Municipal elections are Tuesday, Nov. 5th. Here is information from the town clerk about polling locations and absentee ballots.
Candidates for the offices of First Selectman, the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Education, and the Board of Finance attended the debate Thursday night. PRC Chair Lisa P. Rollins introduced the candidates and provided the wrap up. Lisa Miksis, publisher of The Source, was the moderator. About 50 people were in attendance.
The forum will be broadcast on Madison TV, Channel 19. Check the website at www.madisontv.org for viewing times.
Three candidates, Jessica Bowler, R, and Jean Fitzgerald, R, both candidates for the Board of Education, and Joe MacDougald, R, a candidate for the Board of Finance were unable to attend due to prior commitments. Bowler and MacDougald submitted statements to be read at the debate.
The candidates who were able to attend and some of their comments are as follows:
Seth Klaskin, D
Klaskin has served on the Board of Education for almost seven years. He has three daughters in the public school system in town. He has had his own private law practice and now works at the Secretary of the State's Office.
While working for the Secretary of the State's Office, he has reduced his divisional budget by 67 percent, has reduced his staffing levels through attrition only, and has improved the efficiency of the office, he said.
On the Board of Education, he has served several terms as the chair of the Policy Committee. He said he is particularly proud of his role in the hiring of the new School Superintendent Thomas Scarice, and, if elected, will continue to support the new vision statement recently adopted by the schools.
Fillmore McPherson, R, incumbent
McPherson said he is a strong supporter of the schools. He said he and his family moved here many years ago because of the schools, and that they then fell in love with the town, because of its thriving downtown, its beaches, and its open space. He said the First Selectman's office has very little to do with the schools, but that his goal has been to make sure that the town is well run, so that it can continue to support the schools at the level that is needed.
He said he has supported the past four Board of Education budgets while serving as First Selectman. He said Madison is considered the "poster child" in the state when it comes to school/town cooperation. He said he has many formal and informal meetings with the school superintendent.
He said his goal, if reelected, will be to continue to support the schools, and the many other programs the town has to support its children, including MADE, Youth Sports and Recreation, and events like Trunk or Treat, which is going to be held again this year on Oct. 31st on the town green.
Board of Selectmen
Joan Walker, D, incumbent
Walker said that many in town might know her, not only for her service on the Board of Selectmen, where she is currently serving, but also because of her work as chair of the Jeffrey School Book Sale for eight years, for her work on Nite In Hand. As a selectman, she has supported the school budget for the past two years.
She said it is always her goal to push the Board of Education budget directly to voters, to let voters decide.
A seventeen year resident of Madison, she has two children in the public schools here. She said she is extremely vested in the education in this town.
She also gave thanks to the PRC for organizing the debate, and to the families and supporters of all of the people who are running. With the exception of the First Selectmen, she noted, all of the other offices are unpaid and entirely volunteer.
"We're all volunteers," she said. "And we couldn't do it without our spouses, and families and friends supporting us."
Diane Stadterman, R, incumbent
Stadterman has been serving on the Board of Selectmen for two and a half years. She was initially appointed to the post upon the departure of Noreen Kokoruda, and then Stadterman won the seat during the next election.
Stadterman has three children, and served as president of a PTO. As a selectman, she has served as the liaison to the Board of Education and so has attended most of the Board of Education meetings.
She also has served on the high school building committee, and on the Senior Center and Ambulance building committee. In addition, she has served on the Board of Education in Lenox, MA, where she used to live.
"I have a real feeling for what it takes to run a small town," she said.
Robert Hale, R
Hale said that his many year of service on the town's Board of Education makes him an ideal candidate for the Board of Selectmen. He also has served on the town committee that manages the long term capital programs.
He said he thinks Madison School Superintendent Thomas Scarice is doing an excellent job.
In terms of what should be improved, Hale said that Madison needs more visibility in Hartford relating to regulations that affect schools. "And we need to be vigilant about funding," he said. He said Madison is a well-run town and that his experience will allow him to make a positive contribution.
Al Goldberg, D, incumbent
Goldberg said he is a 38-year resident and has three children who went through Madison Public Schools. He said the success they have had in life is due in part to the education they received here in town.
His experience includes serving on the Board of Finance, on the Board of Selectmen, and as First Selectman, Goldberg said. "I advanced the notion that the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen should not cut the Board of Education budget," he said, but rather that it should be advanced directly to the voters.
If the public doesn't like the Board of Education budget, they can vote it down or "throw the rascals out of office" during the next election, he said.
He said he will continue to advocate support for the education budgets.
Board of Education
Amanda Kaplan, D
Kaplan has lived in town for about 10 years and three children attending public schools. She said our schools are good, but that they have the potential to be great.
