Town Council Candidates

David “Skoz” Skoczulek, Incumbent

BiographyDavid Skoczulek, Tolland TC
I have lived in Tolland since 2013. My wife and I moved here to start our family, for the school system, safety, and the quality of life.

For work, I am the Vice President of Business Development for iCare Management, LLC. For fun, I enjoying cooking, spending time with family and friends, and volunteer and civic work. In Tolland there is a passion for and in the Town. Residents have strong opinions and are protective of the quality and way of life to a fault.

Why are you running for re-election to the Town Council?
I’ve served on the Planning Zoning Commission as an alternate and as a voting member, having filled the seat once held by Josh Freeman. I have served on Town Council since 2015 and am the Council liaison to Planning and Zoning, Blight Committee and Land Advisory Committee. I also had a role in evaluating the Water Commission when a sale was considered and vetting consultants for the Village Area and police services studies respectively.

Aside from my time in elected office I’ve served as the Chairman of the North Central District Health Department Board of Directors, the President of the North Central Area Agency on Aging Board of Directors, was Vice President of the Rotary Club of Manchester and have served on several other boards and commissions. I am also a practicing Paramedic.

What is your vision for Tolland?
Given that State finances do not look to improve any time in the near future, we need have a longer term plan for the Town and Board of Education. We have to continue to evaluate ways to diversify our tax base and improve quality of life here in Tolland. We need to protect our seniors and keep them in town while doing what is right for our kids.

I am working with the Manager’s office on reviewing consultants for the police services study and if re-elected hope to chair that process as we seek out the best and most sustainable law enforcement structure here in Town. I also hope to continue to focus on smart and effective regionalization. It is coming and we can either steer, guide and benefit from it – or let it happen to us.

contact: davidskoz@aol.com


Kristen Morgan, Incumbent  

Biography Morgan
I’ve lived in Tolland for 7 years; I moved here from Virginia with my family for my job as an Associate Professor of Theater and Coordinator of the New Media Studies Major at Eastern Connecticut State University. I also work as a freelance scenic and projections designer for theater. I enjoy working out at Star Hill, cooking and sharing meals with my family, and travelling. I love how helpful and caring people in this community can be. When someone is in need, I always see people pitch in to help out!

Why are you running for re-election to the Town Council?
I’ve enjoyed being on the Town Council for the past two years. I lead diverse teams of people at work, and enjoy working with those from all walks of life. I have experience in leadership roles in University Senate and various committees, as well as serving on search committees for administrative positions at Eastern.

What is your vision for Tolland?
The most pressing issues facing Tolland right now are the cuts in municipal funding from the state; these cuts are causing not only devastating results to programs and services in our community, but also painful divides between community members. I hope we can remember that we are all in this together and that we should work to protect the most vulnerable members of our community: Tolland’s working poor, our elders, and our children.

I would like to continue to work to encourage business growth in town, and continue to work closely with the Board of Education to support our wonderful school system.

contact: kmorgandesign@gmail.com


Kenneth TriceIMG_1712 (1)

Biography
I have lived in Tolland since 1997, arriving from New Jersey after being offered a position from Fleet Bank.  Currently, I still work in the banking industry and have held various roles over the years.  One of my greatest passions after my family is riding my motorcycle, which is also my stress reliever.  Listening to music and photography follow close behind. In addition I reveille in teaching young people public speaking and presentation skills, something I have enjoyed doing in the 4-H community. Tolland allowed me to build a home, live in a rural setting, which my wife Teresa and I love.  And it was the very best move I could have made for my family. My three daughters have had experiences growing up here in Tolland that they would never had had in New Jersey.

Why are you running for a seat on the Town Council?
I decided to run for town council to bring a different perspective.   I believe people are people regardless of their backgrounds and at the end of the day, we all seek the best for our families and happiness. Though I’ve never held public office, I can offer my experience of working with people in general to enhance our lives here in Tolland. The challenges we face due to the budget cuts to education, town services, and addressing our tax base will require ingenuity, compromise and a collective pulling together to resolve. Tolland and its future and the experience it provided to my family is something I’d want others to feel. It has been and still is a great place to live!

What is your vision for Tolland?
The budget issue brought to us by our state is the most pressing issue we collectively are facing. And instant solutions are not surfacing given the unprecedented situation we and others towns face.  We are in a sense ‘writing the textbook’ on how to address this problem. My years of managerial expertise may not yield a quick solution, but I like you realize we will need to pull together to resolve.   Our schools, growth and where we see Tolland in 5 years are issues I see as most pressing. Going forward, the key I wish to focus on is how to balance the lifestyle we enjoy in Tolland without slipping into a place that reduces the luster of what makes the town an attractive place to live.

contact: KennyTrice@outlook.com


Brenda Falusi

Biography Falusi
My husband and I moved to Tolland in 1998. He works at a company in Tolland; the combination of the easy commute and exceptional schools brought us here.

