Letter — Tesoro’s TPAUD work shows ability to collaborate

I support Vicki Tesoro for first selectman because she is a tireless advocate for the young people of our community. She is a founding member and current co-chair of TPAUD, and founder of the Trumbull High School Ninth Grade Underage Drinking and Drug Forum.

Vicki has done more to support prevention efforts against alcohol and drug abuse in Trumbull than anyone I know, and she will continue that same work along with her team when elected.

Regardless of political party, there is one thing we can all agree on: we do not want our children impacted by the current drug epidemic. As a Trumbull resident and parent of school-age children, prevention is one of my hot button issues. I was fortunate to find a place at the table at the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking and Drugs (TPAUD) meetings. These meetings are where I got know Vicki and the scope of her work.

If you aren’t familiar with TPAUD, it is a community-based prevention coalition awarded more than $1 million in state and federal grants since it started 11 years ago. You might be familiar with the anonymous underage drinking TipsLine and the prescription drug drop box at the Trumbull Police headquarters, which are two of the many programs supported by TPAUD.

If you haven’t attended a meeting, it’s an excellent opportunity to see stakeholders from many agencies and town departments as they come together, with one goal: keeping our youth safe, drug and alcohol-free and alive.

Vicki came up with the idea for the Ninth Grade Underage Drinking and Drug Forum when her daughter started high school. She saw a need for a program, and started one. Twelve years later, it is as relevant now as when it started.

The educational program attended by ninth graders and their parents features speakers including Emergency Room physicians, attorneys, police officers and recovering alcoholics and addicts. It’s simultaneously shocking, sad and inspiring. The hope is that by arming parents with information and support for dealing with drinking and drug use by our children, we can reduce the possibility of more devastation in Trumbull.

Vicki and her team are committed to reducing the impact of substance abuse and addiction in our community, and will not seek any additional funding from the town for these programs.

Vicki’s experience in local government, commitment to the youth of our community, and ability to collaborate, make her the best choice as first selectman.

Please join me in voting for Vicki Tesoro on November 7.