May 15, 2019 — First Selectman Chris Spaulding announced his bid for re-election this evening, and Selectman Samantha Nestor announced her candidacy for a full term on the Board.
The two campaigned together in 2017, when Dr. Spaulding was elected First Selectman and Ms. Nestor won a seat on the Board of Education. Ms. Nestor was appointed Selectman in December of last year, succeeding the late Brian Gordon.
"I'm eager to continue fulfilling the agenda I set when first taking office," said Dr. Spaulding. "That means working to build a strong sense of community in Weston, supporting home values, fighting for our town in Hartford, and being creative in finding sources of financing that help make Weston an even better place to live. And we don't have to change the core of what Weston is all about to do that."
"There is a pretty steep learning curve to this job," Dr. Spaulding continued. "You have to work quickly to understand what people want and how to get it. You have to build relationships and cultivate them. We have a lot of things in the pipeline, like millions in grants for sidewalks, that require constant attention to make sure they don't slip away. You have to be able to partner with other towns, as we've done with Wilton, sharing an additional megawatt of virtual net metering, which will continue to save the town money."
"Who wants to stop in the middle?" said Selectman Nestor. "It's not a six-month process. Everything we do is about finding things that work in the short term and build for the future."
In our interview, both often returned to the theme of building a sense of community. "We heard how important that is when we were knocking on doors all over town in the last campaign," said Ms. Nestor. Dr. Spaulding added: "It also comes across loud and clear in the town survey, where we got a lot of insight. Most people are happy about our town and are very positive about it. They want to feel connected. All the new amenities we're working on, and ideas like having a Town Green where people can gather and talk, are part of it."
"Then there's the nuts and bolts of governing," said the First Selectman. "We're in a time of belt tightening. In the past, things like road improvements were simply put off. Now, we have to come up with creative solutions to do what's necessary. We still need to find efficiencies wherever possible and continue to cut where it makes sense. But we also have to keep Weston vital and vibrant."
As examples of ongoing efforts, he cited the desire to find a way to provide a facility where people with home-based businesses can work from time to time, a permanent location for the Senior Center, or possibly a community center that would serve all generations.
Ms. Nestor is proud of work she has led to develop a marketing plan for the town "to increase property values by attracting people who appreciate what Weston has to offer, to share it and make people aware of our strengths as a great place to enjoy nature, work at home or succeed as an artist, and take advantage of our great schools."
Dr. Spaulding said he is proud of making town government more transparent and fostering civic engagement. "There is a great sense of volunteerism in Weston," he said. "More than ever before. Every Town committee is over-subscribed with incredibly qualified people. We're very lucky to have such a pool of knowledge and talent to draw upon."
"This is how we work," said Ms. Nestor. "People contribute. Everyone is accessible. There are no barriers for the public to reach elected officials or anyone in civil service."
Dr. Spaulding and Ms. Nestor expect a vigorous campaign. "More than anything," said Dr. Spaulding, "people want to be heard, and they also want civility. They expect it in campaigns, in meetings, and in public behavior. We will focus on issues. Politics doesn't have to be nasty, and shouldn't be."