Cindy Davis, Democrat

Age: 65.

Children: Jessica.

Occupation: Retired teacher.

Number of years at occupation: 30-plus.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 25 years.

Education: Graduated from high school and holds a B.S. and M.S.

Past and present political and community experience: Member of the Democratic Town Committee since 2015.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Preserve New Milford natural resources and bucolic charm and beauty: I would advance my knowledge of current regulations and monitor regulations to align with town's preservation of natural, historic residential, commercial, or industrial town properties.

Limit or reduce urban sprawl, prevent unsafe environmental development and promote alternative energy initiatives: The solution to safe guarding against sprawl and safety irregularities requires commitment and due diligence. Having initiated the anti-fracking waste materials ban in New Milford, my actions were successful in establishing a safety practice to protect the health while preventing fiscal or legal complications concerning contaminated materials harmful to our town's environment.

Encourage civility and cooperative discourse within commission meetings. Emphasis must be focused on productivity within meetings: A simple solution to resolve the civility breakdown within town meetings requires clearly stating the protocol so decorum and respect is identified. Rules of order are implemented and followed allowing all participants equal voice, equal treatment, and equal discussion of topics/issues of importance.

Joseph Davis, Republican

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Joseph Girardot, Republican*

Age: 53.

Spouse: Theresa.

Children: Sarah, Katie, 20, and Douglas, 18.

Occupation: Attorney for 28 years and corporate real estate manager for 20 years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 12 years.

Education: Graduated from University of Detroit High School, the University of Detroit with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Michigan with a juris doctor.

Past and present political and community experience: Member of the New Milford Planning Commission (2016-17) and Immaculate High School Facilities Committee (since 2015). Former member of the New Milford Planning Commission (2011-15, chairman from 2014-15, former alternate on the New Milford Zoning Commission (2015-16), former member of the Historic Commission in Novi, Mich. (1996-98) and former coach for New Milford Parks & Recreation youth soccer.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

The single most significant issue facing the Planning Commission is maintaining the vitality of the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development: The Plan of Conservation and Development is the Town's master plan for land use. As a Planning commissioner, my goal is to ensure that this remains a living document. We are approaching the time for the POCD to be refreshed. I will work with my colleagues and other officials and residents to make sure that the POCD truly reflects the needs (and aspirations) of the Town in this changing economic climate.

In the context of the Plan of Conservation and Development, it is essential that the Town, through the Planning Commission, fosters a climate of economic growth, while preserving property rights: It has become apparent over the years that development is slowing, in Connecticut overall, but particularly away from Hartford and the Long Island Sound shore. We need to foster policies that encourage economic development in our town, while preserving the character of our heritage

Like the national political mood, our town’s political mood has not been the best the past few years: We must learn to work with each other, irrespective of political party, to the betterment of New Milford. I am committed to doing just that.

Timothy Harkin, Petitioning candidate

Age: 49.

Spouse: Mikki.

Children: Tess, 20, Tony, 18, and RJ, 14.

Occupation: Database administrator for 13 years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 14 years.

Education: He graduated from Clarkstown South High School in West Nyack, N.Y., Cooper Union with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in civil engineering and Columbia University with a Master of Science degree.

Past and present political and community experience: Has helped with hospitality for the New Milford High School Grad Party since 2013 and has been an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals since 2010. Former member of the New Milford Pop Warner Board of Directors and past volunteer for the Hill and Plain PTO.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Plan of Conservation and Development: The town is required to produce a new Plan of Conservation and Development by 2020, and it is the responsibility of the Planning Commission to produce it and present it to the town. The POCD is a statement of policies, goals and standards for the physical and economic development of the municipality. It is imperative that input from all New Milford residents is taken and incorporated into the POCD. The POCD process will allow the town to think about development opportunities before they become politicized. Whether it is how the town addresses solar power opportunities, development of industrial properties, or the handling of infrastructure, the development of the POCD will provide the forum to have a discussion about what the residents of New Milford want for their town in a courteous and open manner instead of doing so through contentions, time sensitive arguments.

Town infrastructure: Whether it is the current state of the town’s roads, or how the buildings of the town are managed, many residents of New Milford are unhappy. The Planning Commission has a legal obligation to prepare reports to any improvements or changes to the town’s infrastructure, and that obligation has been ignored. I will do everything I can to make sure that the legally designated powers and duties of the Planning Commission are upheld.

Divisive nature of local politics: I am running unaffiliated with any political party. I am doing so because I am frustrated with the “us versus them” nature of both major political parties in New Milford, as are the vast majority of residents I speak to. Most residents here are tired of the arguments and conflict, and just want local officials to work for what is best for the town. There will be disagreements, but we can disagree without it becoming a personal battle. In my time on the Zoning Board of Appeals, I have successfully worked with members of both parties.

Julie Learson, Democrat

Age: 45.

Spouse: John.

Children: Jessica, 14, and Samantha, 13.

Occupation: Educator, theatrical costume designer for 20 years.

Number of years as a New Milford resident: 17 years.

Education: She graduated from Exeter Area High School, the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and English and from Northwestern University with a M.F.A. in costume design.

Past and present political and community experience: She is a 10-year member of the New Milford PTO, and a member of the Democratic Town Committee and the New Milford Hate Has No Home group.

What are the three most important issues facing the town related to the office being sought, and what are your proposed solutions to each?

Smart development: Using our Plan of Conservation and Development as a guide, I hope to help facilitate projects that create living-wage jobs, provide needed goods or services, attract visitors, and grow our economy. New Milford deserves a better future than a long corridor of half-empty big-box stores in between bustling Danbury and bucolic Kent. I want New Milford to be a destination in its own right, with businesses that offer more than cheap goods and minimum-wage jobs.

Riverfront revitalization: This summer, I was thrilled to make use of the New Milford River Trail along Young’s Field Road, and to see the Native Meadows Preserve turned over to town control. These two projects show us how we can turn our iconic Housatonic River corridor — from a repaired and functioning Boardman Bridge to Lover’s Leap Park — into both a successful business area, an enhanced recreation trail, and a protected nature preserve.

Our town Green and riverfront are fundamental to our character, a celebration of our history, and a potential area for responsible economic development.

I look forward to hearing ideas from our recently created Riverfront Revitalization Committee, formed to develop a Housatonic Riverfront Revitalization Master Plan, as well as from the forthcoming engineering study from Milone and McBroom on the remaining 8 miles of River Trail.

Incentive housing zone: When I moved to New Milford nearly two decades ago, we were excited to find an affordable home in a town with a good school system and plenty of charm. Between the housing bubble and the market crash, finding a good home for a reasonable price hasn’t always been easy. Projects like the proposed incentive housing zone south of Litchfield Crossing on Route 7 offers the possibility to develop land that can accommodate young families, older residents who wish to age in-place, and small businesses. A process that allows input from all is vital to protect from predatory commercial development that results in empty buildings and stripped acres.

*Signifies candidate is incumbent