It still is and will likely remain one for years to come. We’ve made considerable progress. We developed an innovative concept plan for the community septic system on the HES grounds to serve Higganum Center. The plan was approved by the state agencies that regulate septic systems – DEEP and the Department of Public Health (DPH). The septic system falls under the much less stringent DPH regulations and we received a $128,000 grant from DPH to design the system. We just selected the engineering firm, Jacobson and Associates, to do the design. I expect we’ll have the design by the end of the year. We have a purchase and sale agreement with the Rossi Lumber Co for their property. The environmental analysis of the property is wrapping up and the Rossi is doing the remediation. There is a local business interested in purchasing approximately two acres of the property along Saybrook Road for retail development. We used a state grant to fund an environmental analysis of the Scovil Hoe property that is currently owned by the state. We’ve applied for a $1.8 million clean-up grant from the state which we’re likely to get. We have interest from a successful developer to partner with us. (A town meeting is required to approve the purchase of either property when we get to that point.) The Higganum Cove is going to be a key piece to draw people to the center. We’ve spent a lot of time and money to clear out brush and improve access to it.

Our infrastructure– In the last two years we’ve made significant improvements to our infrastructure but there’s still more to do. I’ve already talked about the community septic at HES. We’ve made impressive progress with our roads. We’ve done major drainage work on and paved eight miles of roads, chip sealed four miles, and paved four gravel roads (two miles). Paving the gravel roads has the bonus of getting us more funding from the state each year for road maintenance. Design work is completed for the work on Candlewood Hill Road by the state garage and work should start on that next year. The Dublin Hill bridge was completed and the Tylerville water project is essentially complete with only one residence and one business left to connect. We received state funding and are proceeding with the repair of the weakened culvert on Beaver Meadow Road. The design is done for the Bridge Road sidewalks, we have the easements we need from the residences and businesses and will put the project out to bid soon for construction next year. The same is true for the Haddam Center sidewalks on Saybrook Road.

Viv and I love Haddam. We find its natural beauty very calming in our hectic lives and something we need to protect. It was a great place to raise our children in large part due to the quality of the schools and the recreational opportunities. We enjoy family friendly events like the Haddam Neck Fair and River Days and enjoy seeing the community come together to make those events happen.

Two years ago, I told you my top priority was to reduce the divisiveness we were experiencing. One of the first things I did was contact the Haddam Bulletin and open communications with them. That was the first of many steps. My fellow selectmen, Sean and Kate, deserve credit as well for their efforts. I knew we succeeded when someone told me “Town government is boring now. There’s no drama; you’re just quietly getting things done.” I hope you agree we’ve made progress in this and in many areas. Respectfully, I ask for your vote.

Sean Donlan (D):  I am married to Kristin K. Donlan and have three children: Emma 21, Andrew 19 and Kate 15.  I own my own law firm with an office in Old Saybrook.  I have a strong belief in serving my community and have followed through with that belief as listed below:

Haddam Board of Selectman 2007- 2009, 2011-2013, 2013-2015 and 2015 to 2017; Haddam Democratic Town Committee 2002 to present; Chairperson of the Haddam Democratic Town Committee 2010 to 2016; Vice Chairperson of Haddam Democratic Town Committee 2007 to 2010;  Elected and served on the Haddam Board of Finance 2005-2007; Served on Haddam Economic Development Commission 2002-2005;   Served as Chairman of the Haddam Commission on Wages and Salaries of Elected Officials 2006; Served on Haddam Charter Revision Commission 2004. Massachusetts National Guard from 1996 until 2000; Knights of Columbus 2007 to present – Received Honor of Fourth Degree in the Knights of Columbus in 2013;  Haddam Lions’ Club 2002 to present; Higganum Sportsmen’s Club 2004 to 2013; Middlesex County and Connecticut Bar Associations 1998-present; Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association; Board of Director Haddam Little League 2010-2015; H-K Recreational CAT USA swim President 2010-2012; Haddam Little League Coach 2005-2017;  H-K Recreation Girl’s and Boy’s Basketball Coach 2005-2017;  2009-2013; H-K Recreation Soccer Coach 2005-2017;  H-K Travel Girl’s and Boy’s Basketball Coach 2014-present.

