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: James ‘Jim’ Streeter
Education: AS and BS - Criminal Justice - University of New Haven; MS – Industrial Relations (Human Resources) – University of New Haven
Work Experience: Presently self employed – Forensic Examiner – North East Forensics, LLC, Groton; Retired Forensic Evidence Examiner, Connecticut State Forensic Science Laboratory; three years Owner-Operator, House of Good Spirits Liquor Store, Groton; 17 years, Chief of Investigations, General Dynamics/Electric Boat; 9 years, patrolman, City of Groton Police Department
Political: Mayor, Town of Groton (2009 to present); Councilor, Town of Groton (2005 to present); Town of Groton Representative Town Meeting, 12 years; Former Councilor/Deputy Mayor, City of Groton; member, City of Groton Planning & Zoning Commission, 8 years; Vice Chairman, City of Groton Charter Revision Committee (2000); member, Town of Groton Community Development Advisory Committee, 6 years; Vice Chairman, City of Groton Republican Committee, 8 years.
Civic: Appointed in 2010 as Historian for the Town of Groton; president, Groton Historical Society; Co-Chairman, Avery Point Lighthouse Society; Board of Directors, New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation; Board of Directors, American Lighthouse Foundation; Board of Directors, Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Connecticut; Board of Directors, Avery-Copp House Museum; Board of Directors, New London Maritime Society; Board of Trustees, Bill Memorial Library; Board of Directors, American Lighthouse Foundation; Chairman, City of Groton Centennial Celebration; Member, Town of Groton Tercentennial Celebration; Member, Groton Lions, Groton Lodge of Elks; Associate Member, Submarine Veterans, Italian American Club
Family: Married for 47 years – two grown children and two grandchildren
Why are you running for this office? As a lifelong resident of the Town of Groton I have always maintained a commitment of “giving back to the community”. My intimate knowledge of our community and many of its citizens, in combination with my educational, political and civic background provides me with the necessary knowledge of knowing and doing what is best for Groton.
For the last six years, while serving as a town councilor, I have used a great deal of common sense in my decision making process but, more importantly, I have listened to and considered the citizens who would be affected by those decisions. For the past several years, our economy on the federal, state and local levels has floundered. Realizing that most Groton citizens have reached a saturation point in tax payments, I have made hard budgetary decisions to stabilize and/or reduce local government spending.
I have a strong desire to continue serving the people of Groton to ensure that our local government provides and maintains only a level of services that is necessary and affordable by our citizens.
What you believe is the greatest challenge Groton faces today and what would you do to meet this challenge? I truly believe that we are still several years away from seeing any meaningful turnaround in our federal and state economy. Unfortunately, until there is a turnaround, more of the economic burden will be borne by local taxpayers.
As an elected official of the community, I must ensure that, until there is a turnaround, Groton continues to limit spending and, where feasible, reduce spending so as to ease the burden on our taxpayers, especially those with fixed and limited financial incomes. We need to provide only those services that are necessary and to also provide our children with a level of education that is acceptable and affordable. I feel that the council has the responsibility to identify and develop new sources of revenues to offset and/or to reduce taxes. We must take the initiative to make this happen.
How would you rate the performance of the current board overall, and what, if anything, would you do differently? Although the members of the present council have diverse backgrounds, I personally believe that overall, for the past two years, the councilors have worked well together. They have been conscious of the faltering economy and, for the most part, made difficult budgetary decisions to help keep the budget in check. I would rate the performance of the council at a B+ to an A-. There is always room for improvement and the only suggestion I would have for the next council is to be a little more conservative in their budget approval process and more liberal in creating new sources of revenue.