NORWALK, Conn. – One of Norwalk’s Democratic mayoral contenders says he may be washing dishes next week in New Hampshire as he learns about innovative ways to govern Norwalk.
Council member Matt Miklave (District A), who filed the paperwork to form an exploratory committee for mayor on Nov. 15, is attending this year’s annual National League of Cities – Congress of Cities and Exposition, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 in Boston. The agenda for 2,400 leaders of United States cities includes networking and opportunities to learn about successful programs from the city of Boston and other American communities.
“I am looking forward to the conference, which will be my first,” said Miklave in a statement. “I am proud to add that no public funds are being used to pay my expenses. The exploratory committee will ultimately pay the cost of the conference, and I will be staying with my sister who lives in Manchester, N.H., to save on hotel expenses.”
Miklave added jokingly, “She may make we wash some dishes to pay my rent, but that’s what older sisters are supposed to do, right?”
This conference will focus on three overarching strategies for cities: Promoting Strong Local Economies, Building Sustainable Communities and Strengthening Neighborhoods and Families. Each of the strategies will be explored through keynote addresses, workshops, peer networking sessions, mobile workshops, leadership training seminars, the City Showcase, and the Exhibit Hall.
“As I explore whether I will become a candidate for mayor, one of the key issues for me to consider is whether we can implement better ideas for governing our city than those presented by the current administration,” said Miklave. “I have been a critic of the current administration and its failure to articulate any long-range plan to address the critical issues we face: the annual budget conflict and fight over the Board of Education, the absence of sustained economic development and job creation programs, and the failure to put forward policies to build a more livable, sustainable community. But it is not enough just to criticize the status quo. I want to be able to present new ideas and strategies for ways we can build a better Norwalk.”
While no one has yet announced a run for mayor on the Republican side, Democrats expect a primary this year, as former town clerk Andy Garfunkel, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011, has also filed papers for an exploratory committee. Garfunkel has not returned a request to discuss his mayoral candidacy.
There are also rumors that former police chief Harry Rilling, who registered as a Democrat after years as an unaffiliated voter, has been putting out feelers for a mayor run. Rilling has not commented.
Miklave said he will focus his time on meeting and listening to officials who have successfully developed new businesses and 21st century jobs, expanded housing opportunities for working families, attracted businesses to invest in the urban core, strengthened school to work programs, and promoted green energy and sustainable development.