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Andrew Campbell is ‘Enthusiastic’ About Run for Second Selectman

Attorney’s work in juvenile justice helps inform how he’d approach town governance

Andy Campbell is not new to politics. He’s been active in municipal government as a member of the RTM, and as such has had an opportunity to help shape Branford politics. Now he’s seeking an even bigger political role, running for second selectman on the Democratic ticket along with incumbent First Selectman candidate .

Q: What made you decide to run?
A:
I was looking to get back into town government and after I got back on the RTM this opportunity presented itself. [Earlier this year announced he would not run for re-election.] The opportunity was there and I thought I could work with the First Selectman. I thought I could help and I was very fired up and enthusiastic about returning to town government. I thought I could do the job. I do enjoy municipal government, especially here in Branford. 

Q: What sparked your political hiatus?
A:
In 2003 I decided not to run. I had been on the RTM six years before that. At the time my wife and I were anticipating a third child – we now have four. It was really about making the bed times. Our youngest child is now 5 years old and that’s not so much an issue right now. 

Q: Is there one project you’d like to see addressed first should you win in November?
A:
I want to make sure that volunteer organizations and volunteer boards and commissions are well supported. It’s very, very valuable work they do. My big deal right now is the Branford Early Childhood Collaborative, which offers low cost or no cost solutions. I see Branford as a whole as being reliant on all of the volunteers. Their work helps foster civility, appropriate government, appropriate civic engagement. These things can all be supported. Without them, the effect can be eroding away of the community spirit that we’re all reliant on.

Q: Which of your personal or professional traits do you think would be most beneficial to you as second selectman?
A:
Most of what I do is being a kid’s lawyer. I’m court appointed to represent children. As such, I feel for the little guy – people without money, parents, family trees. I tend to solve problems that exist in the real world. I know they require hard solutions, hard paths to success. I can be rather determined and strong-headed, but I absolutely abhor failure. It’s not an option. I work to find a solution. So I guess the associated traits would be optimism, determination, pragmatism.

Q: Why do you want to be second selectman?
A:
I want to give back to the community that’s given me so much. My wife and kids and I do feel extraordinary [lucky] living here. It’s a nice place. I’ve been interested in government a long time – the process of government... and, joining a winning team is easy.

Q: What do you think of your party and its goals for Branford?
A:
I believe the local Democrats are very invested in the future of Branford. It’s also chock full of good people. I used to be DTC chairman. I find that I’m in agreement with the Democratic Party, which is why I’m a Democrat.

Q: What do you think of the Republican Party?
A:
I believe the Republican Party is well intentioned regarding what’s best for Branford as they see it. I can’t speak to their goals because I’m waiting for further articulation. I’m waiting for the Republicans to express what their goals are. I truly respect, admire and look up to many of them [but] I would like to hear more from the Republicans.

Q: Is there anything coming from the Republican camp that you think could hurt your campaign?
A:
I could complain about things like the commercial vacancy rate. We disagree on the numbers. The Republicans say 25 percent, Unk puts it closer to 12 percent. But that’s not a problem for a campaign, it’s just a number. [More important to me is] the disaffection that many Americans have for government right now, substantially due to the economy. People look at deficits in Washington and Hartford. But [in Branford] we’re paying our bills. The town is well run and has been for a long time. What I don’t want is for some level of despair that exists there generally to sink down to town level. There are education plans, health plans, transportation plans going on. These are sorts of things that are percolating constantly.

Q: Win or lose, do you think you would run again?
A:
Sure. I would like to be involved.

Q: What kind of economic development would you like to see in Branford?
A:
I want the town to grow smart. I think that includes the essentials of the Bob Dow Plan [pursuing development on the outskirts of town, off of I-95 exits, to help attract nonresidents of Branford], but obviously it goes beyond that. The Plan of Conservation and Development, long term that’s going to be really kind of building to the edges of the Dow Plan, which I favor. Also long term, exporting a reputation of educational excellence. That will drive economic development. The census demographics show that we are trending away from young families. We can choose to attract anybody we want to our town. If we  attract young families we should strengthen the real estate market and [the number of] skilled employees coming to the town. Also, by focusing on kids I think we can cure some of the problems – for example, domestic violence, nutrition. Does it spur economic development to help drive down poverty? I think so. If employers are considering coming to Branford, they want to see parks, a thriving downtown, good schools. Employers should love those sorts of things because they’re good for their employees.

Q: What do you think you and First Selectman Anthony DaRos would bring to Branford if you win in November that your opponents wouldn’t?
A:
The experience and desire to solve the town’s problems in these tough times.

Lori Fogler Nicholson August 17, 2011 at 01:21 PM
After doing a social capital project for my senior thesis I found that Branford has an inordinate amount of domestic violence, assualt, robbery and larceny as compared to towns of similar demographics. I myself have had three incidents of larceny in the past year alone which have been reported to the police. You can blame it on the hard times we face however other towns have kept those numbers down. We do live in close proximity to a large urban center and I95 which may explain some of the data. As far as domestic violence is concerned...a large proportion of female victims are those who share a child with a partner they are not married to. Perhaps we could drive those numbers down if we taught young girls to avoid playing house when a commitment is not in the offering. The Dept of Public Safety has all these stats and although its an old fashioned message the DV data clearly shows that live together sharing a child are more prone to violence. My parents were right afterall.
susan Barnes September 18, 2011 at 05:31 PM
The thing that concerns me most about Mr. Campbell is his apparent lack of respect for the Constitution and the First Amendment. At his RTM debut as an APPOINTED member, he rose to interrupt a citizen with an obviously prepared speech to give his interpretation of a rule of the RTM that in over 50 years had NEVER been interpreted the way Mr. Campbell chose to interpret it. Despite his history on the RTM he chose his convoluted method to proudly shut down a citizen. At his second RTM meeting, he actually left his chair, strode over to a seated citizen whose commentary he did not appear to like, loomed over the citizen all the while scolding him. It strikes me that his election to public office would most detrimental to the citizens ofd Branford and further insult to the Constitution. I think this candidate should be reminded that this is the United States of America with government of the people, by the people and for the people and that there is NO room here for his style politics. I would urge the voters of Branford to vote for his opponent, Mr Cosgrove, who was ELECTED to the RTM, and who in the past two years on the RTM has shown himself reasoned, thoughtful, fair and willing to listen to and consider all sides of an issue, qualities are far preferable to the objectionable behavior exhibited by Mr. Campbell towards a citizen and his right to speak. For Honesty and Integrity vote COSGROVE 2011.
Rob September 18, 2011 at 08:41 PM
I am confused Ms. Barnes. Shouldn't be telling people to vote for McConnell/Cosgrove instead of just Cosgrove. Or are you only looking out for your family member.
susan Barnes September 18, 2011 at 08:44 PM
I am talking about candidates for SECOND SELECTMAN - not FIRST. If this is confusing you, I hope you don't drive a car.

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