The First Selectman is the most important elected position in our Town’s government because the First Selectman sets the agenda and tone for moving Haddam forward.  In order to achieve the collective goals that all us residents have for Haddam in the near and distant future the First Selectman must be a proactive forward-thinking leader that finds or makes a way to get it done.  Without aggressive action the First Selectman is relegated to a position of reacting and defending and we as residents lose control of our future and are at the whim of outsider developing our town for their best interest.   I have spent my entire career advocating and protecting my clients and ask for your vote to continue to do the same for all of us in Haddam.

The financial burden onto the homeowner taxpayer has been a major issue in Haddam and as the Town and Educational budgets continue to grow this issue is becoming more important. We must identify secluded low impact areas in town to create an industrial area to attract businesses shifting the tax burden away from homeowner. As First Selectman I will not continue to look at the same obvious locations in Haddam, instead will find potential locations by being creative, working with the State officials and making this a reality.  The quality of life in Haddam is not befitting the quality of our residents.  When you ask yourself ‘what do I get for our taxes?’ you should be able to easily answer that question.  Haddam does not provide nearly enough programs, fields, parks or activity options instead relying on the regional school system and Killingworth for the same which puts the existence of these options out of our control.  The center of Haddam is potentially going through some major changes and making the correct decisions is vital as these decisions will impact the future of Haddam center for decades.  As First Selectman this will be a priority and I will advocate that the center of Haddam resembles what all of us as residents want and not leave it to a developer to decide.

I am incredibly happy my wife and I chose Haddam to raise our family.  The people in Haddam are fantastic, such an incredibly talented, loyal and caring community that is just waiting for an opportunity to come together make their own contribution.  Haddam’s location and natural beauty is extraordinary.  We can walk out our doors and enjoy an environment and space that others drive hours to enjoy.

This is an important election as Haddam must take control of our future.  I ask for your vote and your confidence to lead and advocate for you and to work with you to keep Haddam such an amazing place to live for another lifetime of residents.  Thank you for your consideration.

Candidates for Selectman:

Sean Moriarty (D):  I have been a Higganum resident for over 30 years. I am married to Tanya Buzzi Moriarty and have grown children, Erin and Christopher, both educated in the H-K school system., I have served as a basketball coach for the Haddam Recreation Department and referee for its soccer league. I also coached boys and girls Haddam-Killingworth Travel Basketball teams.

I began public service when I joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1985 as a Military Policeman. I served in the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War in 1990.  I was hired at the Middletown Police Department in 1987 and rose through the ranks from Patrolman, Sergeant and Lieutenant. I was promoted to Captain in 2011. I retired from the. Middletown Police Department in 2018 and now work in the Safety and Security Department at the East Lyme school system.

I have been involved in Haddam town government since 2007.  I have served on the committee that drafted the Haddam Town Code of Ethics, the Infrastructure Committee, and the Board of Finance. I am currently serving as a member of the Board of Selectman. I am proud to have worked collaboratively for the past two years in guiding our town and helping move much stalled projects forward. I will continue to work in this manner to make Haddam an even better place to live.

I care deeply about Haddam and its future. I have served on the Board of Selectmen since 2019. I would like to continue to represent the citizens of Haddam on the important matters facing our town.

The most pressing issue in Haddam, as in many towns, is promoting economic growth that is in line with the character of the town. We have begun to address this issue as a Board of Selectmen by advancing the wastewater treatment plan for Higganum center, realistically looking at the Scovil Hoe property as true economic generator and attempting to find tenants for the Haddam Elementary School.  I look forward to seeing these projects through to their conclusion.

Haddam has been recently named as one of “15 best small New England towns you need to visit ASAP” by Country Living. We have the opportunity to make Haddam a ecotourism destination and as a selectman I look forward to working with the very dedicated group of people making this happen.

