Candidate profiles: Prospect Town Council Democrats

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Election-Icon-2013The Citizen’s News asked candidates running for office four questions. The following are their responses.

Eileen Cranney

Age: 59

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Director of Business Services, Laerdal Medical

Past political posts:               

Why are you running for Town Council?

Eileen Cranney
Eileen Cranney

“Because I care about shaping the future of Prospect and sustaining the quality of life.” 

What, if anything, do you feel needs to be improved about town government and how will you fix it? 

“We need to be proactive in soliciting the right kind of new and small business growth to defer the ever increasing tax burden.”

How will you balance the needs of town government with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?

“As in all things the laws of supply and demand will win. The right offering to the right community needs will take root and grow. We need to embrace the need for a new tax base other than the citizens.”

What will be your goals and priorities if elected? 

“Solicit small business for extending the tax base, sidewalks and greater involvement of the next generation in the political process.”

Carla M. Perugini-Erickson
Carla M. Perugini-Erickson

Carla M. Perugini-Erickson

Age:

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Attorney, Associate Faculty at Post University, co-owner Jesse Camille’s Restaurant

Past political posts: Chair, Water Pollution Control Authority      

Why are you running for Town Council?

“I am running for Town Council because there needs to be a democratic voice in town decisions, and it supports the governing principles upon which our nation is built — a system of checks and balances, which ensures that protocol is followed, especially when there is a single-party majority and long-serving elected officials.”

What, if anything, do you feel needs to be improved about town government and how will you fix it?

“By nature, I am an advocate, and I will advocate for greater community participation, smart-town growth and development with community-minded infrastructure, and I will recommend incentives to solicit and maintain local businesses. With a background in elder law, I will also advocate for greater assistance for our elderly community to help implement programs and assistance to mitigate their expenses.”

How will you balance the needs of town government with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?

“It is important to review the budget to implement growth of tax base and trim excess expenses. Today’s economic demands place extraordinary burdens on us, which causes stress affecting our families and destroying our communities. I would also seek to tap into more federal and grant funding to support town initiatives, and I would negotiate with vendors for best price for town-supported services.”

What will be your goals and priorities if elected?

“Prospect is growing, and we cannot deny it, so it is best to plan for smart growth that will best serve our interests, ease our tax burdens, and still foster a sense of community, rather than be developed to serve developer’s interests. Another priority would be to seek funding and grants for the creation of a consistent, afterschool program for our children and high schoolers. The school day ends for many of our children as early as 2:30 p.m., and modern life with its increasing economic burdens demand both parents work out of the home for more than eight hours a day, which leaves our youth without guidance, supervision and support for several hours after school. This is a problem because unoccupied and bored children often seek solace in risky behavior, media or drugs. We need to keep them involved and create programs where they can work and volunteer for the community and learn how to create sustainable, self-supportive living environments.    There are several state and charitable organizations offering grants for development these programs, and we need to tap into them.”

Patricia Sullivan Geary
Patricia Sullivan Geary

Patricia Sullivan Geary

Age: 68

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Teacher

Past political posts:  Town Council (14 terms); Board of Recreation (two terms)

Why are you running for Town Council?

“To be elected to serve in Prospect’s government is a privilege. I am running for a position on the Town Council because I believe that I can honestly represent the citizens of Prospect. I have lived here for over 40 years, have raised my children here, and now have grandchildren who are growing up here. I am truly vested in this town. My experience and knowledge allow me to make informed decisions based what I believe the citizens of this town want. I hope that the voters will let me continue to represent them.”

What, if anything, do you feel needs to be improved about town government and how will you fix it?  

“There are several things in Prospect that I would like to see improved. I believe that we need to be more accessible and accommodating to our citizens. While we do have a website, it is not being kept current with regard to events, agendas and minutes of meetings. This should be a place where citizens can go for the most up to date information about the town and its happenings. This service needs to be improved. I also think that the operating hours of Town Hall need to be changed to better accommodate our working citizens. I’d like to see the hours extended to include one evening a week and Saturday mornings.”

How will you balance the needs of town government with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?

