Weston First Selectman candidate: Chris Spaulding
WESTON — As Weston’s First Selectman, Chris Spaulding said he understands the importance of having an open ear to the community.
“My background as a psychologist is very helpful in knowing how to talk to people,” he said. “More importantly than knowing how to talk to people is knowing how to listen and understand what they’re saying.”
Spaulding, a Democrat, will run unopposed in the upcoming November election alongside Republican Selectmen Stephan Grozinger and Democratic Selectwoman Samantha Nestor. If re-elected Spaulding would be serving his second term as first selectman.
“I’ve always been volunteering in town,” Spaulding said of his original decision to become a selectman. “As that happened I started to learn about land-use, conservation, how the schools work and how the town works.”
He also previously served on the town’s Conservation Commission, a role he said helped him understand civic responsibility and duty, and taught him the importance of working hand-in-hand with citizens to accomplish a greater good for the town.
When running for first selectman in 2017, Spaulding said he made it a point to reach out and talk to people.
“When I ran last time I made it a point to knock on as many doors as possible. I may have knocked on 1,400 doors,” he said. “It helped me to get a good sense.”
This helped him comprehend a voice of the community that may not always be seen at late night meetings where there may be a loud minority, he said.
“Being able to reach out and talk to people is a motivator,” Spaulding said. “I do my work from the ground up.”
From listening to his constituents, he learned what many were passionate about, such as more transparency and more sidewalks.
“There’s some people who are proud we don’t have sidewalks. However, when I see kids walking in the street I’m concerned because I’m responsible for those lives,” he said.
One of the achievements Spaulding said he’s proud of is seeing a culture of engagement develop in the community. With his focus on transparency, he said he’s noticed the town become even more active in the municipal government with residents looking to fill local boards.
“Traditionally we would have openings forever. Now they’re lining up to do it,” Spaulding said. “People are really enthusiastic and excited about government.”
As he readies for a potential second term as first selectman, Spaulding noted one of the continued challenges will be mitigating a town budget that faces a number outside influences, such as the pension system of the state. Fixed wage increases and underinvested town roads are also a point of focus.
While last year the selectmen cut services at the transfer station to offset some increases, Spaulding noted he will continue to look to find ways to balance the budget.
Looking back on his first term as first selectman, Spaulding said he’s proud of the work he has accomplished and hopes to build upon it.
“I said I was going to look for alternative means of financing, I was going to work for transparency, look at ways to build community, and I was going to try and change the tone of the town,” he said. “I think I’ve delivered on that.”