Candidate profiles: Naugatuck burgess (Republicans)

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The Citizen’s News asked candidates running for burgess in Naugatuck in the Nov. 2 municipal election four questions. The following are the responses from Republican candidates:

Michael Bronko

Michael Bronko

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Education: Associates degree in architectural engineering

Political Experience: Mayor (1 term); Burgess (5 terms)

Occupation: Residential building contractor. Master carpenter.

Why are you running for burgess?  

“My experience serving as mayor and burgess provides historical background needed to move the borough forward in the right direction.”

What specific steps can the borough take to increase economic development and reduce the tax burden on taxpayers?  

“We have to continue making a business-friendly environment in Naugatuck to encourage new as well as current businesses to call Naugatuck their home. We have, as a board, instituted a plan to give tax incentives to businesses who plan to build in Naugatuck.”

What issue do you think does not get enough attention in Naugatuck? How would you address it? 

“As a board, the mayor and burgesses have and will address any and all issues that come before it. There is no specific issue that hasn’t received attention.”

What is your message to the voters?   

“I will continue to support economic development to increase our grand list which will lower taxes for our residents. I will also be vigilant to find ways to cut spending and be fiscally responsible.”

Jan Mizeski

Jan Mizeski

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Education: Electronic technician, DeVry Technical Institute

Political Experience: Burgess (1 term) Board of Finance (alternate, later appointed permanent) Naugatuck Republican Town Committee (2 terms)

Occupation: Semi-retired, caregiver, telecommunications, IT, retail management

Why are you running for burgess?

“I’ve have been paying close attention to local government decisions for some years. I was greatly involved with the last three budget referendums, the last on request of Mayor Pete to delay the budget process for the best financial picture in Naugatuck. Prior to those years, I took local news and event coverage to social media which I continue to this day. I also became interested in the election process and became a certified election polling moderator, a position which I still hold. Naugatuck has always been my home and its residents are second to none in wanting to help each other. I have a firm understanding of the responsibilities of the borough board and I ask for your vote to continue with our current economic expansion plans. I am well informed as to the operations of the town politically and operationally. I’d like to continue to contribute to make Naugatuck the best of the best towns in Connecticut.”

What specific steps can the borough take to increase economic development and reduce the tax burden on the taxpayer?

“The most important economic development plans are very close to downtown. The largest unused properties center around the former Uniroyal Site and Parcel B. Parcel B is going out for a development proposal and Hartford stated the train station will be moved sooner rather than later. The Port of Naugatuck, else a new industrial park, is expected to proceed in the very near future. Other vacant commercial properties have high interest, and all of this will increase our grand list which will end in a significant mill rate reduction.”

What issue do you think does not get enough attention in Naugatuck? How would you address it?

“There are some items in town being addressed that require more attention. The first is bulk waste. We have an active committee composed of town officials who meet on this regularly.    Second is the concern of the roads. They were previously ignored for a couple decades, however now with our five-year paving plan we are making headway in repairing and maintaining them. Third is the conditions at some of the playgrounds in town which ties into litter in general. We have programs in process for live cameras at many public properties. Once in place it will be much easier to identify and address the people that are causing the issues and improve the current conditions.”

What is your message to the voters?

“It’s been a very difficult couple of years for me as there were many health problems in my family on top of COVID. Being on the borough board is a job. It’s not about attending one meeting a month, it’s about being available 24/7 to address issues folks are dealing with. We are blessed to have a great mayor that has exceptional vision, which I want to further advance. We have the best folks here and I’d be honored to serve you for another term. Naugatuck Strong!”

George Mudry

George Mudry

Age: 39

Party: Republican

Education: Naugatuck High School; Porter and Chester Institute Certificate for Automotive Technology

Political Experience: None

Occupation: Armed guard for Department of Homeland Security

Why are you running for burgess?

“To be a voice for the citizens of Naugatuck who want someone who is not a career politician and believe their voice is not being heard.”

What specific steps can the borough take to increase economic development and reduce the tax burden on taxpayers?

“Better budgeting, lower taxes with responsible spending.”

What issue do you think does not get enough attention in Naugatuck? How would you address it?

“The amount of abandoned buildings that are not being torn down, and the land re-allocated for new business. In addition to that, I believe Naugatuck needs more things for children such as splash pads and better playgrounds.”

What is your message to the voters?

“I am not a politician. I am a former active duty Marine, who works a blue collar job just like most residents. We need more everyday people, who understand the struggles of being tight on money and can empathize with their voters. If you feel the same way, I am the one for you!”

Dorothy Neth-Kunin

Dorothy Neth-Kunin

Age: 61

Party: Republican

Education: Graduate degree in management and undergraduate degree in Finance; 085 Business Manager Certification; Healthcare Reform Certification;

Political Experience: Board of Education (10.5 years, 4.5 years as vice chairman, 4 years as chairman); Board of Education committees: contract negotiating committee, administrative search committee, superintendent search committee, curriculum, finance, facilities, communications and policy committees; non-union pension board; BOE/AFSCME pension board.

