Letter: CCA-backed candidates will maintain town’s character

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is reprinted here with permission of the author Tom Gentz. Mr. Gentz is President of the Charlestown Town Council.

Smart, competent, collaborative, dedicated to Charlestown and committed to civility and decorum in debate, the five independent candidates endorsed by Charlestown Citizens Alliance embrace the hallmarks of the organization’s platform: fiscal responsibility and a low tax rate, ethical leadership, maintenance of rural character, responsible development, preservation of community values and quality education.

They are trustworthy and have the temperament and judgment required for thoughtful deliberation of sometimes difficult issues. Newcomers Julie Carroccia and Steve Williams share a wealth of management experiences and will add to the skills of incumbents Virginia Lee, Denise Rhodes, and Bonnie Van Slyke.

The incumbents have earned your vote: Lee serves as liaison to the Wastewater and Coastal Pond Management commissions; Rhodes is the liaison to the Senior Citizens Commission and is a founding member of The Concerned Citizens of Bradford and Charlestown; and Van Slyke is the liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission. Her father, George Bliven, built Ninigret Park.

From my six-year tenure as the Charlestown Town Council president, I know management experience is needed to run the town effectively and that the policy setting group must balance what stakeholders want and the budget approved. I appreciate the diverse skills brought to the council by all members but ask that voters consider the newcomers as valued added assets to the group.

Carroccia offers the town leadership gained from her successful management of multiple national business teams. That experience involved assessing competing interests and making considered decisions. She has a passion for listening to the voices in the chorus and incorporating wants and needs into policy. She has the ability and passion to work for all of Charlestown.

Williams offers his word as his bond. A Marine, Williams can work under pressure, make hard decisions and stay organized. As a former projects control manager for large energy endeavors, he brings the expertise needed to develop budgets and control costs. He is also willing to dedicate time to work on citizens’ concerns. These skills translate to those needed on the Charlestown Town Council and will be appreciated by taxpayers and fellow councilors alike.

I ask you to vote for all five Charlestown Citizens Alliance-endorsed candidates for the Charlestown Town Council. Although the alliance encourages healthy debate among its candidates and does not have a litmus test for support, it requires those endorsed to support its platform. All five of these candidates will keep Charlestown the town we know and love.

Tom Gentz