Democrat Stephen M. Smith, 48, is running for Middletown Planning and Zoning on the Realistic Balance ticket.
Education: BA in English, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa., MA in Liberal Studies, Wesleyan University, Middletown
English teacher at O.H. Platt High School, Meriden, 15 years
Why do you want to hold public office in Middletown?
Middletown is a great place to live and I think it is important not to take that for granted. That didn't just happen. It is the result of the combined efforts of leaders in business, education and the community, and elected officials working to affect change.
What experience do you bring to the table?
In opposing the proposed Washington Street development, I have educated myself regarding the Middletown Plan of Development, zoning regulations and case law related to land use in middletown and throughout the state. I am an independent-minded candidate who is eager to work with all parties to help maintain and advance the the qualities and characteristics of Middletown that make is such a desirable place to live.
What do you think the city's most pressing issue is?
As the father of two young children, I think the most pressing issue Middletown, and many other towns, face is education. I am pleased with the direction the Board of Ed has taken since the last election and feel there are several strong candidates on the November ballot. I feel that Planning and Zoning directly impacts this issue in that its decisions affect not only the revenue needed to fund education but also in ensuring that Middletown remains a desirable place to buy a home and raise a family.
What do you love most about Middletown?
I love the pride that Middletown residents take in their neighborhoods and communities and how that promotes a sense of belonging and a concern for the city as a whole.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love living downtown. I enjoy walking with my kids to the library, or down to Main Street for breakfast or up the hill for some music or a performance at Wesleyan. We have great neighbors who are always ready for a last minute pot luck dinner in the back yard. I used to enjoy working on my house, but not so much anymore.
How can residents keep up with you?