Fairfield First Selectman candidate: Brenda Kupchick
State Rep. Brenda Kupchick is running for First Selectman after nine years in the state legislature.
Kupchick began her public service career on the Fairfield RTM and Board of Education before moving to the state level. She’s always been committed to local issues, which prompted her desire to return to town government.
“I thought I could bring my experience and my passion to Fairfield,” she said. “It takes compassion and common sense, and experience in local and state government, to lead the town.”
Kupchick is focused on economic development in Fairfield. She hopes to grow the corporate tax base and mitigate the residential tax burden.
She believes the town’s Economic Development Department is understaffed and that the issue hasn’t been made a priority by the current town administration. She cited the departure of General Electric, which she said should have been addressed more proactively.
A local business owner herself for 30 years, Kupchick wants to encourage businesses to come to and stay in Fairfield. She also wants to make sure seniors on fixed incomes aren’t being priced out of their homes.
“We need to keep a balanced population in our town,” she said.
First Selectman candidate
Age not provided
Current job: Co/owner of Peter Kupchick Heating & Cooling, State Representative for Fairfield and Southport
Education: Andrew Warde High School, NCC, Fairfield University
The most important issue in this election: Fairfield’s grand list has been anemic for 10 years. I will actively work with developers to diversify our tax base through “smart” economic development to relieve the high residential tax burden. I will create conditions and opportunities for public, private partnerships and technology while modernizing the town’s permitting process and services.
Other issues: Education, seniors, public safety, fiscal responsibility, strategic planning are all priorities. However, the situation regarding the “Pile” has illustrated a total lack of accountability, transparency and leadership from the top. I will work to restore the public’s trust and put strict controls in place to make sure this never happens again.
Family: Married to Peter Kupchick for 34 years. Both born and raised in town and raised our son Peter in Fairfield. My mother lives with us in our home. We feel blessed to have our parents and extended family in town.
Previous elected offices, community group affiliations: Elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011, currently serve on the Transportation, Finance, Revenue and Bonding and Housing Committees; Member of the Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Legislative Caucus; Bipartisan Fire and EMS Caucus, School Safety Working Group; Co Chair of the Animal Welfare Caucus; Constituent Services Representative for U.S. Congressman Christopher Shays (2002-2009) and in Constituent Services and Public Affairs, for State Senator John McKinney (2009-2011); Fairfield Representative Town Meeting from 1999-2003, serving as Public Health and Safety Chairman and on the Education Committee; 2003-2009 Fairfield Board of Education; Chairman of the Long Range Facilities Committee; BOE Liason Fairfield Parks & Recreation Commission; 1997 Founder of “One Voice” an education advocacy group; Past long time member of the PTA; Pop Warner, “Team Mother”; Gridiron Club; Former Fresh Air Fund Host; Long time volunteer for animal rescue groups and shelters; Volunteer for Operation Hope; active supporter of the Center of Family Justice
Campaign website: https://www.brendaforfairfield.com/
Kupchick is also concerned about what she called a “civility issue” in Fairfield’s politics. She thinks town government has become split dangerously along party lines, a trend she believes has been encouraged by incumbent First Selectman Mike Tetreau.
Throughout her time on both the Fairfield RTM and state legislature, Kupchick said, she has worked with people on both sides of the aisle to get things done. She wants to bring this energy back to Fairfield and set the tone as First Selectman for the entire town to work together.
“this is our town - this isn’t Washington,” she said. “We may have some different ideas about how to get to certain places, but at the end of the day we all want the same things.”
Kupchick also has her eyes on the Public Works pile issue, a topic that’s dominated town discourse this summer. Kupchick and her running mate Tom Flynn recently released a platform on transparency and accountability, which she is committed to upholding if elected.
She is deeply concerned about what she sees as a lack of oversight from the First Selectman’s office. She said Tetreau should have been more on top of the problem over the years, which could have stopped the issue in its tracks.
If elected, Kupchick said, she would restore oversight to the office and keep tabs on all town employees’ work. A self-described micromanager, Kupchick believes her personality is well suited to the task.
She made this clear, citing claims from local citizen Dana Kery that her many concerned messages about Gould Manor Park went unanswered in 2014.
“I can guarantee you right now, I will never ignore 11 emails,” Kupchick said.