Farmington Republican Candidates Q&A

Responses have been edited for length and grammar.

District 2: Jeff Apuzzo, 55

Married to Thalia

Children: 18-year-old twin daughters Victoria and Cassandra

Occupation: Attorney

Education: University of Connecticut - Bachelor’s degree, economics Western New England University School of Law - Juris Doctor

Experience:Town council (2014-2016)Chairman, Farmington Pension Commission(2014-2016)Chairman, Economic Development Commission (2004-2014)Past member, Charter Revision Commissions Alternate, Town Plan and Zoning Commission


Please briefly explain why you are seeking candidacy for the Farmington Town Council.For the past several years, I have watched our town raise taxes at a rate higher than other towns in the Farmington Valley. Our bonding debt is at an all time high. Spending increases have far exceeded the rate of inflation. The toughest times for Farmington are just around the corner as the state is drastically cutting aid to municipalities. We need to maintain our town services and our excellent school systems but when we spend money we need to spend it wisely.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot?Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case in our town. If Republicans in Farmington want a town council that can deal with the state budget cuts in a way other than simply passing it along in the form of a municipal tax increase, they need to elect true Republicans to the town council. If elected, I along with the other three other candidates endorsed by Responsible Farmington will find savings in our $102 million dollar budget. We will say no to special interests groups and we will demand that those in government spending taxpayer dollars do so efficiently and in a way that provides the maximum benefit to all residents of the town.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Fiscal responsibility and accountability. We need representation on the town council that will not be afraid to stand up to bad ideas and proposals from special interest groups. Farmington deserves better.

2. Immediate planning for reductions in state aid. We can’t continue to wait for the inevitable cuts to develop a plan. We need to do it now. Some towns have actually made cuts recognizing that there will definitely be a reduction in state aid. Other towns have developed contingency plans. We need to start planning for what we know is coming.

3. Creation of a standing building commission. Farmington must end the practice of creating ad hoc building committees. Instead, Farmington must establish a standing building commission comprising appointed citizen volunteers, some of whom have expertise in the building and construction trades. A standing or ongoing commission will oversee all maintenance and repair projects for all of the town’s infrastructure on an ongoing basis, not just schools. If a need exists, this commission can use its expertise to propose reasonable solutions. Most importantly, a standing commission will reduce the chances of special interest groups hijacking the process for their own political or social gain.

District 1: Justin Bernier, 42

Married to Jennie

Children: Three daughters and one son, ages 7, 5, 3, and 9-months.

Occupation: Financial Advisor and portfolio manager

Education:Fordham University - Bachelor’s degreeGeorgetown University - Master’s degree, international relationsUniversity of Maryland - Master’s degree, international security and economic policy

Experience: Farmington High School Building CommitteeFarmington Veterans Memorial CommitteePast Commander, Farmington Veterans of Foreign WarsCommissioner, State Compensation Committee for Elected State Officers and General Assembly Members Former Executive Director, Administration of Gov. M. Jodi RellFormer Senior Legislative Assistant, U.S. House of Representatives


Please briefly explain why you are seeking candidacy for the Farmington Town Council.I’m running for office because getting the right answer to the Farmington High School question will require change on the town council.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot?Like many others who have served in the armed forces, I understand that teamwork is the best way to achieve a common objective. This has been my approach to work as a military officer deployed to Afghanistan in support of joint intelligence operations, an official in Gov. Jodi Rell’s administration and a financial advisor at a Fortune 500 company developing financial plans.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Reform the building committee process and provide a responsible solution for FHS. The current FHS building committee failed to provide a reasonable option for the voters in part because it did not look at the big picture. The next town council should replace the building committee with a standing building commission that will develop a comprehensive, long-term plan to meet all of Farmington’s infrastructure needs in an affordable way.

