The last year has brought vast changes. Westport was particularly hard hit by the nationwide recession and implosion of many once-venerable Wall Street firms. Challenging times require leadership that is up to navigating through periods of uncertainty. We need more than a caretaker and deserve a higher standard than "not screwing up." Now, more than ever, the financial leadership skills possessed by the First and Second Selectman are critical.

Our team brings together a corporate executive with 30 years of global experience who is well-versed on how Westport functions from his service on the Board of Finance, and a parent with an audit and compliance background with the know-how of our schools' inner workings from her time on the Board of Education.

Westport deserves leaders who constantly seek ways to deliver services more efficiently, not just once a year at budget time, or when the economy tanks, or when election day rolls around. We have the professional experience to strike the right balance between offering the quality of service that Westporters expect and spending within our means.

We will work with our schools to avoid the confidence-sapping town versus Gown conflicts that frequently arise. Westport has invested heavily in our schools and we are rightly proud of how vital they are to making Westport a great place to live and raise a family. Through our work on the Board of Education and the Town Maintenance Committee, we are in the schools regularly, talking with teachers, administrators, and students. We can work with our schools to get things done. Unfortunately, that commitment to engagement and a willingness to work with our schools has been lacking from the selectman's office for years.

A by-product of this disengagement has been a complete lack of progress in determining how the town and the schools can share best practices, combine services, and save money. Other towns in Connecticut have been doing this for over a decade, while we have made no progress. In this environment, these initiatives will be a top priority of our selectman's office.

But selectmen's responsibilities go far deeper. We're both longtime residents and remain committed to those community bonds that are integral to Westport's strength. Our seniors, a vital part of that community, should never have to sacrifice their dignity in order to keep calling Westport home. So we have developed new tax-relief plans based on compassion and fairness that we will bring forward once elected.

We must also protect our small-town character from commercialization and over-development. We must keep developers from exploiting our laws and enriching themselves under the "noble" guise of providing affordable housing. We oppose current proposals to increase residential property density along the Post Road corridor, new rules that will simultaneously remove our citizens' right to appeal zoning decisions, essentially driving residents to the courts in order to redress their grievances.

Westport is a wonderful place. A place deeply rooted in history, yet always looking forward. A place that provides generously for its seniors and children. A place that recognizes the needs of Metro-North commuters and tele-commuters. Westport is diverse and ever-changing, calling for leaders who can balance many competing needs while ensuring people are heard and feel listened to. Westport needs effective leaders who are willing to roll up their sleeves and make the tough decisions so Westport can be better tomorrow than it is today. We believe we represent that kind of fresh, active, "can do" style of leadership, so we are asking for your vote on Nov. 3.