Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Democrats looking to take more aldermen seats

- By Eddy Martinez

ANSONIA — While the Ansonia Democratic Party isn’t fielding a challenger to Mayor David Cassetti, who enjoys broad support in the city, the party is betting on winning alderman seats that would wrestle control away from the Republican­s in the city.

Candidates campaignin­g in several wards have different concerns they want to address but all have stated if elected, they would be involved with their local communitie­s and make decisions that would take their interests into account.

Crime is considered a serious issue in Ward 1, according to Democratic candidates Gary Farrar and Josh Feddern. They both pointed out to an uptick in shootings, property crimes including catalytic converter thefts and the lack of recreation­al activities for youth. Both have stated they would look into resources to keep young people off the streets.

“We should have programs that target other things that may be attractive to our older youth that are not necessaril­y just sports. The city can work with organizati­ons like TEAM and Valley Save Our Youth to give workshops on how to apply for college, how to write a resume, and how to prepare for being an adult. I would like to discuss options and have regular meetings with the police to address crime and violence in the ward,” Farrar said.

Feddern said that more police on the street would help alleviate those issues.

“We need to increase our police presence, especially in known areas of drug activity and violence. I've spoken to numerous residents in these areas and they are calling for this to happen to protect themselves and their families,” Feddern said.

In Ward 5, candidates Brian Perkins, vice chair of the Ansonia Democratic Party, and David Rhodes have dealt with Burns Constructi­on’s rock crushing facility which had been a long running controvers­y for neighborin­g residents who have sued to keep it from operating. However, the company was recently given the go-ahead to continue rock crushing — a blow for residents.

“We need aldermen that are there for their constituen­ts, treat them with respect, not hostility, and get their issues addressed,” Perkins said.

Ward 4 candidate Rohan Brown said that some voters are concerned about the lack of jobs in the city. This comes despite the revitaliza­tion of the downtown area.

“Throughout my campaignin­g thus far the pressing issue for Ansonia residents differ from household to household. For some residents, the issue is that there is not enough economic opportunit­y locally here in Ansonia,” Brown said.

Ward 6 candidate Jonathan Vining said a concern of residents he’s talked to is people feel “out of touch” and like they don’t have a voice.

And fellow Ward 6 candidate Chris Grizzle said that the focus on the downtown has left out much of the city.

“Continued economic developmen­t, not just downtown but throughout the entire city, is very important. This will bring in more job opportunit­ies and residents to the city, ultimately keeping taxes down while freeing up funds to better serve the public,” Grizzle said.

Democratic incumbents Bill Phipps, Joe Jeanette, Diane Stroman, and candidates Len Duffus, Steve Erlingheus­er did not respond to Hearst Connecticu­t Media.

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