2. Protect and promote Farmington interests. The Farmington town council should focus on maintaining a great school system, mitigating traffic problems and avoiding tax increases that can drive retirees and businesses away. The state of Connecticut’s financial mess has politicians in Hartford eyeballing the suburbs for more resources. Government works best at the local level, so I will work with my colleagues to ensure that Farmington is not forced into any regionalization schemes that reduce local control of our school system and property taxes.

3. Bring more transparency and accountability at town hall. Farmington politics have become less transparent and accountable in recent years, with a small group of insiders controlling the process, sometimes with poor results. My running mates … and I are committed to more openness at town hall and an end to the intimidation tactics being used against those with dissenting views.

District 2: Paul A. Cianci, 31

Married to Angela

Children: 18-month-old son

Occupation: Structural Engineer

Education:Villanova University - Bachelor’s degree, civil engineering Villanova University – Master’s degree, civil engineering

Experience:Branford Standing Building Commission Professional organizations including: American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the American Concrete Institute (ACI)Past member, Farmington Exchange Club


Please briefly explain why you are seeking candidacy for the Farmington Town Council.I'm seeking the town council for one simply reason - to make Farmington a better place to live. This means maintaining an excellent school system while keeping a competitively low tax base for our residents. We need responsible leadership in this town that will draft reasonable budgets and approve efficient construction projects.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot? My background as a structural engineer and small business owner gives me unique experience to not only understand construction designs, but to also ask the right questions to ensure that town projects are being run and coordinated in the most efficient manner possible.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Create a standing building commission. Farmington's building committee process is outdated. Many towns in Connecticut have adopted a standing building commission model to oversee the entire town's construction projects, with input from individual building committee members.

2. Farmington High School. FHS needs upgrades and improvements. There's widespread support for that. However, it has to be done in a competitive environment where the standing building commission and town council control the process in a responsible way.

3. Take fiscal precautions for impacts from potential state cuts. It's no secret years of mismanaged budgets in Hartford have put [state leaders] in a precarious position when it comes to municipal aid. Simply put, we have to start proceeding with a contingency plan regarding possible state cuts to Farmington. This is a critical time for our town, and in order to keep ourselves in strong financial shape, we will have to think differently than we have the past few years.

District 1: Jon Landry, 42

Married to Erika

Children: Two daughters, Alexis and Olivia

Occupation: Director of I.T., The Simon Konover Company

Experience:Town Council (2013-Present)Board of Education (2009-2013)Zoning Board of Appeals (2007-2009)Past President, Farmington Exchange Club Past Director, Farmington Rotary Club Chamber of Commerce Justice of the Peace


Please briefly explain why you are seeking candidacy for the Farmington Town Council.I’ve been an elected representative for the past 10 years and feel that I have developed a real understanding of what is on the minds of our residents over the last decade. I am a very active volunteer in the community. Because of this, I have been very accessible and able to speak with and listen to what matters to people every day.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot?I feel that our Responsible Farmington team is a strong group of individuals who have a true pulse on the community. The four of us would like to represent the town of Farmington as a unified group that is willing to listen to the will of the people and do the best that we can to deliver on that will. We are proud of our long term vision of a standing building commission and responsible budgeting going forward. We will fight hard to represent the taxpayers in Farmington.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Fiscally responsible. With the threat of the state of Connecticut trying to pass the tax and pension burden on to towns like Farmington, we need a team that is willing to stand up for Farmington’s interest and is willing to only put forward responsible solutions that will not saddle our town with debt for decades to come.

2. In touch with the community and transparency. I think the community deserves to better understand the decisions that are being made at town hall. We will work hard to make sure that the entire community of Farmington has a say in projects going forward, and that they are not surprised at the last minute. More importantly, we will listen to and understand the will of the residents.

3. Standing building commission. I am fully committed to looking into the option of a standing building commission to address all of the long term infrastructure needs for Farmington including all buildings, roads, parks and other infrastructure.

District 1: Peter Mastrobattista, 55

Married to Laura

Children: Emma, 21, Lily, 15

Occupation: Self employed, The Bass Plating Company.

Education: Northeastern University.

