Thursday, October 15, 2009

Q&A With John Theriault

Education and Economic Development Key To Independent Party Candidate John Theriault's Campaign

Interview By John Murray
Photographs By Michael Asaro

Observer: John, you seem like a nice guy. Why are you doing this to yourself?

Theriault: I am a nice guy and have a lot of respect from the community. I’ve been a lifelong resident of Waterbury and I’ve worked in the town for 32 years as a teacher and a principal. I want to give back to the town and the community what they gave to me. They gave me a good living all these years. As you develop your skills and hone your talents I think it’s time to give back. There are things going on in the city that I don’t like.

Observer: Like what? What’s the number one thing you don’t like?

Theriault: I see a mayor who is a full-time developer and a part-time mayor. I see some wheeling and dealing going on with NETCO/Synagro down in the sewer plant. I see the mayor building buildings outside the city and recruiting businesses out of Waterbury. This erodes our tax base.
I see people in Waterbury struggling with their taxes and unemployment and there is no economic development plan in place.

Observer: So you are frustrated?

Theriault. Yes. I want to be part of the solution to the problem, I don’t want to be the problem itself. I want to offer some initiatives. I want to expose the issues. I have no desire to ever attack the mayor on a personal or family basis. The mayor has a lot of issues regarding the operation of city government that have to be addressed.

Q&A With Michael Jarjura

Strong Financial Practice Centerpiece Of Incumbent Mayor Mike Jarjura's Re-election Campaign.

Interview By John Murray
Photographs By Michael Asaro

Observer: Let’s start off with the primary. Only 19% of the voters showed up, what’s up with that?

Jarjura: Well, you can look at it a couple of ways. Some people who wanted to be positive said the voters thought the mayor was doing a good job and basically stayed home because they were happy with the way things are going. The other way to look at it is general apathy. People are so involved in the economic crisis, the war in Afghanistan and the national debate about health care that they just aren’t focused in on local politics. Any way you look at it I think a 19% turnout is a disgrace.

Observer: I agree. In the 16 years I’ve had the Observer there are less and less voters every election. Everyday you pick up the Republican-American and look at the obituaries you see the people we are losing who were involved in the process.

Jarjura: We are not losing population but we are losing the involved community-minded people. We saw some districts in the primary where barely 5% of the voters showed up. One of the biggest voting districts by registration is at Maloney School and they had the smallest turnout.

Observer: That’s largely Hispanic isn’t it?

Jarjura: Yes, and we had a very poor turnout in the North End as well. The big turnout was Bunker Hill, Town Plot and the East End.

Observer: Historically the minority community has not participated in the voting process as much as the other ethnic populations in the city.

Jarjura: But they came out when they wanted. They came out for the Obama election so it shows they can come out if they want to.

Observer: If they are motivated..

Jarjura: How do we motivate them? We ran ads, we put up signs, we did phone calls and we had Hispanic candidates and African-American candidates on the ticket. What else can you do?