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New Town Council Chair Chris Aniskovich is a decidedly small-town kind of guy. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
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Nov. 20, 2019 was a historic day in the town of Clinton. Officially gone was the centuries-old tradition of the Board of Selectmen meetings; in its place was the new town council form of government. At that first meeting, the council voted to elect Chris Aniskovich as its chairman, which makes him the face of Clinton government for at least the next two years.
As he begins his term on the Town Council, Chris says he wants to find ways to preserve Clinton’s small-town values, while at the same time encouraging economic development to prevent the town from stagnating.
“I’d love to see us keep the small-town mentality, but we need economic development to offset taxes,” Chris says. While Chris says he understands the mindset of people who have lived in Clinton for decades and want to keep the town small, he also argues that the town can’t ignore developments that could revitalize the town.
“As a council and as a town we need to be open to those. We just have to make the right decisions to strike that balance,” says Chris.
Small town values are important to Chris, something he reiterates several times during the course of a recent conversation. Chris grew up in Branford and says he enjoyed his upbringing at a time when that town felt a little smaller than it is now. After attending college at Merrimack College, Chris lived and worked in Massachusetts for several years, but ultimately he and his wife decided a change in location was in order.
“I’ve lived in Clinton for 17 years. When our son was born, we wanted to move back to this area. We wanted a small town,” Chris says. “From the minute we got here it felt comfortable for us.”
In particular, Chris says that small towns like Clinton offer residents a chance to get to know their neighbors and to develop bonds with the community that may not be present in larger towns and cities.
“I like the fact that you get to know people. You can walk anywhere and you see people you know in the community,” Chris says.
While other towns of all shapes and sizes certainly offer their own unique benefits, for Chris “the feeling of a tight community outweighs anything else.”
Getting involved in the affairs of his town was a natural choice. Chris’s brother Bill Aniskovich was involved in local and state politics, including several terms as state senator representing the 12th District, so Chris says he also developed an interest.
The small size of Clinton is part of its appeal, says Chris, adding that it is more likely that he will see the fruits of his labor than if he lived in a larger community.
“It intrigues you; you want to get involved. I liked that in a small town you can actually make a difference,” Chris say.
Chris says that national and state politicians have more obligations and constituents to answer to than those serving in municipal government, and thus may not be able to be as attentive to the entire community.
Chris’s initial involvement with town politics came when he was asked to join the town’s Republican Town Committee. In 2015, he decided to run for a seat on the Planning & Zoning Commission, which he won. Chris served on that commission until he sought his Town Council position and his commission seat expired in November 2019.
For Chris, the change in Clinton’s form of government inspired him to seek a seat on the Town Council.
“In the bigger picture, I was excited we were changing our form of government. I felt that we needed people who would do the right thing for the whole town,” he says. “I think people should be answering to the people who elected you.”
Besides the town’s political realm, Chris may be known to some residents due to his longtime involvement in Clinton’s youth sports.
“I’ve been involved in pretty much all the rec sports. I love coaching and seeing the kids grow and interacting with them,” says Chris. “I think all sports are a great outlet for kids. For me it’s so enjoyable to be at the field.”
Currently, Chris is the president of Clinton Youth Football and Cheerleading. In his role, he’s responsible for making sure the whole operation runs smoothly. That means everything from running the concession stand and getting the field ready to tackling—no pun intended—big-picture issues.
“We want to try to get more people involved and filter into the high school,” says Chris.
Chris says that free time is hard to come by, but that he knows what to do when it comes around.
“If I could golf morning, noon, and night, I would,” he says.
Besides golf, Chris likes to spend time with his wife Litsa and their two kids Christopher and Lia.
As for his favorite thing about Clinton, Chris replies, “the shoreline. Being able to drive to a beach or a marina in 10 minutes. Other people have to go on vacation to find somewhere like that. To me it’s great that we have it as our own.”
The 2020 guide to the Madison Chamber of Commerce has arrived!