Experience:Town councilAlternate, town plan and zoning commissionFire Service Board25-year member, Farmington Fire Department

Contact: 860-716-2601

Please briefly explain why you are seeking candidacy for the Farmington Town Council.No answer.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot?As a lifelong resident of Farmington and as a longtime volunteer in town [with the volunteer fire department], I’m acutely aware of citizen’s needs and expectations. Farmington derives nearly 30 percent of its revenue from business and commercial enterprises. As a business owner, I appreciate the things that attract employers to Farmington. Farmington has consistent and collaborative leadership for decades. Farmington’s budget is complex and multi-faceted. The council is charged with creating enduring policy that ensures the continuity of services. I believe that my knowledge and experience helps me to create good long-term policy for Farmington and its residents.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Consistent budgeting to support strong town services. Farmington sets its priorities and goals from a strategic plan that was established nearly 15 years ago. Farmington residents expect its leaders to focus on providing excellent town services. As a lifelong resident and beneficiary of these services, I realize the need for Farmington to independently support its services without an expectation that the state will offer aid in any form.

2. Strong public safety services. A strategic survey of town residents discovered that residents prioritize and value the police and fire services in the town of Farmington. I believe that these services are key functions of local government and I’m committed to their excellence.

3. Schools. Farmington residents support its excellent school system. Many move here just for the schools. I’m committed to prioritizing and focusing upon the excellence of our schools. I’m very proud of our schools. Our excellent schools also support strong property values.

District 2: Gary A. Palumbo, 54

Children: Deanna, 23, Anthony, 24

Occupation: Business Owner/Operator, Jeweler

Education:University of New Haven

Experience: Town council- Liason: Library Committee, Economic Development Commission, Housing Authority Zoning Board of Appeals Knights of ColumbusElks Club100 ClubFarmington Unico


Please briefly explain why you are seeking candidacy for the Farmington Town Council. I have a business in town and have always been impressed by how Republican leadership in Farmington has so successfully balanced outstanding financial management with excellent citizen services. It was with this admiration and respect for the town council and its efforts over the years that I became interested in being a voice for my neighbors as well as other town businesses like mine.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot? I have effectively handled the state budget crisis in a way that has been seamless for town residents. I am experienced in working for town-wide efficiency and have made sure that critical programs and services have remained unchanged. I have supported budgets that have added money into our reserve fund, led to consistent grand list growth and have very thoughtfully invested in our long-term financial stability.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Maintain Farmington's unique fiscal success.

2. Preserve outstanding citizen services and quality of life.

3. Ensure council's continued integrity.

District 2: Meredith Trimble, 41

Married to Ryan

Children: Ian, 10, Madeleine, 7

Occupation: Government Compliance and Communications Consultant

Education: Bachelor’s degree, political science and German, Magna Cum Laude, Bucknell University Phi Beta Kappa

Experience:Vice Chair, Town Council- Liaison to: Strategic Planning Committee, Unionville Village Improvement Association, Unionville Historic District Commission, Water Pollution Control Authority, Alma Bailey-Taylor Scholarship Capitol Region Council of Governments, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Board of Education Member of Emerging Local Government Leaders United States Federal Election Commission Connecticut Office of State Ethics University of Connecticut OpenGov, Inc.


