Why Vote for Matt Harper for Mayor of East Hartford

What sets me apart from my political opponents?

I have acquired leadership experience, not through decades in political machinery, but at the community level, literally living side-by-side with some of the people I served.  

For the last 30 years, EH officials have been working on the assumption that the average citizen has no idea what’s best for his or her own family, neighborhood, or business.  The result?  Deepening divides and a hemorrhaging economy.

I will bring a different perspective on problems:  one that is confident in the competence of ordinary citizens to address problems, one that sees the responsibility of Town Hall to facilitate rather than regulate their ambitions.

The role of government is neither to solve every problem nor to set up obstacle courses.  For 30 years, our state and local governments have been doing both.  I will not shirk responsibility when Town Hall needs to act, but I recognize that sometimes the best thing government can do is get out of the way.

Why should retirees vote for me (and stay in East Hartford)?

I will reduce property taxes, not by slashing services, but by encouraging a broader tax base.

I will also encourage young families.  One of the things we’ve forgotten in an era of deepening divides is how much retirees and young families need each other.

What about young families?

I will do everything in my power to facilitate quality education in our schools.  I anticipate working closely with the smart and competent leaders and members of our town’s Board of Education.  Steve Jobs talked about the importance of surrounding yourself with highly-skilled people.  That is how I feel about the idea of serving alongside our community’s education leaders to help our kids thrive in their education.

Young families also need safe neighborhoods.  I will listen to neighborhood concerns about crime and policing.  And I will listen to police – What do they see as the necessary resources and procedures to “serve and protect” in community-sensitive ways?

I will encourage retirees to stay in EH.  What does that have to do with young families?   Simply this:  given the choice, many young families would live near grandma and grandpa.  Again, retirees and young families need each other.

Lower taxes also benefit young families.  Higher taxes – especially property taxes – “price out” not just investors, but renters and first-time buyers, too.

How will I bring fresh leadership to the office of Mayor?

I will bring an entirely different understanding of leadership itself.  In a society which values individual liberty, effective leadership will always need to be a form of service.  As Mayor, I will use the influence and decision-making capacity entrusted to me to serve citizens and to facilitate other town officials doing the same.

I will listen.  I will listen to neighbors and to community leaders.  I will listen to long-serving town officials, too: even if they are on the “other side” politically, experience entitles them to being taken seriously by their Mayor.  

I will be open to bright ideas, whether they come from Democrats, or Republicans, or Independents.  I won’t apologize for being a Republican, but I won’t vet an idea on the basis of party image, either.  

I will be the enemy of red tape and regulation for regulation’s sake.  I will promote a safe and level playing field, and I will do it with as little intrusion as possible.  

Now Stop & Shop is leaving East Hartford too.  This trend is not sustainable.  What will I do to control local government, costs, attract and keep businesses, etc. for the long range wellness of EH?

Fewer and more rational regulations are a priority.  Developers, builders, and contractors have shared with me their aversion to investing in East Hartford due to burdensome regulations and fees.  As Mayor I will work to change this, making East Hartford a welcoming place for new investment.

Reducing taxes is another priority.  I think we’ve forgotten that taxation is not just an economic issue.  It’s also a freedom issue.  Who has the right to decide how your hard-earned income will be spent – you or Town Hall?  You do.  As citizens, we accept that some taxation is necessary for the common good.  Without it, we don’t have infrastructure, for example.  But taxation has spiralled out of control, and I will reverse that trend.

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