I am honored to have served as mayor of Meriden for the past 5½ years, and as a city councilor for 18 years before that. My dad instilled in me the values of giving back to one’s community and making a place “better than you found it.”
As mayor, I have attended over 1,500 events and activities in support of the many fine organizations in our community, and those involved in these organizations continually reinforce my belief that Meriden is one terrific city. We are blessed to have so many volunteer, civic and faith-based groups enriching Meriden’s diversity and giving so much to our youth, elderly and those in need.
With the support of the entire Democratic leadership of the city council and our state delegation, I have helped move Meriden forward. I am a very active mayor and always look for opportunities to make our city better — from little things like bringing the circus to town for the first time in 30 years, installing a professional-sized ice skating rink downtown, moving the farmers market to the Hub to increase participation and visibility, reinvigorating Project Graduation to keep our seniors safe on graduation night, and leading the fundraising campaign for new band uniforms for Maloney High School — to large things like starting the flood control project and shepherding it for 20 years to near completion, supporting the downtown transit-oriented development project that includes a new transit center and new parking areas, promoting the new Hub Green with a watercourse (the only town green in Connecticut with a daylighted brook), pursuing the demolition of the outdated Mills housing project and development of over 600 new mixed-use housing units throughout the city, creating over 1.2 million square feet of new commercial and housing opportunities, voting in favor of the like-new, state-of-the-art renovations of Maloney and Platt high schools that ensures local jobs for Meriden residents, and seeing to fruition the new Phase II of the beautiful Linear Trail.
Meriden is on the cusp of the greatest transformation in our history with over $300,000,000 in funded projects underway and more to come. Working together with our city council, city staff, the business community and our non-profit organizations, we have addressed our longstanding problems and set this community on a new and exciting path that will make Meriden one of the best mid-sized cities in Connecticut. We are bringing back pride in Meriden and improving our image for the better.
Our Democratic Team has a platform that addresses, in detail, our goals for Meriden and enumerates our major accomplishments. Our record clearly demonstrates our ability and competence to lead Meriden and to make positive things happen. Under our leadership, we have fulfilled our pledge to maintain fiscal responsibility with conservative budgeting, support continued economic development with smart growth initiatives, improve the conditions in our neighborhoods working with our neighborhood associations and community policing, work cooperatively with our Board of Education to deliver a quality education to our children, and improve the quality of life to provide Meriden residents those amenities that make Meriden a great city in which to live, work and play.
The opposing candidates claim they want a new direction for Meriden, but what is that direction? They agree with the Democratic initiatives, voted in favor of the most recent Democratic budget, publicly recognized the reasonableness of the current tax rate, and have offered no meaningful suggestions to improve our city. It speaks volumes when your opponents have nothing but good things to say about the state of the city under Democratic leadership.
We have a bright future for our community and a unique opportunity for a transformation that will change Meriden for the better. I ask for your support of our Democratic Team to continue our progress and to keep Meriden moving forward.
Michael S. Rohde, Democrat, is mayor of Meriden and a candidate for reelection.