We have updated our Privacy Notice and Policies to provide more information about how we use and share data and information about you. This updated notice and policy is effective immediately.

Politics this week: Meriden mayoral race, new federal climate corps, Southington debate flap

reporter photo

Incumbent Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati faces challenge from political newcomer

What Happened?

Incumbent Mayor Kevin Scarpati, an independent endorsed by Democrats, is seeking his fifth term in the upcoming November election, but he’s not without competition. His opponent in the race is lifelong Meriden resident and Republican-backed candidate Kurt Hourigan

What do you need to know?

For both candidates, galvanizing the continued economic growth of Meriden is the most important issue for their campaigns. 

Scarpati, who has been in office since 2015, summed up his platform for re-election in one word — momentum. He wishes to keep the momentum he’s built over the past eight years, spearheading new development projects that aim to bring new storefronts to the downtown area. According to Scarpati, over the last two years, he’s earmarked a significant portion of federal ARPA money granted during the pandemic toward targeting new businesses and finding uses for underutilized parcels in the city. He also noted that, while in office, he has also overseen the movement of several significant projects, such as the continued development of the Meriden Green, the construction of the new library, and the start of the new senior center. 

Newcomer Hourigan is similarly aiming to revitalize businesses in the community and improve communication between the city and the public. He wishes to give residents a voice and act as an ambassador between them and the council. Maintaining those lines of communication, Hourigan said, is important for keeping an effective government and knowing what the residents want. 

One of the most pressing issues he’d deal with upon assuming office, Hourigan said, would be reining in the tax assessor’s office, which he believes has done considerable damage not only to property values in the city but also by sowing distrust between the public and city officials. 

What’s next?

Election Day is Nov. 7. Maps with local polling locations will be made available online on the Meriden city website and in the upcoming Record-Journal voter guide. Read more about the Meriden mayoral race here.

Biden is using executive power to create a New Deal-style American Climate Corps

What Happened?

After being thwarted by Congress, President Joe Biden will use his executive authority to create a New Deal-style American Climate Corps that will serve as a major green jobs training program.

What do you need to know?

The White House said the program will employ about 20,000 young adults who will build trails, plant trees, help install solar panels and do other work to boost conservation and help prevent catastrophic wildfires. 

A federal climate corps will “prepare a whole generation of workers for good-paying union jobs in the clean economy” while helping to “fight climate change, build community resilience and support environmental justice,” the lawmakers wrote.

The White House declined to say how much the program will cost or how it will be paid for, but Democrats proposed $10 billion for the climate corps in the climate bill before the provision was removed.

What’s next?

White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi said the administration will work with at least six federal agencies to create the climate corps and will pair with at least 10 states. California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan and Washington have already begun similar programs, while five more are launching their own climate corps, Zaidi said: Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah. Read more about Biden’s climate corps here

Southington Democrats won't attend chamber debate

What happened?

Saying it’s slanted against their party, Democrats won’t be attending the Southington Chamber of Commerce Town Council Candidate Forum slated for next month.Republicans said they’ll be at the event and are eager to take questions from the public and explain their platform.

What do you need to know?

Democratic party leaders and candidates criticized the organization of previous forums as well as Southington Chamber of Commerce CEO Barbara Hekeler. Edward Pocock III, a Democrat running for Town Council and a former Republican, described the event held at Hawk’s Landing Country Club as an “alcohol-infused GOP booster club event” with poor organization.

Victoria Triano, a Republican and council chairwoman not running for reelection, said the criticisms of Hekeler and the chamber were “terrible.” She’s found the chamber to be a bipartisan organization and saw the forum as valuable for voters.

What’s next?

It’s unclear if the forum scheduled for Oct. 19 at Hawk’s Landing Country Club will still take place. Hekeler did not return calls for comment this week. Maryann Stanley, the chamber board chairwoman, also didn’t return calls for comment. Mark Lajoie, Southington Republican Town Committee chairman, said Republican council candidates plan to attend the chamber’s event if it’s held. Read more here

lsellew@record-journal.com203-317-2225Twitter: @LaurenSellewRJ


More From This Section