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With no challenger to incumbent Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., there’s no contest for the two candidates running for the two openings on the Board of Selectmen (BOS). Nonetheless, both incumbent Scott Giegerich, a Republican, and Matthew Pugliese, a Democrat, took the time to speak to Harbor News about what matters to them about serving their town.
Republican Scott Giegerich
Giegerich moved to Old Saybrook in 1993 and since then has devoted many hours to volunteer service in the town. From helping with Little League and soccer to serving for eight years on the Parks & Recreation Commission, Giegerich has “some active involvement,” he says, “attending meetings, listening to others, and trying to bring all that information to the table.”
Fiscal responsibility is a principal issue for Giegerich.
“A challenge that every municipality faces [is] getting less funding from the state every year,” he said. This “means our local property taxes need to make up the difference. It’s a challenge to balance our needs [and] provide the services people expect to maintain the quality of life people appreciate. That needs to be done through prudent planning.
“I consistently say, You take a look at the track record for the last eight years under the leadership of Carl Fortuna and I think this town is in good financial shape,” he continued. “We added to our Grand List and as recently as two years ago we had a tax cut. We continue to progress and move forward, maintaining the character of Old Saybrook that people appreciate and expect.”
Democrat Matthew Pugliese
Local voters will remember Pugliese from 2018, when he ran against Devin Carney for state representative, an endeavor, he said, that “was a really incredible, transformative experience for me. Having the opportunity to talk with as many of my neighbors as I did...really has me excited to help our community, to provide a voice of leadership, and to be a leader that listens and looks for good collaborative solutions to the issues that we’re facing.”
Pugliese, who is chair of the Economic Development Commission, serves on a task force charged with updating Old Saybrook’s economic development plan.
“We’re aware of all the opportunities for growth that we have and challenges we’re going to face not just today but over the next decades,” he said, citing the need for “strong access to good jobs in our community.”
“Another issue for me is coastal resiliency,” he continued. “[A]s a seaside community, climate change is very much a risk for our properties, for our economic strength, and for emergency preparedness.
“I love Old Saybrook and I think it’s really important that we have a good collaborative group of leaders that’s going to work to improve the community for all of its citizens,” Pugliese said.