Kate Tepper (D) is running to represent District E on Norwalk's Common Council.
The Democrat says Norwalk needs a new formula to do business: a "positive, forward-thinking and creative formula," and she says she can bring that to the Common Council.
Tepper says she would like to see more interaction between not just the Council and the mayor, but between all city boards and commissions during budget season.
She also has piggybacked on one of Councilman Matt Miklave's biggest talking points during his time campaigning to be Norwalk's mayor: performance-based budgeting.
"We do a lot of arguing about five percent of the budget, but we don't look back and talk about the other 95 percent of the budget," she says. "Are we just automatically [giving money to all city departments]?"
She says more active communication and more open exchanging of information between governing bodies would result in an improved budget process.
Tepper says, above all, education need to be fully funded on a consistent basis. She says her main concern lies in early childhood literacy, particularly kindergarten-to-third grade reading skills.
"If a child can't read by third grade, that sets a precedent for the rest of the school career," she says. "It's like fixing a hole in the roof; if you fix it right away, you don't have a problem 10 years down the road. If you fix this problem, children won't have these problems."
Tepper recognizes District E -- Rowayton and West Norwalk -- is a "reasonably affluent" section of Norwalk, but says during her 34 years in Norwalk, she has seen a decline in the way Norwalk cares for its assets. She says there are still too many cases of broken sidewalks, overgrown vegetation, litter and roads in need of repair.
"They should be better tended to, in my opinion," she says. "That's the direction I would go in."
The relationship between the Council and the mayor, Tepper says, should be "cordial at all times."
"Having grown up during a war, I'm a great believer in diplomacy at every level -- an effort to understand other people's ideas, not immediately dismissing them because they don't fit in with [what you want]."
"You have to establish what the priorities really are, have better interaction," she says. "And if you can't agree, you must politely agree to disagree. We all have to do that at some point."