Editor's note: Seventeen candidates are running for 9 seats on the Groton Town Council on Nov. 8. Below is a Q&A with one of the candidates.
Name: Harry A. Watson
Education: Bachelor's degree, Eastern Connecticut State University, 2007
Work Experience: Pfizer retired Principal Research Investigator in Central Research (2003 after 36 years). Currently work part time as a substitute teacher in Groton Public Schools.
Civic/Political Experience: Groton Town Council 1990-present; Mayor, Town of Groton 2003-2009; Ledge Light Health District Board 1993-2004; Board chairperson, 1997-2001; Active member, Union Baptist Church, Mystic; SE CT Water Authority, 2008-present; Groton youth coach, 1995-2005; Groton volunteer in multiple roles for over 25 years.
Family: Married, 4 children, 3 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild.
Why are you running for this office? Obviously I must enjoy it after over 20 years on the Town Council. I care about my community and this is my way of giving back.
What do you believe is the greatest challenge Groton faces today, and what would you do to meet this challenge? Budget is the biggest challenge. We can work hard to keep the quality of life and curtailing spending but the revenue side of budgeting is only going to get worse. For 20 years I have heard let's regionalize but not much has happened here. More emphasis on COG should be explored but the council needs to embrace this. I believe communication has to be more open between Groton, its residents, subdivisions, BoEd, RTM, COG, Boards/Commissions, the state and the federal governments. We dodged loss of the Subbase a few years ago (again) but we need to keep on top of this both by embracing the military as part of our community and advocating at the state and federal levels. Pfizer is downsizing which concerns me very much. It would not surprise me if they left Groton. They are over (or about) 15% of the grand list, this is a concern. Business retention and new business will maintain and increase the revenue side plus keep or create jobs.
How would you rate the performance of the current board overall, and what, if anything, would you do differently? Current council had a good two years. This is partly due to an excellent town manager. I would advocate the communication mentioned above as needing more attention. Especially between the BoEd/RTM/Subdivisions/State Legislators/Council. I think the make up of the committees of the Groton Town Council needs to be looked at. Each councilor is chair of a committee. The next council should evaluate this. Very little has been done in committee most has been addressed in committee of the whole.