18 July 2007

Westport Endorses Candidates for November


WESTPORT, July 18, 2007 – The Westport Republican Town Committee (RTC) has endorsed candidates for the various town boards and commissions elections this November. The candidates were recommended by the RTC’s Nominating Committee, chaired by Steven Violette, and their endorsements were unanimously approved by the full RTC on Tuesday, July 17.

”We are very encouraged and proud of the experience, qualifications and leadership potential represented in our slate of candidates for November’s election,” remarked Bob Zappi, Chairman of the Westport RTC. “Our candidates embody the RTC’s most valued principles: commitment to working in a fair and bi-partisan manner; dedication to the welfare of Westport; and support for the free exchange of ideas, spirited debate, and respect that are crucial parts of the democratic process. Our candidates are leaders in their chosen fields, active and established residents of Westport, and individuals with strong integrity and commitment. I firmly believe that Westporters will agree that these candidates can bring tremendous value to our town’s government.”

The Board of Finance

Smart and responsible stewardship of Westport taxpayers’ resources is a hallmark of the RTC’s mission and role in the Board of Finance. These four candidates represent the best opportunity for these principles to be put into practice.

Charlie Haberstroh is a 2003 elected member of the Board of Finance with over 30 years of financial experience. He is owner of Westport based Castlekeep Investment Advisors which he established in 2001 and was formerly with Chase, UBS, Barclays and ABN AMRO. He represented District 3 on the RTM from 2001 to 2003. Charlie recently completed his term as president of the Westport Sunrise Rotary. He and his wife, Patty, have lived in Westport for 18 years and have four children that went through the Westport school system. He is a member of the Longshore Men’s Golf Association, the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce and the Saugatuck Rowing Club.

Ed Iannone is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald with 20 years of financial experience including positions at Salomon Smith Barney and JP Morgan. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy, Ed served in logistical, budgeting and financial roles in the Navy onboard a Destroyer and then as a contracting officer for the government. Ed coaches third and fourth graders in the Westport Lacrosse Association. He and his wife, Malvina have three children, the oldest of which enters kindergarten in the Westport schools this September.

Alan Phillips is a Certified Public Accountant with over 30 years experience as a CFO and entrepreneur. He is co-owner of the SportsCenter of Connecticut which includes the Golf Center of Connecticut and The Rinks at Shelton. He was President of Equilease Financial Services and Owner of Diversified Asset Group, both nationwide equipment finance companies. Alan is also a Past President of the Conservative Synagogue. He and his wife, Barbara, and their four children have lived in Westport 19 years.

Stewart Reifler is an Attorney with Vedder Price and heads the Executive Compensation Practice Group at his firm’s New York office. He was formerly with Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP. Stewart is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Westport Public Library. He and his wife, Sheryl, have lived in Westport for 15 years and have one child that went through the Westport school system.

“This team is extremely qualified for the Board of Finance. Their great technical training, years of experience and commitment will be an asset to the Town of Westport,” said Steven Violette, chairman of the RTC Nominating Committee. “Westport is fortunate to have such a qualified team willing to serve the public”.

Board of Education

Westport Republicans believe that the primary mission of the educational system is to benefit the children and families of Westport and assist in their aim to be strong and contributing members of our society. We maintain our support of the school system which is among the town’s most prized assets. It is after all a primary reason why so many families choose to make Westport their home. Our candidates this year embody this principle and are committed to maintaining and even raising the standard of the already world-class caliber of our school system.

Michael McGovern has served on Westport’s Board of Education since 2005. He is Head of Leveraged and Acquisition Finance, Americas at HSBC Securities Inc, the world’s third largest bank. Prior to HSBC, Michael spent over 18 years in a variety of management positions including Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., and Chase Securities Inc. Michael has served on the Board of Trustees of Regis High School in New York City since 2004. He holds a B.S. from Manhattan College and an MBA from Columbia University School of Business. Michael and his wife Ginny have four children and have been residents of Westport for 11 years.

Sandy DeFelice is Director of Retail Sales for SAS Institute, a $1.9 billion analytic software and services company. Sandy is responsible for annual revenue growth and overall expense management. She specializes in multi million dollar contract negotiations. She has been with this company the last 9 years of her career serving in a variety of senior management roles. Sandy’s technology career has been spent traveling the US extensively as well as Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Sandy is a graduate of the University of Colorado. Sandy and her husband Victor have lived in Westport for the past 6 years and have a daughter entering kindergarten this fall.

“We are delighted to have two strong, talented candidates for the Board of Education,” said Steven Violette, chairman of the RTC Nominating Committee. “Michael has brought tremendous value the Board of Education over the last 2 years and we are so grateful that he is re-dedicated himself to serve another term. We are confident that both Michael and Sandy will work tirelessly on behalf of Westport’s two greatest assets, our children and our school system.”

Planning and Zoning Commission

Our candidates for the P&Z Commission have and will ensure a fair and transparent process that respects the rights of citizens and private property owners of Westport. The RTC believes that public land use requirements decisions should not be made in haste and these candidates will work hard to vet all proposals carefully.

