The Challenge

Things have not been easy for a long time. We have seen war come to our shores and we have faced unimaginable economic challenges. We have watched as violent crime has grown and criminals have gotten bolder. We have watched our teachers struggle to educate our children and our local businesses fight to survive.

Though we may not control the causes, we can change the way we respond to them, or, rather, the way we have failed to respond to them.

For too long, we have talked about economic development and putting shovels in the ground. We have not talked about the jobs we need to create and the small businesses we need to grow.

For too long, we have watched while good people – our neighbors and friends who feel passionately about our City – are treated with disrespect when speaking out, whether at public meetings, or to City officials. We need to listen to what they have to say, and respond in a timely, respectful and transparent manner.

For too long, we have failed to take the steps we can take to make our community more livable; our streets more "friendly" to walkers, runners, strollers and cyclists; and our parks more accessible.

For far too long, we have watched the yearly us-against-them budget battle play out, as we focus on the five percent of the budget we cut, rather than the 95 percent of the budget we keep.

And for too long, we have heard people hold hardworking civil servants to blame for our troubles.

We live in challenging times. But I believe that we as a people are at our best when things are at their worst. My mother and father were part of the Greatest Generation. They taught me from an early age that we cannot simply complain about the challenges we face – we have to triumph over them.

There is no "magic" to building a better government. There are no code words or some "secret sauce." It takes hard work. It requires leaders who gather and study data, analyze it and ask tough questions. It takes leaders who set standards to judge success, make those standards public and hold to account those in charge, to make sure our programs are achieving results. It requires officials who understand that there is a difference between "wants" and "needs" and that the City’s precious resources are not sufficient to tackle everything that can be found on a list of things "to do."

Wanting change is not enough. It’s not enough to claim to be a "fighter" or pledge to "be relentless" or promise to "focus on the issues." Change comes about only when you have a plan for real change, set specific goals and objectives, measure progress through a regular rigorous review, and hold officials responsible for results.

I am proud to live in Norwalk. I love this City. I love its history, its diversity, its schools, its neighborhoods and its community values. But I know its extraordinary potential is not being met. And I know we can do better.

I believe I have the experience, the ability, the integrity and the vision to help Norwalk achieve a new standard of excellence.

And I believe that it is time for good people to stand together and make Norwalk a magnet for excellence. We'll do it the old-fashioned way – brick by brick, block by block and child by child.