“Balancing the needs of the town with the needs of the taxpayer is always the highest priority in preparing the town budget. Formulating a municipal budget is similar to preparing our own household budgets. We first address the necessities: utilities, police, public works, education and senior services, and then we consider our “wants,” including budget requests from individual departments. The revenue necessary to support the bottom line is of utmost importance. As it is with our home budgets, we can’t always afford everything we would like to have. Cuts are made to lower the bottom line to a level we consider feasible. We are, after all, Prospect taxpayers too, and keeping the mill rate low is important to us also.”

What will be your goals and priorities if elected?

“If re-elected, my priorities will be to encourage public input and to increase communication between elected officials and the citizens of Prospect. I would urge the Economic Development Commission to assume a much more active role in encouraging businesses to locate in Prospect, and to promote a more business-friendly atmosphere.  As a Town Council member, I will continue to ask questions, to research to get facts, and to vote objectively on each issue, based on its own merit.”

Carl L. Graveline
Carl L. Graveline

Carl L. Graveline

Age: 54

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Real Estate Appraiser/Investor

Past Political Posts: Town Council (1991-1993, 2007-present); Zoning Board of Appeals (1990-1991, 1997–2007); Justice of the Peace (12 years)

Why are you running for Town Council?

“A native of Prospect, I am seeking re-election to the Town Council where I additionally serve on the Pension and Benefits Subcommittee. We are in changing times, and we need to stay focused on what is fair and best for the town, our employees and the services we provide our citizens.”

What, if anything, do you feel needs to be improved about town government and how will you fix it?

“Our town government must consistently strive to have an open public policy. The decisions of the Town Council must be transparent and inclusive of all parties. I continually strive to be well informed of all aspects of our decision making.”

How will you balance the needs of town government with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?

“In our budget, we balance the needs of taxpayers by providing the best possible quality and service at the least cost. Our budget is tight, yet we provide the best services, and the best police and fire protection possible. I represent each of the citizens of our town, all ages, and I continually strive to balance the needs of us all.”

What will be your goals and priorities if elected?

“My goal if re-elected, is to provide the needs of our citizens with a tight, balanced budget. I keep an open mind in preserving the rights of each individual and consistently keep the best interest of our town in the forefront of our decisions. I represent a fair and balanced government. I will not substitute quality, yet I will ensure all of our citizens live in a safe, happy and healthy environment known as ‘The Best Small Town in Connecticut.’”

Theresa Cocchiola Graveline
Theresa Cocchiola Graveline

Theresa Cocchiola Graveline

Age:  54

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Finance manager

Past political posts: Town Council (1993-present)

Why are you running for Town Council?

“My husband and I grew up in Prospect and returned here to raise our family because it is a town where our family roots run deep and strong values along with a community spirit are cherished. I believe in small town government and am honored to serve by having a voice in its process. I believe I bring to the council table strong critical thinking skills, integrity and a sense of fairness and responsibility that guides my actions and votes.”

What, if anything, do you feel needs to be improved about town government and how will you fix it?

“There is always room for improvement. I’m an advocate for bringing Prospect into the 21st century by improving access to information and government operations via our town website and extended hours of operation at Town Hall, preserving open space, and encouraging smart growth and development of our commercial and industrial base to lessen the tax burden on homeowners. We very much need to resurrect and revitalize the Economic Development Commission.”

How will you balance the needs of town government with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?

“Strategic planning and budgeting are essential. When evaluating the budget, my focus is on holding down or cutting costs that we can control, while providing services that our townspeople require and desire. The reality is that a significant portion of our town budget contains fixed costs. Always forefront in my mind when I cast my vote or make budget recommendations at the council table is making decisions that safeguard the finances and enhance life for all the citizens of Prospect. I believe we need to improve the budget with respect to its ability to be understood and influenced by our citizens.”

What will be your goals and priorities if elected? 

“My top priority as a council person has always been, and will continue to be, to evaluate every issue with respect to its financial and cultural impact on our town. I also believe we must address the need for affordable housing for our elders so they don’t have to leave town when they ‘downsize.’  In addition, we need to develop ways to encourage the ‘20- and 30-something’ generation to remain or relocate here. I have some creative ideas to address these needs, which I intend to pursue.