Middlefield first selectman candidates

Three candidates are running for first selectman in the town of Middlefield: Republican candidate and current First Selectman Jon Brayshaw: Democratic candidate Lucy Petrella: and unaffiliated candidate Marianne Corona. The election is Nov. 5. Town Times asked for their responses to the following questions:

1) Why do you want to be first selectman?

2) What special skills or experience would you bring to the position?

3) What is the most pressing issue for Middlefield?

4) How do you like to be contacted by constituents?

Jon Brayshaw

1) Seeking the office of first selectman is a strange mixture of calling, duty and a healthy dose of willingness to serve ones town and those who live in it. I have a long life experience and what better way to “wrap things up” than to find a way to use my skills to step up and give back for the betterment of all. My wide-ranging family has grown well in Middlefield and we owe a lot.

2) My “skill set” has served the town well over the 10 years I have served on the Board of Selectmen; eight as First Selectman. Raising a family in town was of enormous value. Being in the construction field for 50 years has given me the means to be comfortable with the variety of issues facing running the town. Being a professional engineer and architect has given me experience in the world of the physical. Running an office with employees for 30 years has given me assorted personnel and employment skills. My life’s interest in promoting kindness in its many forms completes my interest and abilities. And finally, the 16,000 hours of managing the Town over eight years does help.

3) Middlefield and Rockfall are in good shape in spite of what is going on around us. What will always be important is to: Provide for our safety; manage our finances; safeguard our children’s education; maintain the town’s character; keep you informed; keep order; provide for social services —all while exercising kindness.

If I could identify one shortcoming that I see on the horizon it is the reduction of citizens willing to volunteer for a wide variety of needs. Today, it takes over 200 volunteers to run the town properly, 90 are appointments. The essence of what we all “feel” and love about living here was put in place by hundreds of individuals decades ago who in the past served in multiple venues. Fewer volunteers will in time reduce the quality of life we have grown to enjoy.

4) Since taking office as first selectman eight years ago, I have always had an open door policy at the Town Hall and enjoy face to face meetings whether by appointment or walk-ins. Otherwise, e-mail or a phone call works well. I do enjoy meeting and hearing from folks as I attend town functions and interact with constituents.

Marianne Corona

1) I believe, as an independent candidate, that I have the background and skills to not only be a leader for the town but also assist the residents of Rockfall and Middlefield with their issues. This will be done with open discussion and transparency.

I have spent many years as a volunteer in leadership roles wherever there was a need. I also represented our town at regional and state levels. The issues have ranged from garbage, library, a state organization for wetlands and conservation, our Coginchaug River, capital planning, community college, local development, Peckham Park, open space acquisitions, development rights to assist in preserving farm lands, local planning and zoning, the local wetlands commission, support for Powder Ridge and Wadsworth park issues. Also, I was and continue to be, a supporter of the 490 Act which helps to support the continued operations of our four golf courses, the ski area and farm operations.

With my proven background, experience and skills I firmly believe that I am the best candidate to make the changes needed to move our town away from the self-interested current administration to what’s best for everyone in town.

2) I have listed above my Middlefield and Rockfall volunteer experience. My professional background includes having run a very successful small business. For over 30 years I managed the finances, payroll, staffing, insurance decisions, audits, and a multitude of unexpected problems. Running a business is not very different from the management responsibilities of a irst selectman. One skill I have which I consider most important is the ability to work with all folks regardless of political persuasions.

3) Annual tax increases and management of our town finances.

What will be most challenging will be the consequences of the Powder Ridge debt of $4,136,235.13. The Brayshaw administration sold the property for $700,000, $200,000 has been paid to Middlefield Holdings leaving the remainder of $500,000 to be paid to Middlefield at $100,000 each year interest free for five years.

It is time for a change in the leadership for our town!

4)By email at ElectMarianneCorona@comcast.net and, as always, I welcome meeting folks in person.

Lucy Petrella

1) Middlefield/Rockfall is a quintessential New England community that I have been proud to call home for over 26 years. It is time for an open, well-functioning, proactive, and fiscally responsible government to ensure the health and welfare of the town and its residents. As we continue to recover from the national economic recession, it is critical to monitor every tax dollar and ensure that those funds are utilized as they were intended. We must seek commercial enterprises to expand our tax base, and work effectively with our school district to provide a quality education system at a reasonable cost - all while preserving the unique character of our community. Open government puts the people first, which is their rightful place.

2) I will bring diverse experiences and skills as First Selectman. Four years on the Board of Finance, two as chair, gives me the financial background to develop budgets, to understand the importance of strong fiscal management, and the necessity of timely follow through with town services. Fifteen years as vice chair/chair on Planning and Zoning Boards, in Middlefield and Haddam, provides me with a depth of knowledge about land uses issues. Over two years membership on the Lake Beseck Environmental/Ad Hoc committee has provided insight into the unique issues at the lake. As a retired teacher, I have the background to be an effective advocate with the board of education to ensure a quality education at an affordable cost. With my degree in administration and supervision, I planned for, supervised, and evaluated teacher assistants for over 14 years. For 12 years, I actively participated in contract negotiations. I volunteer at John Lyman School and am an active member of the St. Colman community. I cherish spending time with my family: my husband, Frank; my two daughters, their spouses, and my two precious grandchildren. I am an avid environmentalist and passionate about organic gardening and fitness.

3) I believe our most pressing concern is the need for open government. As a public servant, my job is to serve the people. As such, their input is paramount. We must keep the lines of communication open in order to: better utilize hard earned tax dollars to ensure the delivery of town services, such as the maintenance of roads and buildings, in a timely, cost-effective manner; to actively seek economic opportunities to enhance the tax base; and to work effectively with the regional school district. Residents should have the opportunity to have their voices heard on town issues as part of the planning process. Our elected/appointed boards and commissions also need to be part of the process from the beginning. Residents should have the ability to contact me whenever needed, whether by phone, email, or in person. I want to expand the hours of the selectman’s office to encourage people to come in and talk with me and upgrade our website into a user-friendly, informative site that will include as much information as possible.

4) Email me at: petrella4selectman@gmail.com or call (860) 347-0537.



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