Occupation: Group health underwriter

Why are you running for burgess?

“To ensure that others have a voice in making decisions for the community. As a burgess, I can be a conduit for the concerns and interests of the community.”

What specific steps can the borough take to increase economic development and reduce the tax burden on taxpayers?

“I will listen to stakeholders and through collaboration, express stakeholder concerns with the mayor and Board of Burgess for the benefit of the Naugatuck residents — I will identify opportunities that focus on the continued efforts in making Naugatuck a desirable place to live. I will continue supporting an equitable and diverse community and provide support for an enriched, equitable, and engaging educational system that all families can benefit from. In turn, create a positive environment to entice a thriving and growing community (i.e. grand list) and theoretically reduce taxes. Economic development and controlled spending is the key to tax relief.”

What issue do you think does not get enough attention in Naugatuck? How would you address it?

“An issue that appears to be a common theme is a lack of accessibility to community resources and information. One way to address community needs is to listen to concerns and work towards a solution that benefits all community members.

What is your message to the voters?

“I am is blessed with sitting on the Board of Education for the past 10.5 years. My decision to run as burgess is a culmination of many things but most important was the observation of many new families in the district expressing an interest in running for a seat on the Board of Education. I can tell all that I am a hard-working, committed individual who will always do their best in support of the community but so is each and every elected member. I will continue to do my very best in support of the community. Thank you for your support.”

Robert Neth Sr.

Robert Neth Sr.

Age: 63

Party: Republican

Education: Thomaston High School; Waterbury State Technical School (2 years)

Political Experience: Burgess (1997-present, 2nd deputy mayor) Board of Finance (1989-1997, 6 years as chairman)

Occupation: Business owner

Why are you running for burgess?

“I’m running for office to make Naugatuck a better place to live and take a common sense approach to government. I’m fair, honest, consistent and an independent thinker on all issues.” One major goal in next two years is to build the grand list.”

What specific steps can the borough take to increase economic development and reduce the tax burden on taxpayers?

Specific steps to increase economic development in Naugatuck is getting the Port of Naugatuck approved. This would be a grand slam for the borough. Development of Parcel B, Parcel A/GDC building, sale of town buildings on Rubber Avenue and add to grand list, the development of the old Risdon Property, continue to work with the Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. in getting Peter Paul property developed. As a member of the NEDC, I have frontline exposure to these projects. These projects are the avenue that will reduce the mill rate and taxes that impact the residents.”

What issue do you think does not get enough attention in Naugatuck? How would you address it?

“Not sure there are issues. People like to complain about roads, taxes, decisions that are made. We are working on roads, there is a five-year plan on road work and not everyone is happy unless their road is done. When the grand list grows the mill rate will decrease and lower your taxes. Decisions made by burgesses on important issues are taken very seriously and there is a lot of discussion made to come to the right decision at that time. There are a lot of Monday morning QBs that will question us, but they have no information on why we make the decision.”

What is your message to the voters?

“My message to voters is: 30 different sub-committees that have made a difference in the borough, always working hard for the residents in the borough.”

Meghan E. Smith

Meghan E. Smith

Age: 35

Party: Republican

Education: Lincoln Technical Institute Nursing Program

Political Experience: Board of Finance

Occupation: Nurse

Why are you running for burgess?

“Being a lifelong resident of the borough, I have seen the changes Naugatuck has made, many of which have been positive. There is always room for improvement, and I want to be a part of those changes. I want to give back to the community in a more powerful way.”

What specific steps can the borough take to increase economic development and reduce the tax burden on taxpayers?

“As a town, we need to place focus on enhancing the experience of doing business in Naugatuck.  We can achieve this by working together on business expansion assistance, and business marketing and promotions. Welcoming new businesses into the borough and growing them within our community would be the ultimate goal, which we can achieve by providing assistance to businesses for community development programs and start up business support.”

What issue do you think does not get enough attention in Naugatuck? How would you address it?

“Our youth are our future. It is no secret that Naugatuck needs more programs for our children.  This would lessen the amount of mischief they get into, which results in fewer encounters with law enforcement. It is imperative for their physical and mental health to stay active and positively involved. I would be a strong advocate for ensuring our parks get a much needed face lift, and would support a new youth community center and/or sports facility.”

What is your message to the voters?

“I pride myself in my strength of advocacy. I am dedicated to serving my community. My goals are to preserve the historical beauty of our town, and maintain the community feel that Naugatuck offers. We must ensure it is a safe, affordable place to live, to own a business, and raise our families. I am family centered, Naugatuck focused, and fiscally conservative. We must hold the line on taxes and spending. I hear you, I see you, and I want to be your voice.”