Helen Martin Block has served on Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission since 2003 and has an exemplary attendance record. Helen has been elected twice as Secretary of the Commission and has served on various key committees, including the very active Affordable Housing Committee. In November, 2005, Helen was instrumental in leading and crafting the process that resulted in the GBD/S Amendment now in effect in Saugatuck, and she has spearheaded several initiatives for open space vital to Westport. Helen is deeply involved in prominent issues including the Gorham Avenue 8-30g application, subdivisions and CAM site applications, multifamily developments, and developing the Town Plan. Helen is a career educator and has developed programs for children and their parents for over 20 years. She is very involved in Westport’s cultural activities including the Temple Israel Mitzvah Day where she served as Chair and Committee Participant, Westport Community Theater, Make A Difference Day Committee, and the League of Women Voters. Helen holds graduate degrees from St. John’s University, Boston University and Columbia University. Helen is married to Jeffrey L. Block and has a son who will be attending Staples High School.

David Press has served as a member of the Westport Planning & Zoning Commission since 2003. David maintains near perfect attendance and major issues he has worked on include the Gorham Avenue 8-30g application, the ARS Stipulated Settlement, the Gault developments in Saugatuck, numerous subdivisions and CAM site reviews, text amendments and commercial projects. David is a municipal bond portfolio manager and security analyst, is Chartered Financial Analyst, worked as a Portfolio Manager for General Reinsurance and at a number of Wall Street firms. He is currently at Strategic Partners Investment Advisors. He holds a B.A. in History from Syracuse University,
and an MBA in Finance at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. David and his wife have three grown children and have lived in Westport for 22 years.

Tim Wetmore has recently been elected vice-chair of the Westport RTC and has served as Commissioner of Westport’s Planning and Zoning Committee since 2005. Tim has been involved in community service for over 17 years and has been an architect for over 20 years. He has served on a variety of school building committees and subcommittees. Tim is an active member of the American Institute of Architects, is NCARB Certified, and received a Bachelor of Architecture, from New York Institute of Technology in 1987
He and his wife Lorraine have lived in Westport for seven years and have three children who currently attend Westport schools.

Michael Krawiec is Director, Commercial Mortgage Acquisitions at Allianz of America in Westport. Prior to Allianz, Michael held several senior real estate positions at Genworth Financial and Mid-North Financial. Michael is currently an assistant coach for the Westport Little League. He is a former Treasurer and Board of Director of a 96-unit condominium. Michael was also a volunteer firefighter for the town of Darien, CT for seven years. He holds a BA in Economics from The Ohio State University. He and his wife, Sharon, have 2 children who attend Westport schools.

Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals

The RTC believes that each case brought to the P&Z Board of Appeals should be treated individually and judiciously. As such, RTC members serving this board will remain objective and work to find solutions that respect our laws and our townspeople.

Elizabeth (Liz) Wong is a land use paralegal and has been serving on the Westport Zoning Board of Appeals for the past 10 years, 8 as Vice-Chairman. As a Board Member, she has heard the applications for the renovation/expansion of all the Town’s schools, waste water treatment facility and transfer stations, Longshore, the Westport Country Playhouse, the Historical Society and numerous commercial projects. Liz has over 25 years experience in business administration, housing and community redevelopment, including work for the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal and has a M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University. She has served on the PTA Executive Boards of Kings Highway and Bedford Middle Schools as secretary, treasurer, and chairman of the Ways and Means and Nominating Committees. Liz was raised in Westchester and moved to Westport in 1981 with her husband, James Wong, M.D., a Norwalk ophthalmologist. She and her husband James have one daughter.

William (Bill) Harris is the Executive Director of the Army Aviation Association of America, Inc., (AAAA), a position he has held since 1995. He simultaneously serves as the Executive Director of the AAAA Scholarship Foundation, Inc. As Executive Director, Bill’s responsibilities range from meeting planning, publications and membership services, to advocating for the U.S. Army soldier and the Aviation Branch in Washington, DC. He was born March 31, 1953 and raised in Westport, Connecticut. He is a graduate of Fairfield College Preparatory School and received his BA in Psychology from Fairfield University in 1976. He resides in Westport, Connecticut with his daughter Veronica who he adopted in China in 1997.

“This year, we are pleased to present a very strong and deep bench of highly qualified and extremely dedicated civic servants to the P&Z Board and the P&Z Board of Appeals,” says Steven Violette, chairman of the RTC Nominating Committee. “Among the six candidates is over 150 years combined experience working on relevant issues in and outside town government.”

Board of Assessment Appeals

Westport Republicans advocate responsible fiscal management and know that includes fair property value measures. Respect and fairness for the taxpayer is a key principle of the RTC. In our candidate Garson Heller, Westporters will find someone of integrity and honesty who will work diligently to promote fairness.

Garson Heller has served on the Board of Assessment Appeals since 1983.
“In Garson, the RTC is proud to present great experience and a fair-minded advocate for each Westport property owner,” remarks Steven Violette, chairman of the RTC Nominating Committee. “The RTC knows the challenge of keeping assessments and property taxes low and Garson is equal to the task.”

About the Westport RTC

The Westport RTC consists of 40 members who are elected at caucuses by registered Republicans in the nine Representative Town Committee districts. The RTC meets at 8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the Westport Town Hall. Additional information about the RTC can be found at www.westportrepublicans.com.