Letter: Books Before Boxing

As an Alderman for 18 years, I have had the pleasure of representing the residents of Ansonia throughout both Republican and Democratic administrations.

I’m currently running for office as a Democratic candidate for the Board of Education. I have supported initiatives under both Republican and Democratic Mayors. It’s never been about politics for me, it’s about what’s right for Ansonia.

Residents were looking forward to hear our Mayor candidates, Republican David Cassetti and Democrat Tarek Raslan in a public debate.

Many seniors can’t watch these debates online, so an in-person debate is their only chance to meet the candidates and hear their views on the city. I was thrilled when I heard that a public debate was taking place, and that our own high school students would be writing the questions.

After having agreed to a debate David Cassetti told the organizers that he was too busy to debate, after a request to change the date was proposed by the organizers to not conflict with a football game.

Cassetti’s decision disappointed everyone, and it showed a lack of concern for the students who worked hard to organize the questions. Even people supporting Cassetti told me they were disappointed that he wasn’t showing up.

Mr. Raslan committed to the students to show up regardless of Mr. Cassetti’s attendance, but many residents decided to stay home as a result of Cassetti’s decision not to show.

The event went on as scheduled with Mr. Raslan taking the stage and students sitting alongside him prepared to begin with their questions. David Cassetti was not present, and organizers had not received any confirmation of his attendance, so Mr. Raslan was instructed to begin alone.

As Mr. Raslan was halfway into his opening remarks, David Cassetti interrupts the auditorium to take the stage like some sort of act.

I found this approach disrespectful to the students, to Mr. Raslan, and to residents, many of whom would have attended had they known Mr. Cassetti planned to participate.

Months ago Cassetti promised teachers, students, and residents that he would have a public debate, only to then drop out because he was “too busy,” then he shows up unannounced and late.

It’s also concerning that Mr. Cassetti was seen standing in the parking lot waiting to make a late entry. Does Cassetti think this is some kind of show?

As an Alderman, I have supported many initiatives from David Cassetti’s time in office, but I’m sorry to say that this stunt is a reflection of how his governing style has become in his second term.

Everything is a show. “Welcome to the Mayor Cassetti show.”

You know what? When our schools get underfunded by $1.6 million, and the Mayor says he doesn’t have time for students, yet he finds time and $10,000 of taxpayer money for a boxing program, I’m sorry but I’m not entertained.

These kids’ lives are on the line and Cassetti’s approach to this debate shows a pattern of a lack of consideration, planning, and priority for our students.

Personally, I’m tired of the Cassetti show, it’s not funny, it’s not cute to choose boxing over books.

It’s time to put Ansonia first, it’s time for a change and I believe Mr. Raslan is exactly what this city needs.

The writer is a candidate running on the Democratic line for Ansonia Board of Education.

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