She expressed concern about the common core standards and said it would be her goal to make sure that they not have a negative impact on the schools.
She said her experience as an attorney will help her on the Board of Education.
Alison Keating, D
Keating said she moved to Madison so she could raise her children in an "idyllic community with excellent schools." She has twins who are enrolled at the Town Campus Learning Center.
She is a certified health teacher and said she "believes in public education." "I know I can make a positive difference," she said.
She said she has worked in different districts, including Greenwich, CT and in Staples High School.
She said her goal would to make sure that every child has opportunities in the school. She said she wants the schools to be welcoming and rigorous at the same time.
Chris Puricelli, R
Puricelli moved to Madison six years ago, and has two children.
He said he is happy with the education his children are getting, but that he wants to remain vigilant about changes in the school system. He said there have been changes in the curriculum and other matters, and that he wants to make sure that his children, and other children, along with parents, have a voice in how children get educated.
He said he believes in collaboration and inclusiveness. "I believe as a board it's our job to listen to the town. To Republicans, to Democrats, to seniors and to working folks," he said.
Cynthia Wood, D, incumbent
Wood has lived in town for more than 15 years and has two children in Madison Public Schools. She has served as president of the PTOs at Jeffrey and at the Kindergarten center. She also has served as the president of the PRC.
She has served on the Board of Education for four years.
She said she believes it is the committee's responsibility to "care for the entire child."
Among the accomplishments that she is most proud are the hiring of Superintendent Scarice, successful labor negotiations, and working with others on the board in a non-partisan fashion.
Board of Finance
Sharon Kokoruda, R
This is Kokoruda's first time running for public office. She has lived in town for about 15 years. Since she moved into town, both of her sisters also moved into town, and her parents have moved here and decided to retire here.
She has three children in Madison Public Schools. While being a stay-at-home mom for thirteen years, she has also served in a variety of volunteer positions on the pre-school committee, on the Madison Parks Development Committee, and as treasurer of the Polson PTO.
She wants to serve on the Board of Finance because she wants to get involved and help people in town understand the decisions that are made by the town's boards.
Jennifer Tung, R
Tung and her family have lived in town for about 16 years. She has two sons, both in Madison Public Schools. She says she is a big supporter of the town's schools, and feels that her older's sons experience in the schools is allowing him to apply to some great colleges.
She says she has been involved in civic organizations in town, in her church, with Meals on Wheels, with the PTO's, and with the PRC.
She has served on the Board of Finance for two terms and currently serves as its chair. She is the only incumbent running for a third terms. She also is an indoor air quality expert and that is what she does for her work.
She said the Board of Finance has no authority over the specific line items in the Board of Education budget, that they are only allowed to vote on the lump sum. But she said it is the responsibility of the Board of Finance to question the Board of Education on its budget so that taxpayers can be enlightened and make an informed decision about the budget.
Keith Ainsworth, D
Ainsworth said he is an environmental attorney who has served on the Haddam Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen, and as First Selectmen in that town.
He also has volunteered with the Madison Land Trust. He said he "absolutely" loves Madison, but is running for the Board of Finance because he finds municipal finance issues "fascinating."
"There are no sacred cows. There are no blank checks. But the quality of what people expect of Madison should be maintained and preserved," he said.
Michael Greene, D
Greene is an academic tutor in Madison. He also has worked in the office of the State Comptroller, and for the Virginia Governor's office.
He is a member of St. Andrew's Church. He said he has had many jobs, but his favorite job is as teacher. He said it is important for the Board of Finance to work well with the Board of Selectmen, and the Board of Education.
In the statement of Jessica Bowler, R, candidate for Board of Education, read by DHHS student Nina Lunn, Bowler said she regretted not being able to attend the debate. She said she has lived in Madison since 2007 and has two children. She has been active in the Madison Newcomer's Club, in the Jeffrey PTO, and in Madison Little League, among other organizations in town. She is an executive at Pfizer, and has attended many Board of Education meetings. "That will allow me to hit the ground running," she said in her statement.
In the statement of Joe MacDougald, R, a candidate for the Board of Finance, MacDougald also expressed his regret at not being able to attend. He said he has served on the Board of Selectmen for three terms, and that he has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for 10 years. He said he has worked hard, while on the Board of Selectmen, to lower the town's expenses when it comes to legal fees and pension expenses. He said, if elected to the Board of Finance, he would focus on three areas. First, he would examine the process to make sure that the time is well spent. Second, he said he would be looking at the overall tax rate in an effort to reduce taxes, while still funding reserves. Third, he said he would focus on the importance of education.