I am a stay at home mom who enjoys volunteering with my church and community groups in town. I also love listening to 80’s music, fishing with my kids, and reading. I absolutely love the community spirit of Tolland! We support our schools, small businesses, and each other. When we are faced with a challenge, we come together.

Why are you running for a seat on the Town Council?
This is my first time running for office, but I have spent years fully invested in Tolland. I have grown to love this town and the people in it through volunteer work with my church, youth services, public safety, and various civic groups.  These experiences have given me insight into many aspects of the town.

I’ve also created ties with the small business community in Tolland through social media, and try to use that platform to inspire others to support them. I’ve also used social media to help residents become better informed and engaged in town endeavors. I’ve been attending Town Council and Board of Education meetings for years to stay current, myself.

What is your vision for Tolland?
As a town, we have a couple of pressing issues. Crumbling foundations will affect the entire community as it has the potential to devastate many families and some of our small businesses. The lack of a budget at the state level has created some unfortunate scenarios with our town budget; hurting our community services and public schools, especially. We are also busy with opening the Town Charter and soon will begin a search for a new Town Manager.

The residents of Tolland have shown their endurance and dedication through difficult situations in the past – a few hurricanes come to mind. Just as we pulled together as a community then, we can and will do so now.

I believe that we are in the middle of some interesting changes and challenges for our town that are pushing us to lead the way. One example is our education system. I am intrigued and excited to see the expansion of programs offered in Tolland for the benefit of our community and our students. I am also encouraged that many more residents are taking an interest in the budget process and the possibility of new businesses in town. I continue to encourage more people to become involved in these initiatives.

contact: bfalusi@aol.com


Katie Murray

Biography Murray
My husband Matt and I moved into Tolland 7 years ago. We chose Tolland for the rural, small-town character of the community, the good school system, and the proximity to my parents who live in Coventry, where I grew up. I wanted to raise my children in a similar community to the one I was raised in, and chose Tolland over the neighboring towns due to the school system and proximity and easy access to the highway.

I am a data analyst at the General Assembly. I’m a data geek, and love to dig into a big pile of data, extracting interesting and helpful facts. Processing large amounts of data and presenting the information in an easily consumable way is one of my specialties. I spend much of my non-work time with my family. I love spending time with my three young sons, puppy and husband. We like to hike, go to the beach or just hang out in the backyard. I am also an avid reader, and Red Sox fan and enjoy folk/bluegrass/Americana music. I am close with extended family, many of which live in CT.

I love the people in Tolland. I have met so many wonderful people in town through my children, volunteer activities, or just chatting at Big Y.

Why are you running for a seat on the Town Council?
I will bring to the Town Council a varied political background. I have been involved with the Tolland DTC for the past 4 years, most recently as the Chair. This organization primarily supports the elected officials in Town, and I have continued this legacy.

My land use experience stems from the past 2.5 years where I served as an Alternate on the Tolland Planning & Zoning Commission. During that time, I regularly attended meetings and kept abreast of the various applications and issues in front of the Commission.

As a staff advisor for the General Assembly, I am exposed to and involved with a variety of state, regional and local issues on many topics including health, human services, banking, insurance, finance, appropriations, children, education, energy, environment, housing, labor, safety, planning and transportation.

I served as Vice-Chair in 2016 and as Chair in 2017 of the TDTC. As the leader of the Democrats in Town, I have worked to ensure that our elected officials are heard, understood and supported by the Democrats. I have helped ensure lines of communication between the BOE and TC are kept open.

What is your vision for Tolland?
We have spent most of 2017 facing a very uncertain financial situation. Right now, I believe that this issue casts a shadow on all other issues in Town.

There are a variety of other concerns that are going to need attention once the budget situation has been addressed for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. One of the prominent ones will be the financial outlook for future years. If the State’s budget continues to be delayed, we will just repeat the financial instability of 2017, which is not acceptable.

Other Tolland-specific issues include the future of our education system. Dr. Willett is one of the most positive elements of our community. His outlook and planning of our education system can position Tolland to be a regional center and leader of K-12 education. Tolland needs to continue to support his efforts so we can preserve this integral element of our community. Crumbling foundations is another issue that the Town needs to continue to face. This regional issue may very well have its epicenter in Tolland with more than 40% of our homes potentially impacted by pyrrhotite. The leadership of Steve Werbner on this issue is an incredible boom to Tolland, and we should look to our next Town Manager to continue in Steve’s footsteps. Charter Revision; Town Manager Search; TVA; a bus line to UConn; our tech corridor; a new sushi restaurant; all of these are issues our community will face in the coming months and years.

I am a believer in regional efficiencies. I hope to continue the work started by the current TC to collaborate with other towns to achieve regional savings. I believe there is potential for a regional police force – an initiative the current Council is exploring. We can continue to purchase equipment in coordination with other towns (such as a road line striper, which we only need to use on occasion). Regional education is one of the next issues on the horizon, and I believe Tolland can be a leader in this initiative.

contact: kstar.murray@gmail.com

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