Name: Chris Barnes
Party, Board Seeking: Republican for Town Council
Family Information: Married to Stephanie. We have three daughters.
Occupation: Partner with the law firm of Reardon Scanlon Vodola LLP located in West Hartford.
Political Experience: First-time candidate. Current member of the West Hartford Risk Management Advisory Board and District Chair, Republican Town Committee.
Why did you run for office? West Hartford is a great place to live and raise a family. I decided to run for Town Council because I am concerned about the fiscal issues facing our town and the impact those issues will have on our ability to maintain the quality of life we enjoy. Our property taxes have continued to increase each year without receiving (and sometimes losing) additional services. The trend of higher spending and higher taxes is unsustainable.
If elected, what would be your primary areas of focus? Fiscal issues, including our property taxes, spending, and the town’s long-term pension and healthcare obligations.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? The unfunded portion of the pension is approximately $190 million. The town will contribute $17 million in 2013 and each year thereafter the contribution will increase. Assuming annual required contributions and an overly optimistic 8.125% rate of return, the unfunded liability is actually projected to increase. We need to bring our town contracts in line with the private sector. We cannot tax our way out of this problem.
What skills do you have that you could bring to the community? As an attorney, I am called upon to review and negotiate contracts, communicate effectively, advocate for my clients, and work to solve their problems. This background gives me the skills, knowledge and experience to be an effective council member in overseeing the town’s government. The Town Council is the forum for resident issues, concerns, and viewpoints, and, to be most effective, we need a balance of representation and viewpoints on the Council.Anything else you would like to share? Please see my blog on the Patch (Chris Barnes for Town Council), and my Facebook page (Chris Barnes for West Hartford Town Council 2013). Email me with any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.