Editor’s note: The Easton Courier asked the two selectman candidates to answer two questions in 500 words or fewer per question. The responses from Republican incumbent Selectman Kristi Sogofsky follow below.
What are the top challenges facing Easton and how will you address them?
Local control is the basis on which our community thrives. It means that we, the people who live in this town, have a say in the decisions that shape our lives. Our needs and values are best understood and addressed right here at home. I understand and value that, and pledge to work to ensure our town’s future remains in our hands and not in the hands of lawmakers and leaders on the state level.
I do not consider myself an alarmist, but right now Easton is in a precarious situation. We face pressure on our zoning, which risks permanently changing the character of our town and the sensitive watershed that provides clean drinking water to much of Fairfield County and Greater Bridgeport. We need to be vigilant to ensure that the unique nature of our town remains.
Easton needs leaders dedicated to preservation. Not just in words but in actions. Easton voters have repeatedly used their voice and their vote to preserve our town land and water resources. Those voices and votes must drive town decisions on all levels. They cannot be questioned or undermined in pursuit of personal or party agendas.
As selectman, I called for town leadership to take a much more proactive stance on issues that may not fall under our jurisdiction but definitely impact the community and residents. We need to carefully monitor actions and not wait for others to draw attention to important matters such as potential contamination or zoning violations.
I look forward to working with Wendy Bowditch to establish a grant application function within Town Hall that really works for taxpayers. Let’s find, and put to use, state funds for initiatives that align with our town’s priorities. To be successful at that, we need partners on the state level who advocate on behalf of our town. I was disappointed that Democratic State Representative Anne Hughes voted in favor of fair share affordable housing proposals in the last legislative session. Fair share mandates would create incredible challenges for our community in terms of infrastructure and protection of the watershed. Affordable housing is an issue that needs to be addressed locally so that we can develop a strategy that works within Easton.
Communication from our town leaders is key, but only when the information being relayed is factual. While we receive countless updates on some issues, other issues are barely mentioned and only addressed when brought up during a public meeting. We cannot be selective, or dismissive, of the difficult issues or questions. My commitment is to increase the quality of communication coming from our Town Hall, not just the quantity.
Community involvement is also essential to our success. Let us nurture the spirit of unity and cooperation, making our town even stronger. When we come together, we can achieve remarkable things. I look forward to working with Wendy Bowditch, and every resident of this wonderful community, to put Easton first.
Why should voters vote for you?
The heart of any small town is its sense of community. We know our neighbors’ names. We rally together in times of need. We celebrate each other’s successes. I am seeking re-election to a third term on the Board of Selectmen so I can continue to be your ally in making our community stronger as a whole.
Municipal elections are profoundly important to our town. This is where we elect the people who set the priorities for our community, the people who make the decisions that determine our tax rate, and the people who impact the direction of our schools. There is something special about the power of local governance.
I hope those voting in our municipal election this November realize that Easton could be doing much better. We have seen cultural and political forces divide our town, decorum at public meetings diminish, and ongoing matters go months without any action. In the past several years, I have been tested in my role as a lack of transparency and proactive communication have prevented us from addressing problems facing residents.
We cannot continue to act in our silos. We must unite for the shared common good of Easton and its future.
Together with Wendy Bowditch, myself, and our experienced team — Town Treasurer Christine Calvert, Town Clerk Debbie Szegedi and Tax Collector Krista Kot — we will always put Easton first.
Easton deserves leaders with experience, not well-meaning newcomers who bring no working knowledge to their roles. Our team has 75 years of collective experience in Town Hall and across Easton boards and organizations as well as a vast array of involvement in a multitude of community groups and organizations. Experience and community involvement matter.
I pride myself on being able to work with anyone, at any time, for the betterment of the Easton community. It is a duty and responsibility I take very seriously.