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Dem Candidate Outlines Goals, Says 'Vote!'

NORWALK, Conn. – The following letter to the editor was submitted by a candidate for the Norwalk town clerk.

As you may know, another municipal election season is upon us. This is probably the most important election cycle Norwalk has seen in some time. The race for mayor will be hotly contested followed by the Common Council and Board of Education races that will feature many new faces on both sides. Nov. 8 will be an interesting day for sure, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

For the first time in 10 years, the office of town clerk is an open contest. Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel is running for mayor. Andy has modernized the clerk's office by streamlining technology and service standards, and it has become a model for other town clerk offices across Connecticut.

As a current member of the Norwalk Common Council and a bank officer in my professional life, I believe I am the best qualified candidate for the position of town clerk. I am proud to be running with Andy Garfunkel and to have the opportunity to fill the position he has held for the last 10 years. However, I believe that there is more work to be done. There has been little to no dialogue by candidates for this office, therefore I will be the first to come out and describe some of my ideas.

Here are a few of things I propose to do:

• Review the city's credit-card processing contract and search for better financial solutions. I would negotiate a new processing rate, eliminating the "convenience fee" to use a card and introduce a simultaneous online processing system that would build a database of users to make processing more efficient.

• Explore options to implement fee based Internet access to land records. This will allow members of the public access to pertinent information 24/7 and allow those same people more time to manage their everyday lives.

• With a background in financial services, I understand how important small business is in driving our local community. Often times the local town clerk's office is the first stop for entrepreneurs when they file a trade name certificate. In these tough times these citizens need help! I will make it a point to work with the Chamber of Commerce, SCORE and financial organizations to set up seminars and programs to provide support.

• Finally, as voting citizens we often forget how important municipal elections are in determining the quality of life in our community. Constituents often have the misconception that more is at stake with federal and state elections. While there is a tremendous amount at stake in these elections, local municipal elections matter more in our daily lives now than ever before. In various municipalities across the nation, major issues such as street paving, crime, education, housing, property taxes, etc. are in jeopardy by the lack of voter turnout in elections. In Norwalk, in particular, municipal turnout is historically low compared with other election cycles. How can we truly create change if we are not all heard? As town clerk I will fight to create a more realistic and modern voting mechanism with other clerks and state officials to increase turnout and to make the process more convenient for you, the voter. Spending time in Hartford as a legislative aide in the General Assembly, I know the system and understand the electoral process. I know there has been talk of early voting and easier voting methods. I will be there fighting for those measures.

The race for town clerk in 2011 is not a high-profile race, but it is an important one. The race is not about who has the better name recognition or the most lawn signs. It is about who is most qualified to take the reins and demonstrate the leadership needed to ensure a smooth transition and efficient future. I believe I am that person.

For further information on my background you may visit my website. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 203-810-4451 or Jaeger4Norwalk@gmail.com .

Running for office? Send a statement to nchapman@thedailynorwalk.com .

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