Briefly Explain Why You are Seeking Candidacy for Farmington Town Council.My academic and professional experience in government agencies at all levels is uniquely beneficial to Farmington residents. As a former member of Farmington’s board of education, I have an in-depth understanding of school district initiatives and finances. My husband is a small business owner in Unionville and we strive to be involved and contributing members of our community. We chose to live in Farmington because of the town’s quality education, excellent services and low tax rate. My council goal is to continue to make sure those good things don’t change.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot? I’m proud to have contributed to Farmington’s “best in area” position as an attractive place for businesses and families alike and the successful results of my policy decisions led the full [Republican Town Committee] membership to overwhelmingly support and endorse my candidacy. In my years of service the grand list has grown annually, our reserve fund balance has increased, our highest-possible bond rating has been preserved, [a] myriad new businesses have come to and stayed in town, Unionville revitalization is going strong, valuable open space has been acquired, community infrastructure grants have been secured, our schools achieved high rankings, and our fire, police, public works, recreation, social services, libraries and pension fund have been well supported. In addition, my professional experience is uniquely related to public service. At federal, state, and municipal levels, I have experience in data-driven decision-making, results-based accountability, strategic planning, and public engagement.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Future fiscal sustainability. My proven success in managing Farmington’s financial stability even in the face of the state budget crisis has come from a policy of self-sufficiency (not relying on state funding), promoting operational efficiency on the town and board sides of the budget, fostering a successful economic development environment, facilitating grand list growth for four straight years, growing our reserve fund and appropriately funding pension obligations.

2. Excellent citizen services. My time in office has proven that I can push for operational efficiencies on the town and board sides of the budget without critically harming programs, services, or people. I was involved in the town’s strategic planning process, which remains centered around citizen priorities to inform our resource allocation and strategic direction.

3. Integrity. My professional life has focused on the transparency, integrity, and accountability of public agencies and public officials. Citizens should be able to trust their elected officials – that is the basis of effective democracy – and I operate above-board at all times.

District 1: William Wadsworth, 64


Children: Abigail Boretto , 46 Sarah Wadsworth, 36, Rachel Wadsworth, 33, Courtney Warren, 32 Caroline Gould, 30 James Gould, 28

Occupation: Construction Manager

Education:University of Connecticut - Bachelor’s degree, engineering

Experience:Zoning Board of Appeals Town Plan and Zoning Commission Town Council Former member, Connecticut House of RepresentativesLand Acquisition CommitteeFire Station Building Committee Farmington High School Building Committee (2003, 2017) Liaison to: Town Plan and Zoning Commission, Farmington Chamber of Commerce, West Woods Upper Elementary School, Economic Development Commission, Historic District Commission


Please briefly explain why you are seeking candidacy for the Farmington Town Council.The town of Farmington has grown and prospered over the past 372 years by very careful management of our government by very dedicated individuals. The financial challenges of today are not much different from those in the past and it will also take careful fiscal management to navigate those challenges. It is unfortunate that the mismanagement of the state of Connecticut has resulted in compromises in the way the town of Farmington has and will conduct its business. I will put my experience and track record of 11 years on the Farmington town council to resolve any and all fiscal issues.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate to represent Republicans on the November ballot? I am the best candidate for the November ballot because I am only driven by the desire to provide public service to the residents of the town of Farmington. Throughout my history of serving the town, I am proud to say that my decisions have been based on what is best for the town. Ego and politics have no place in the decision-making process. I have the experience and the motivation to provide leadership in resolving all of the challenges that we will be facing in the coming years.

Please list the top three issues you feel best summarize your platform.

1. Education. Excellence in education has always been a priority in the town of Farmington and I will endeavor to support policies at the town council level that will keep Farmington at or near the top in terms of educational superiority. We owe it to our children to provide them with the best possible education so that they will be prepared to succeed in whatever path that they choose in life. Our predecessors did the same for us so that we could achieve our goals.

2. Quality of life. A high quality of life is something that we all enjoy in the town of Farmington. Whether it be roads, recreation or a myriad of other benefits, our tax dollars have been well spent on our residents. My participation in the open space program for the past 17 years has resulted in the purchase of over 900 acres of land that will forever provide protected from development, giving neighborhoods relief from the congestion that comes with full buildout.

3. Low taxes. In Farmington, we also have a relatively low tax rate. I have and will advocate for strict control over the budget to maintain a low tax rate. This is important not just for our residents, but for our businesses as well. We are a net importer of jobs and our commercial tax base is one of the highest around. Jobs are the engine that drives our economy and enhances the quality of life of the employed. We need to respect that.

Copyright © 2018, CT Now