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Chris Shortell

Running for Town Council

2 CTNewsJunkie Reader Endorsements

Party: Republican

CEP Status:


Age: 45

Marital Status: Married

Current Residence: Wallingford

Current Job: Marketing Director, Anthem BCBS

Previous Job: Worked at Anthem since 1995

Previous Job:

Education: MALS, Wesleyan University; BA , Holy Cross

Why are you running for this office?
I am running for re-election out of a desire to have a voice in our town's future. There are conflicting ideals and visions for the way forward, and I am not an advocate of spending down our surplus or engaging in frivolous projects. I want to preserve what is great about Wallingford while moving us forward in a fiscally sound and well thought out manner.
What is the most pressing local issue facing your community and how would you solve it (within the capacity of the office for which you are running)?
I believe the opioid crisis is the single most pressing issue we face. I know many others will focus on the state budget, but this crisis is literally taking the lives of our fellow citizens at an alarming rate. The Wallingford PD are using narcan, on average, twice a week. Police all around the country are in danger from exposure to fentanyl. As a start, I believe we need to increase staffing at our police department. I made a motion to this effect during our last budget meeting, to add 2 additional officers. While it was defeated 6-3, we had a good dialogue and I will not be afraid to continue to push for this. However, as our Chief has said, we cannot simply arrest our way out of this. We need to continue to raise awareness in our community and push for Federal and State support. The repeal of the "Marino Bill" that took away significant power from the DEA, is a must.
With the state's ongoing budget crisis looming over the election, what are your plans for your community's budget? Is there anything you can do make your town less dependent on revenue from the state?
We need to look for ways to cut spending. Two areas of our budget have grown significantly this decade: Our fund balance ( by about 9M) and Education spending (by about 14M). While I am not advocating spending down our fund balance, I do think we need to stop growing it and reinvest in the town, where appropriate. We also need to reign in Education spending. We have a $100M school system that is excellent. But, this kind of spending growth is not sustainable.
The legislature has been debating various ideas to allow towns to raise revenue locally through something other than property taxes. If you could ease your residents' property tax burden by adding another method of taxation, is there anything you might consider for your town?
I am generally not in favor of adding new taxes. The problem with this approach is that it takes local control away from the towns. At least at the municipal level, we control the mill rate. I would not be in favor of giving up too much control.
Are you in favor of regionalizing more services in conjunction with other nearby communities? If so, which ones?
On a limited basis, where it makes sense, yes I am. For example, there is a project in the works to create a multi-town dispatch center for Cheshire, Wallingford and North Haven police. The Cheshire and Wallingford police have partnered on other regionalization initiatives. If it makes sense and does not diminish our ability to serve Wallingford's residents, I am open to regionalization.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I ran the Fairfield Half-Marathon in 2001. Would love to try again but not sure my knees are up to it!
Should your school district get the same amount of education funding from the state if your district's enrollment is dropping?
No. We should have the ability to compensate for declining enrollment. As noted in one of my other responses, Education spending needs to be addressed. It is not sustainable at its current levels. Our schools do a great job and both of my kids are in the system; I am a big supporter. But being a "big supporter" does not equate to getting a blank check.