Election Day is Nov. 5. Here at It's Relevant, we're sitting down with Norwalk's candidates for Common Council and the Board of Education, and we're talking about their opinions, qualifications and visions for Norwalk.
Republican David McCarthy was elected to represent Rowayton and West Norwalk in 2011; he is seeking a second term on the Council.
In terms of accomplishments he is most proud of being a part of during his first term, McCarthy points to the implementation of single stream recycling, a citywide residential blight ordinance and fully funding the Board of Education for the first time "in recent memory" in the 2013-14 budget.
McCarthy says keeping Norwalk financially stable and responsible is of utmost importance. He says maintaining the city's AAA bond rating is imperative.
"Just going down to the next lower grade, the spike in interest rates would cause a significant increase in costs to the city that would create a death spiral," he says. "You have higher interest costs, you wind up cutting other things that could result in further downgrade, and then you never catch up."
He says has seen "all positives" regarding Norwalk's hire of Dr. Manuel Rivera as superintendent. He says the Council must do all it can to continue to provide Rivera with whatever funding he needs. He lauded the Board of Education's goal to produce a three-year budget plan, and says he believes the city is close to seeing a "more reasonable" budget on a long-term basis.
McCarthy says he looks at the Council as "the people's representatives, period." He says the Council should act as a "check valve" to the mayor.
"The mayor sets the course, and the Council is there to advice and consent," he says.
McCarthy says he has little patience for Council members who prefer to politically "grandstand," and says once the election is over, party affiliations need to be cast aside.
"Once the Council is formed, sworn in and you sit down in those chairs, it's not about political points," he says. "It's about the city, helping people and moving things forward."