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Raslan: Beating The Odds And Why I’m Running For Mayor Of Ansonia

by Tarek Raslan | GUEST COLUMN | Aug 1, 2017 3:24 pm

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Posted to: Ansonia, Ansonia Election 2017, Letters To The Editor

I am running for Mayor of Ansonia to bring innovative, community-focused ideas to revitalize our city. New to politics and Ansonia, I’m ready to collaborate and go to work for the community. I have spent my professional career recognizing potential and developing value, and I see so much untapped potential in Ansonia. A bright future for Ansonia depends on our ability to cultivate innovation. Together we can build unique learning, recreation, job training, and entrepreneurship opportunities that prepare all of our residents to succeed in tomorrow’s economy. 

In a world that often overlooks the value of people or places that are different, I’ve had to work harder and be innovative to succeed. I struggled in school, grappling with an overabundance of energy that made classroom learning difficult. I left school at 16 with a promise to my parents that I’d get a job and a GED. Growing up on a motocross track I wasn’t risk averse, but the odds were against me succeeding.

I had to seek value and opportunity where others didn’t. When I first left school, I was working 16-hour days as an HVAC apprentice during the day and pizza delivery driver at night. It was long, hard, honest work, but I found an environment where I could both learn and play to my strengths.

Fifteen years and a lot of 16-hour days later, I can say that I’ve beaten the odds and lived many of my dreams; graduating from college with honors, starting a student publication in Economics, working for world leading financial and marketing companies in New York City and London, starting my own real estate business, marrying my lovely wife Tamsin, and living connected to my family and community.

I’ve succeeded because my own personal experiences have allowed me to recognize potential where others don’t, and by helping people, places, and organizations play to their strengths. The skills that I’ve acquired throughout my life give me unique insight and ability to unlock the value and potential in Ansonia.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen Ansonia’s strengths and weaknesses through my local real estate and community work. I’ve analyzed most of the local real estate development opportunities. I’ve volunteered hundreds of hours and invested thousands of dollars into local history, parks, arts, and youth programs.

I’ve learned that I personally love and see the value in Ansonia, so much so that I’ve invested here, started a business here, and convinced family and friends to move here. However, Ansonia doesn’t fit the mold of how we often define a successful town in Connecticut.

Ansonia’s unique strengths remain largely unrecognized, undefined, undeveloped, and poorly advertised. Our derelict factory buildings and densely populated semi-urban landscape is different than the image of the “ideal” typical suburban town. We’re not playing to our strengths, we’re operating like a fish that’s trying to improve our ability to climb a tree. We’ve subjected our city to a death by a thousand city hall cuts that diminish our image, compromise community and public safety, and risks permanently losing what makes Ansonia truly unique and valuable. If Ansonia wants to beat the odds and compete in the future economy, we need to honestly and intelligently play to our strengths and plan for the future. We need to change the game.

The writer is the Democratic Party’s nominee for Mayor of Ansonia.

The Valley Indy welcomes letters to the editors of no more than 550 words.

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