By Andrew Ragali
Record-Journal staff email@example.com (203) 317-2224
WALLINGFORD — More than a year ago, a town councilor asked local resident Dana Camp to attend a meeting so he could publicly state his views on a certain topic. When Camp attended the meeting, his first, in January 2012, he was disappointed by how quickly an issue he felt strongly about was dismissed.
Since then, Camp has become a regular at Town Council meetings, keeping an eye on issues.
“I like to stay informed,” Camp said. “I want to know what’s happening in the community.”
But Camp said he hopes to be more than an informed citizen in the near future. Camp, a Democrat running for Town Council, hopes to become an informed decision-maker.
“I decided to dive into it,” Camp said about his run for Town Council. “I see there’s room for more improvement.”
At 28, Camp is younger than any current Town Council member. A lifelong Wallingford resident, he graduated from Southern Connecticut State University eight years ago with the goal of becoming a math teacher. A unique opportunity, hesaid, led him, instead, to start his own business. For the past seven years, Camp has owned and operated Business Integrated Technology Solutions. The business, at 350 Center St., specializes in consulting for the information technology industry.
“I’m definitely an advocate for technology,” Camp said. “But I understand that’s not the only thing that will make a difference in this town.”
To improve Wallingford, Camp said he believes in creating a culture of accountability,“from the mayor and department heads on down.”
“People want to call it micromanaging,” Camp said. “I think it’s managing properly.”
Town Clerk Barbara Thompson said Camp filed paperwork with her office on April 10, officially launching his candidacy. Thus far, he is the only candidate to file with the town. Candidates must have all paperwork into the Town Clerk’s office by July 10, in time for Republican and Democratic electoral caucuses to be held on the evening of July 17.
By filing early, Thompson said,Camp is not waiting for Democrats to endorse him at their caucus.
“He’s looking to fundraise ahead of time,” she said.
“I decided it was important to get an early start,” Camp said. “If we wait till the caucus, we only have a few months left to get mobilized.”
Camp said he also understands he’s “the new kid on the block,” and needs to start his campaigning early if he wants to be successful. To begin garnering name recognition, Camp said he plans to knock on a lot of doors. He also has started handing out small water bottles at public events. He said he handed out about 100 water bottles with a label that contains his website, www.danacamp.com, during the Memorial Day parade last weekend.
Thompson said Camp filed his candidacy with an exemption, meaning he can raise a maximum of $1,000. Thompson said a candidate who files with an exemption can re-file after reaching the fundraising limit in order to collect more money. According to Camp’s last filing in April, he hasn’t yet raised any money for his campaign. He doesn’t have to file his fundraising efforts again until July 10.
Camp said he hasn’t yet held any fundraising events, but hopes to.
“What that takes is getting outthere and introducing myself to people,” he said.
If Camp is not endorsed by the Democratic Party on July 17, he can petition onto its ballot or run as an unaffiliated candidate, Thompson said.
“He’s the kind of people that we really need to be involved in the political system and government,” said Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Avallone, citing Camp’s youth, intelligence and passion.
“And at this age, to want to be involved to make your town better; I really like Dana a lot.”
Avallone said Camp has a lot of potential as a future politician in Wallingford, but said currently he is not well known around town.
Republican Town Chairman Bob Prentice said he will learn more about Camp when campaigning begins.
"I don’t know anything about him at this point,” Prentice said.
Camp shows commitment to the town by showing up at almost every Town Council meeting, Avallone said. He also stays up to date on Board of Education activity.
“It really is encouraging,” Avallone said.