There is a Primary in Bethel today. Republicans are choosing a First Selectman candidate. Polls close at 8pm.
Party endorsed candidate Pat Rist is the chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. She touted the P&Z for adding $18 million to the Grand List. She also served as chair of the Route 6 development. Rist holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and an MBA. She is employed by Oracle Corp. as an operation manager.
Rist says that first and foremost, she wants to bring transparency and open-mindedness to town government. Rist says if she wins the primary, and is elected in November she wants to meet with all department heads within 90 days of taking office.
When it comes to the budget writing process, she would take several factors into consideration including if Bethel can afford what's proposed and what are the ramifications if funding is postponed or rejected. Rist says smart development and sustainable growth is key to controlling the mill rate and taxes.
Rist says the one thing that she's heard repeatedly as a concern from residents while out campaigning is taxes.
GOP Party Chairman Will Duff forced the primary by gathering enough petition signatures to appear on the ballot. Duff says responsibility and self-discipline are needed in town government. He served two years as a Selectman, is a member of the Board of Education, a small business owner and a retired State Marshall. Duff also previously served on the Bethel Board of Assessment Appeals.
Duff says he has a track record of trying to make government smaller. He also called for an increase in government transparency. He is also calling for lower taxes. Duff says he wants to make Bethel more affordable again, because having the highest property tax rate in the region benefits nobody and chases away business.
As a former Selectman, Duff says he was a proven leader and helped write the area's first ethics code. He notes that the last time he was on the Board of Selectmen was the last year Bethel saw a tax freeze.
Duff wants to grow the town's economic and commercial base.