I'm a native Westporter. I attended Westport public schools, kindergarten through 12th grade. My family moved to Westport in 1953, when my father, Ed Vebell, the well-known commercial illustrator, came here for his north-light studio over the garage and to be part of the flourishing artists' community.

I know very well the character of this town. Who we are, where we've been and what it means to say you're from Westport. I know that we are very lucky to live in a town with such exquisite beauty and character. I also know that generations of Westporters have worked very hard to maintain and protect that character. From the fight against the proposed nuclear power plant on Cockoene Island back in the `60s to more recently the proposal to create six story buildings in downtown Westport and the current threat to the Kemper-Gunn house, there have been many threats to our small-town charm and historical character. Once gone, you can't get that back.

Preserving the residential and historical character of our town is paramount. According to the Town Plan from 2007, we must protect the predominantly single-family residential focus and small-town feeling of Westport ... and encourage the protection of historical properties.

In planning for our future, you can be sure I would do my due diligence to become fully informed on all sides of an issue.

Being a licensed commercial real estate broker, I work with land-use issues and planning-and-zoning policy and procedures on a daily basis. This experience will help me make even more educated decisions to best serve our community and shepherd our town as we move forward in the direction of responsible growth.