As published in the Record Journal, Wednesday January 16, 2013
WALLINGFORD - Democrat Jason Zandri knows the introduction of new technology to Town Hall alone isn’t enough to defeat longtime Republican Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.
In November, the 44-year old town councilor announced his intention to seek his party’s nomination for mayor. In past elections Democrats have tried, and failed, to paint Dickinson as out of touch with modern technology.
“Yes, technology is going to be part of the platform but I am far from laying all of my bets on that; leveraging technology for more ease of access, more open government, more services available will come as part of a calculated effort to streamline work that needs to be done and make our government more efficient,” Zandri wrote recently on his blog.
Zandri’s mayoral campaign held a kickoff meeting last week attended by about 20 supporters, he said.
Dickinson said Tuesday he hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll run again for the seat he’s held since he won his first election in 1983.
“Right now, especially going into budgets, I’m just swamped,” he said. “It’s a decision I have to make at a point when I’m not quite so overwhelmed. Each thing has it’s time. It’s not time for me to deal with that yet.
Zandri said he wants to tackle many issues with his campaign, including the introduction of more affordable housing and lowering the income requirement for seniors to qualify for a tax credit from the town.
He’s adopted a campaign slogan of “Moving Wallingford Forward,” and is working on developing a strategic plan of where he’d like to see the town in 10 or 15 years, with visions of a proposed Incentive Housing Zone and a new commuter rail line rejuvenating the downtown.
Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Avallone said there are other important issues besides technology.
“The Incentive Housing Zone is a huge issue, the railroad is a huge issue,” Avallone said.
The message of technology has been lost with voters in previous elections, Zandri said. It’s not just about adding email and Internet access, it’s about using technology as a tool to make workers more efficient, and when possible,consolidate jobs or reduce positions through attrition.
But Dickinson said he wasn’t so sure that technology expenditures would result in savings.
“It’s something that has to be closely analyzed,” he said.
Zandri has named 25-year old David Leonardo as his campaign manager. Leonardo, who ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the Board of Education in 2011, previously interned on John Larson’s congressional campaign and helped with the mayoral campaigns of Dan Drew in Middletown and Vincent F. Testa Jr. in Wallingford.
“I wanted a younger individual tapped into that age group that’s not represented well at election time,” Zandri said.