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Bristol sees surge in candidates

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February 12, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — Eight candidates will be on the Town Meeting Day ballot for seats on the Bristol Board of Selectmen. Incumbent John “Peeker” Heffernan is unopposed in his effort to be re-elected to a two-year term, but seven candidates are vying for the two other open seats.

Ted Lylis, Nate Bouvier and Carol Wells are all running for the three-year seat that will vacated by Selectman Dave Sharpe, who announced last month that he would not seek re-election. Sharon Compagna is one of four candidates to fill the remaining year in the seat held for seven years by her husband, Armand Compagna, who died Jan. 12. Peter Diminico, Ken Johnson, and Pam Jennings are also running for the one-year seat.

The Addison Independent profiled Johnson, Jennings, Bouvier and Wells in its Feb. 1 edition and today is featuring interviews with the other three candidates in contested elections.

Sharon Compagna was appointed by the selectboard to serve at the remaining handful of meetings before the March 6 election. She said she is running to continue her husband’s work for the town. “I thought there were a few things I could assist with, and carry on some of my husband’s ideas and thoughts,” she said.

Compagna is concerned with a few long-term issues and how they will affect Bristol. She said education, like environmental issues, is “a biggie, especially at this point in history.”

However, the day-to-day issues of municipal government would be her main concern. And she said that on some issues, like roads and sidewalks, she thinks the selectboard and town have accomplished a lot in recent years. “I think we’ve come a long way,” she said.

Compagna also considers it a priority to keep spending under control. She said she’s satisfied with the current budget. “I have looked it over closely, and I think they did a great job of holding the line,” she said.

Diminico said he would bring a slightly different perspective to the board. Diminico has an extensive background in environmental work and interest groups. He has been a member of the New Haven River Anglers Association for 14 years, and he was the founder and coordinator of the New Haven River Watch group. He also the was the original chair of the Bristol Conservation Commission when it was founded three years ago.

Diminico said he was interested in promoting growth and development in the Bristol area, as long as it was carefully managed. “I’m actually pro-growth as long as it’s responsible and maintains the quality of life for people in the area,” he said.

Potential sewer issues are one aspect that he’s concerned about. Bristol is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, so that is an important issue, Diminico said, as well as related problems like housing. “Bristol has potential for more affordable housing … I want to make sure the change that occurs here is responsible.”

Diminico has also been paying attention to the efforts to revise and update Bristol’s town plan, and he supports changes to make it more clear exactly what kind of development the town wants or needs. “I definitely would like to see the endorsement of a strong, comprehensive town plan,” he said.

THREE-YEAR TERM

Lylis is the only one of the three who has run before. He ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for the seat of incumbent board member Doug Corkins. And he said that this time, like last year, he would take a relaxed attitude toward campaigning. “If you think I can do it, vote for me. If you don’t, vote for someone else,” Lylis said.

Lylis has been active in the Bristol community in several ways. He has owned his own business in the Bristol area for 25 years, is the treasurer of the Historical Society, serves on the Howden Hall Committee and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and designed and built the giant artist’s palette for the Bristol Friends of the Arts that now hangs on the side of Cubbers Restaurant.

“I really believe in voluntary public service,” Lylis said. “I think everyone should contribute to the community they live in.” And he said he would see serving on the board as another way to do that. “I feel I have something to offer.”

He is concerned with keeping spending under control by the town of Bristol. “I think we need to get a handle on the spending. We’re stretching ourselves out in too many directions,” Lylis said.

He said he also wants to make sure the town remains open to the elderly and retired.

“I’m very concerned with people who are on a fixed income and people who are soon to be on a fixed income, and their ability to keep living as they have,” Lylis said.

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