I truly love the character of Haddam. It retains its New England small town feel while looking forward to the future. The beautiful natural surroundings and history make Haddam a very special place. The people of Haddam are well informed and involved in the issues that face the town. This type of passion and involvement is very valuable to me on the Board of Selectmen. Without input we and I cannot be sure that I am representing the true wishes of the people of Haddam.

I just want to say that I truly appreciate the opportunity to be your voice on the Board of Selectmen. I have learned so much in the past two years and I look forward to being a part of Haddam’s very bright future.

Kate Anderson (R):  Hi, everyone! My name is Kate Anderson, your Republican candidate for re-election to the Board of Selectmen. Over the last two years, I have thoroughly enjoyed working as selectwoman and would be grateful for the opportunity to continue serving the town. I have truly discovered a new passion working on this board. Every day, I learn something new about Haddam’s history, the townspeople – and myself!

A lifelong Higganum resident, I’ve served on a number of town committees, including chairing the Economic Development Commission, and help plan events like the farmers’ market and River Days. I’ve spent the last decade of my professional career working in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. I’m celebrating my fifth year with Gilbane Building Company where I help win new projects valued at up to $200 million across America for public and private clients. Working for one of the largest construction managers in the U.S., I have the advantage of seeing the latest trends, forecasts, new technology, funding opportunities, and management systems that can help guide my decisions for the town.

Two years have really flown by, and I’m looking forward to continuing working on the many exciting and potentially challenging projects spanning Haddam. Coming up in Tylerville (as of the time this is published) will be the addition of sidewalks and two new rotaries, the Swing Bridge renovation, and new apartments on Saybrook Road. In Higganum center, work is continuing as we design a community septic system, clean up Scovil Hoe, find a use for the former HES, and assess the Rossi property for possible purchase (subject to a town meeting). Higganum Cove and the connecting Swan Hill Trails also have a naturally strong potential to be an anchor in town. We have a valuable opportunity to re-elect a cohesive board that is already up to speed on upcoming and ongoing projects, and I’m confident our current board can continue successfully overseeing these projects along with any new ones.

Unfortunately, a myriad of challenges related to Covid will continue to have effects for a while, many beyond our control. The reality is, we’ve seen some projects get delayed or even canceled, and a few businesses closed. The good news is, we’re making positive progress on a number of important initiatives as I noted earlier. It will be more important than ever to support our local businesses while keeping these new projects moving along.

Some of the broader areas that continue to challenge us are rising costs and communications. While many costs associated with a town’s operating budget are simply out of our control (insurance, gas/electricity prices), we continue to work incredibly hard to find alternative sources of revenue to fund larger projects. We’ve secured grants/funding for the community septic design; Beaver Meadow Road culvert repair; Haddam and Tylerville sidewalks; and Scovil Hoe environmental assessment with a pending grant for the environmental clean-up. Altogether, this accounts for over $4 million in outside funding for these important projects. I should also mention some of these projects have the potential to bring in significant tax revenue when complete.

As far as communication, we have a diverse, multi-generational population who prefer communication through a variety of formats, so it can be tricky making sure we’re reaching everyone with news and updates. The launch of the HK Everbridge emergency management alert system, First Selectman McGarry’s monthly updates in HK Now and Haddam Bulletin, and regular reports from the Board of Education at monthly Board of Selectmen meetings are just a couple ways we’re working to increase communication between the town, residents, and various boards.

(key thing you love about this town) The answer really is: the people. New and old residents alike consistently comment on the natural camaraderie we have in town. I’ve heard about cookies on newcomers’ doorsteps, dinners for families in need, reuniting lost pets, and many other “feel good” stories. When a call for help goes out, we respond.

Part of me can’t believe that we’re already approaching another election season! I said last election that despite our different opinions, I know we all share one common goal – to do what we think is best for our town – and I strongly believe that First Selectman Bob McGarry, Selectman Sean Moriarty, and I have demonstrated our sincere commitment to this goal. I admire the leadership we’ve upheld, especially considering all we have been through together in this last year, and hope you’ll consider re-electing the Board of Selectmen on November 2.

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