Editor’s note: Council and mayoral candidates were invited to submit columns about their campaigns.
I was always told “Whatever you do, do your very best.” Yes, it’s basic, corny advice, but I still hear my parents’ voice repeating those words. I always strive to do my best, whether it’s raising my kids, at my place of employment, or serving the citizens of Meriden as a councilman. My passion for Meriden is equal to my passion for coaching youth sports. I try to instill in Meriden politics as well as the youth the essential fundamental values: demanding excellence of yourself; contributing your best as part of a team; finding positive ways to confront and overcome challenges. My five years on the City Council have been deeply satisfying, and I hope I have maintained those same ideals.
As chair of the Public Safety Committee, I have the privilege of giving strong support to our first responders. We have made sure they have the equipment and resources they need to protect and serve the people of Meriden. Our fire department has saved the residents of Meriden millions of dollars in property value. Our police officers put their life on the line each time they put on their uniform. I am proud our crime rate has gone down, and the police response to any outbreaks of criminal activity has been swift and effective. Despite those real improvements, I recognize residents still may not feel adequately secure, and increased media coverage of crime intensifies anxieties. The bottom line is we must have zero tolerance for law-breaking. I have led the effort to organize regular public forums with our police, firefighters, emergency dispatch, and Hunters Ambulance to allow information sharing, constructive dialogue, and full transparency with city residents.
Sharing of information and ideas is vital to the health and growth of our community. I believe we are on an upward trajectory thanks to the hard work of my predecessors, and the current council members with the vision to push Meriden forward. As a homeowner and single father of three (with one in college and next year two), I know first-hand the need to restrain taxes. We have spent countless hours caucusing combing through the city budget line-by-line, finding areas to cut. Our success is seen in the support the budget has received each year from all three political parties, and the tax reductions experienced this year by many homeowners. I am particularly pleased to have helped deliver expanded tax relief for our veterans and seniors.
Perhaps most rewarding for me is working one-on-one with constituents helping resolve issues. As a coach I teach teamwork, and I look forward to continuing my partnership with the residents of Meriden. I take pride in bridging partisan divides and bringing people together to solve our shared challenges. I love my city and with your vote, I will continue to serve you as councilman representing Area 2 as a level-headed, common sense public servant.
Democratic incumbent Larue Graham Jr. is a Meriden city councilor representing Area 2.