Bio and Candidate Statement for Bob Lessler
I'm a 31 year Easton resident, married 37 years, with two children who attended Easton public schools from K-12. I was graduated from Union College -1978 and American University Washington College of Law, JD, 1981. I'm an attorney, Clerk of the Bridgeport Juvenile Court.
I have served on Easton's Board of Finance s from 1994 – 1997; Board of Selectmen: 1997 – 2001 and 2003 – present, and the HKMS Building Committee: 1997 – 2001
With twenty-two years on the Board of Selectmen and four years on the Board of Finance, I have a wealth of experience and institutional memory to offer. As both a minority and a majority member of the Board of Selectmen, I have a strong record of accomplishment and advocacy on issues such as support for our public schools, open space preservation and acquisition, senior tax relief, achieving diversity and balance on appointed boards, common sense land use planning, and pursuing efforts to reduce the tax burden. In these past two years, I led the 175th anniversary celebration committee, led the drafting of our new ethics ordinance, offered key provisions to our new land use ordinance and supported our move into the Westport Weston Health District (soon to be the Aspetuck Health District). And I have always worked in a bipartisan manner with my colleagues of whichever party.
In the next two years, we will have lots of work to do as we emerge from the pandemic. While the pandemic has been a nightmare, it taught us things: technology can bring local government closer to the people, town hall work can be more flexible, and we can take care of each other.
Voting a Democratic slate in 2021 will give us the best chance to keep Easton going forward.
Thank you for the opportunity to continue to serve.
In the next two years, we have much work to do in Easton. With your support, I hope to play an important role in getting that work done as a member of the Board of Selectmen. The most important thing we need to do is return to treating each other as neighbors and not as partisans in state and national battles that have no bearing on our lives here. We need to appreciate each other more and recognize that we all want to talk about things that will make a difference to us here in Easton. And that we all care about what is in the best interests of our town. Let’s not drag the fights and issues of others - that are designed to divide us – into our community. Let’s be better.
In the next two years, we must agree on a location for the new EMS building and perhaps break ground, if not move into a new facility. It is long overdue. Finally, we have most of the funding in place. So let’s get going.
Last, we need to get every eligible resident vaccinated so we can stop the spread or mutation of Covid 19 in our town. This is the easiest thing in the world. Vaccines are safe, effective and free. There is no reason to wait. If you are 12 or over, get the jab. Keep yourself safe. Keep your neighbors safe.
Recently, resident Grant Monsarrat challenged me to name five things I have accomplished in my nearly 22 years on the Board of Selectmen. He was obviously trying to belittle my contributions. First, it should be noted that no single member of any board or commission can accomplish anything by themselves. You need a majority to get things done. On our board, that means at least two people must agree. Other boards require even more members to adopt anything. Second, the chair of each board tends to drive the work of the board and that is certainly true of the Board of Selectmen. Nevertheless, a mere selectman can seize the initiative or take the lead on an issue. A mere selectman can do more than just cast a vote.
Here are just a few of the things that I either spearheaded or played a leading role on bringing to the table during my tenure:
- Leader of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Easton committee.
- Leader of the team that drafted the new Ethics ordinance.
- Proponent of the threshold on land transactions which must go to the Town Meeting.
- Led negotiator of the agreement between Park & Recreation and the Easton Community Center resolve jurisdictional disputes.
- Drafter of the Land Acquisition and Preservation Ordinance.
- Main drafter of the ordinance establishing the Agriculture Commission.
- Appointed first woman to the Police Commission (with Emmett Wallace)
- Appointed record number of women and unaffiliated voters from 2003 – 2005.
- Key advocate for the strongest Senior Tax Relief Ordinance adopted in 2004-5.
- Helped write the original Tax Abatement for Firefighters and EMS Ordinance.