Tesoro talks town issues at official announcement

Vicki Tesoro formally announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for first selectman of Trumbull at Marisa’s Ristorante Wednesday night. The restaurant packed a crowd of more than 200 eager to embrace the candidate.

“It is so gratifying to see Democrats, Republican, and Unaffiliated voters here tonight united in a common belief that working together, respecting each other,” she said, “and listening to each other is the best course for our future.”

Tesoro had confirmed to The Times two weeks ago that she planned to seek the nomination. Wednesday was her official announcement. She will be challenging First Selectman Tim Herbst, who is seeking re-election.

“It is not about me; It’s about “we,” Tesoro said. “What we will do together to create a better future for Trumbull. What we will do together to reset our priorities. What we will do together to change the tone of politics in our community.”

Tesoro had some criticism against the current administration, citing on the FOI request to a member of the Trumbull Nature and Arts Center and town lawsuits. She also mentioned the months she said she fought to have public comment put on the Town Council agenda.

“I fought that fight, and I won to give you, the people, the right to speak,” Tesoro said.

Tesoro talked to the crowd about what she would do about Trumbull’s sewers, senior tax relief and empowering citizens by changing the district-system. Tesoro also addressed taxes, public safety, education and economic development.

On the issue of sewers in Trumbull, Tesoro said she would reverse the policy of charging Trumbull citizens for water use that never enters their sewer system. She said she will appoint commissioners to the WPCA who think that kind of policy is a bad idea.

“We should be looking at all options to protect Trumbull ratepayers, including contracting with other communities that have a sewer treatment plant, or negotiating a fair agreement with Bridgeport, or entering into a regional sewer authority,” Tesoro said. “Let’s be the administration that solves our sewer challenges for the next 50 years.”

Tesoro said her administration will put on the ballot in 2016 the question of whether the town prefers a seven-district system with strong minority representation or the current four-district system. She said she believes that the Trumbull community benefits from balance and strong minority representation.

On senior tax relief, she said it should go to seniors in need, but she said they should not have to “volunteer” to get it. She also said seniors need a new place to meet with expanded programs. Building a community center that can be used by all of our town’s residents is a goal, she said.

Tesoro said she cannot predict the future of taxes but wants an administration that acknowledges that Trumbull can’t have endless tax increases and limitless spending hikes, especially for what she called “questionable budget priorities.” She said she will end superfluous spending on redundant and unnecessary positions, and she will not be giving out six-year, six-figure contracts.

On public safety, she said they should ensure that Trumbull’s police force is fully staffed, trained and equipped. She said the town needs to install a signal light at the Chip’s Fitness Edge Shopping Plaza, that all the rails to trails street crossings must be re-examined, including the crossing on Route 111, and that they should put in more sidewalks for the safety of children and adults.

‘Let’s be the administration that makes sure we are doing all we can to keep our citizens safe,” Tesoro said.

Tesoro said regarding economic development, that residential taxes should be kept as low as possible, and that Trumbull make the most of areas zoned for commercial use. She said that means attracting and retaining business that comes to Trumbull. She wants to seek creative ideas on how to turn things around in Trumbull Center, such as exploring building a River Walk.
Tesoro said the Trumbull Board of Education was criticized for spending money, but that when compared to other DRG communities, the town produces above average results at a much lower than average per pupil cost. She said she wanted to be certain that benefits reach the broadest possible spectrum of students.

“The very best students will continue to have all the great opportunities our system provides, and those most in need will continue to get all the support they deserve,” Tesoro said. “We want to be sure that every student has the opportunity to reach their potential and we are committed to doing just that.”

After her announcement, several people commented on her speech. Nancy DiNardo, Connecticut Democratic Party vice chair, attended Tesoro’s announcement.

“I thought it was a great night and to have over 200 people was phenomenal,” DiNardo said. “You feel the energy in the room. People are ready for a change, and we are going to see it this year.”

Tom Kelly, chairmain of Trumbull’s Democrats, commented on the turnout to support Tesoro.

“I am very excited to see so many people here tonight,” Kelly said. “Everyone is full of energy and the enthusiasm is great. I look forward to the campaign. We are running a positive issue campaign and hope to talk to every voter.”