Three to vie for single seat
WILTON — Three newcomers to the town’s political scene will be vying for the open seat on the Select Board this year: Douglas Whitney, Eric Parsons and Sandra Fischer.
In an interview Monday, Whitney said this would be his first foray into town politics, having never been on any town boards or committees. But he still has plenty to offer, he said. Whitney has spent 20 years as an Emergency Medical Technician, most of that working for the town of Wilton, although he also spent a short time on the Milford ambulance crew. Over that period, he gained leadership skills and a sense of the internal organization of departments.
“I thought some of those skills would be beneficial,” he said. When he discovered that the current Select Board Chair, Dan Donovan, would not be seeking re-election this year, he decided to put his hat in the ring.
His experience as an EMT has informed one issue that he will be championing if he is elected as a member of the board, said Whitney — building up the town’s emergency response and establishing a plan for temporary local shelters in emergencies. In the past, the town has been reliant on organizations such as the American Red Cross during emergency situations.
Although he’s aware that Wilton is a growing population, he would also be in favor of managing the town in a way that keeps the rural and historic nature of the town, he said.
Eric Parsons said he also has a dearth of political experience, but decided to run this year after speaking with Select Board member Bill Condra about some of his ideas for the town. Parsons first became interested in becoming involved in the town last year, when the Select Board declined to accept a gift of the The Sacred Heart Church. The Select Board was concerned with some of the restrictions that would come with the gift and cost of renovating the building. Parsons said he was disappointed that the town had not taken advantage of the opportunity, as he could see several uses for the building, including as a potential emergency shelter for the town.
Parsons said he would like to look at ways to ease the tax burden on the elderly population in town, including looking into a school tax break or exemption for those over the age of 65 who do not have any children. He said he would also like to see the sidewalks, particularly those around the school plowed and maintained, as well as further work done on town backroads, including paving some of the sections which are currently dirt. Parson said he would also like to see economic development in Wilton, especially in the area of Route 101.
“Maybe I can make a difference, maybe I can’t. But I’ve always believed that if you get in there and have the right attitude and just talk to people, things can change,” said Parsons.
Sandra Fischer, the third candidate for Select Board, also said she didn’t have any experience on town boards. However, after living in Wilton for 16 years, she has the time to devote to a town board, Fischer said Monday, and decided to go for the empty seat.
Fischer, like Parson, said one of her goals as a Select Board member would be to see the town prosper economically. “I am hoping to be able to get some strong economic growth for Wilton,” she said. “I would like to grow Wilton and help to connect the younger and older generations and explore the experiences everyone has to offer.”
A candidates night will be held on March 4 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room, with a snow date of March 6.