Monday, September 16, 2013

Mayoral Debate: What's the Biggest Issue Facing Milford?

Are you going to the first Milford mayoral debate on Tuesday night?

Mayoral candidates Ben Blake (the incumbent Democrat) and Peter Spalthoff (Republican) will debate Tuesday night at the First United Church of Christ on West River Street. I'm told that this debate typically draws ~50 people - 20 Republicans, 20 Democrats, and 10 genuinely interested citizens.

The format of the debate basically just lets people walk in off the street and ask these candidates questions (the moderator does screen questions, just to ensure no on launches personal attacks, etc.). So, what do you want to ask these candidates? What's the biggest issue facing Milford?

No, seriously - I want to know. Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

As a reporter who covers Milford, my biggest concern for the future of the city is ensuring that its stays relevant. That is, it finds a way to be affordable; that it fosters cultural activities that don't just involve alcohol and oysters; that embraces things like bike lanes mixed-use development; and, the most important point, that it attracts new businesses so Milford has workforce and can attract people here.

Some of these things are being done, but places like New Haven are doing it more aggressively. Since 2000, New Haven has added more than 10,000 residents, according to the Census, and Milford has added around 500. Milford doesn't have to be New Haven, but it does to need to attract new blood - it needs to attract the next generation of Milfordites.

Whoever becomes mayor in November will be responsible for shaping the future of this city for the next generation of residents - be it millennials or immigrants - and will be in charge of keeping The Small City With a Big Heart relevant.

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