The Washington Democratic Town Committee (WDTC) is committed to the Washington community and all of its citizens. There will be many important issues facing our Town over the next several years. How we resolve those issues—indeed, whether we resolve them—will affect the landscape, economics and composition of Washington for years to come. For the next two years, the WDTC proposes and supports the following platform:
Business Goals & Objectives
Promote a growing local economy. We value the jobs and economic strength that a broad range of businesses brings to our town:
We encourage the creation of new business opportunities.
Build a business-friendly municipal partnership. Town government must support the growth of new and existing businesses in the village centers of the Depot, Woodville, Marbledale and New Preston. To create a more robust business climate, much needed enhancements should be made to parking, auto and pedestrian traffic, lighting and signage. We will partner with the Washington Business Association to identify what’s working well and to address unmet needs.
Buy local. We urge all citizens to heed the initiative of the Washington Business Association and buy from local businesses and growers. When we purchase locally, a much greater portion of our expenditures cycles back through the local economy. Goods purchased out of Town or on the Internet return little or no value to the local economy.
Attract green high-tech business. We support enhancement of the Town’s technology infrastructure. We seek new business opportunities that may emerge from the introduction of fiber-optic, satellite and wireless service.
We support the following measures:
Open Government and Ethics
Accountability and openness are the bedrocks of Town government’s legitimacy. They insure that leaders of all levels of Town government are accessible and responsive. When citizens know how and why government decisions are made, voter apathy disappears, because the electorate is truly engaged.
The principle of public service must always rise above that of self interest. Appointments to Town boards and commissions should be based on who is the most qualified candidate for the job.
All hiring proposals (including even part-time summer jobs) should appear in local newspapers and be posted on the Town web site early enough so that all interested applicants have a chance to apply.
The Town should adopt an Ethics Code. It will set forth guidelines for all boards and commissions and prevent even the appearance of self-dealing or conflict of interest.
All meetings of the Board of Selectmen, as well as those of other Town commissions, should be audio recorded, in addition to minutes being taken. These recordings should be available to the public. Recordings will provide a much fuller picture of the context, the pros and cons, surrounding individual proposals and decisions.
The Town’s web site should be updated and provisions made for future uses to benefit public access (upload recordings of meetings, live webcast of Town meetings, etc.).
The unique character of our Town depends on maintaining a diverse citizenry. We risk becoming a gated community unless we can insure that
To achieve this goal, our Town should encourage a diversity of quality housing opportunities – be it home ownership, condominium, rental, affordable housing or assisted living.
We support policies and programs that will provide all Washingtonians with the opportunity to live here and work towards our common benefit. We endorse the use of the Town’s housing fund, as well as efforts by the Washington Community Housing Trust and the Housing Commission, which further this goal.
We believe that the Town’s 2013 Plan of Conservation and Development should place significant emphasis on expanding the range of housing alternatives currently available.
Quality Public Education
Washington Democrats believe that public education is a cornerstone of democracy that deserves to be supported by all citizens.
We believe Washington Primary and Shepaug Regional High School have great strengths in their faculty and academic and extracurricular programs. However, we are concerned by the declining test scores in Middle and High School.
We believe that there are multiple reasons for the steadily declining enrollment in Region 12. Foremost among them is the cost of housing for young middle-class families whose children would attend our schools. This decline has huge implications for taxpayers, students, the region’s faculty, and academic and extracurricular programs. We must rally public concern to address this growing problem now, while there is still time to recover.
Washington Democrats believe that protecting our local environment and natural resources is essential to maintaining the health of our Town and its residents.
We will balance the imperative for fiscal prudence and accountability with the Town’s need for basic services and maintaining its unique quality of life. We pledge to:
Volunteer service is the foundation of a participatory democracy. Volunteerism is a tradition in small towns, where neighbor helps neighbor, and the tasks of maintaining a community are shared.
Volunteers give back to the Town and receive personal satisfaction and public recognition in return for their valued efforts.
The WDTC pledges to support those who currently volunteer and to encourage more citizens to become active in volunteering.