One candidate who is running for the Board of Aldermen is hoping that his second time around will bring him more luck than his previous experience did in 2015.
David Gidwani is running for 1st Ward alderman after losing a close race to the longtime lone Democrat on the board, Jack Finn, two years ago.
This time around, Gidwani said, he’s keeping the same approach as he before, but he’s more confident that the outcome will be in his favor.
“Campaigning has been going excellent,” said Gidwani, who has lived in Shelton for 16 years. “Even though I lost my election in 2015, I have always gone out of my way to help people who come up to me in Shelton, answer questions. Whether I was or am elected or not, my whole goal is to serve the people. It’s an honor to give back to the community, and that’s why I’m running for alderman. Nothing has changed in that regard.”
Gidwani said the possibility of Mark Lauretti not completing his 14th term as Shelton’s mayor should he be elected governor in 2018 is all the more reason to strengthen the city’s Board of Aldermen with “fresh, new blood” and ideas.
A minor hiccup
The only negative part of his experience running in 2017, according to Gidwani, has been that some of his campaign yard signs have gone missing.
“I cannot point the finger at any person or people,” said Gidwani. “I know a sign or two could go missing if it’s blown over by the wind or washed away by the rain, but eight to nine signs — that’s kind of shady. I chose to take the higher road and just replace the signs.”
With just under two weeks until the election, Gidwani explained that the missing signs were just a minor hiccup in carrying out the rest of his campaign.
“I’m a fighter. I will be in that ring until the bell sounds. I don’t throw in the towel easily,” said Gidwani. “Someone out there is worried about what I’m doing, but it doesn’t bother me.”
Battle of new faces
Gidwani is running alongside incumbent 1st Ward Alderman Anthony Simonetti and is opposed by Finn’s replacement, Adam Heller.
“Heller is also relatively new, but you can’t treat an election different just because someone is a newcomer. You won’t win that way,” said Gidwani.
As Heller has stated numerous times that he is grateful for the support he has been shown by Finn, Gidwani said he’s thankful for such mentors as Simonetti. Despite having the endorsement from the city’s Republican Town Committee and the support of Simonetti, Gidwani said, he knows that running a successful campaign comes from putting in work of your own.
“Jack Finn was very well-known and once again to Jack Finn for all of his years of service that he provided to the city of Shelton and to Ward 1, but you never take any election for granted. You have to knock on doors, get your word out there,” said Gidwani. “People constantly say that I’m sick and tired of people doing this or not doing this. Well, this is your opportunity to come out vote and vote for someone who will fight for you. Instead of sitting at home and complaining, take advantage of the opportunity to select people who will fight for you. Let me fight for you. If you don’t like how I do that, it’s a two-year term. You won’t have to re-elect me.
“It’s an honor that the party trusts me and has that confidence in me after putting confidence in me before falling short in 2015. It’s an honor that the Shelton Republican Town Committee has given me the opportunity to run and to prove that I will bring a new set of ideas to help everyone here in Shelton.”
While he has gone door to door in the community, Gidwani said, residents have expressed their concerns for overdevelopment. Despite what some of his supporters believe on that topic, Gidwani said, he shared the sentiment expressed by those residents.
He also said he’s noticed a trend of people doing more shopping online, and that is why he’s opposed to the building of a shopping center that recently opened on Bridgeport Avenue, as well as creating more residential developments.
“We were promised high-end retailers and what did we get? We got a Goodwill, Urgent Care. Those aren’t the businesses that we’re looking to get into Shelton. We have to listen to the people more,” said Gidwani. “People are shopping more online. Why don’t we just hold off before five or 10 years down the road, we have these apartments with no tenants?”
Funding his own campaign
As some candidates are asking residents for their support in any way possible, including monetary donations, Gidwani said he has funded his own campaign for the second time in a row.
“I know $25 or $50 is not a lot of money, but if that money can stay in their pocket and I can pay for my campaign and advertising materials, then I’d rather do that than to have someone donate money to my campaign,” said Gidwani. “I work hard to provide for my wife and kid. I feel that this is a community service and I feel better that I’m only going door to door asking for votes versus asking for money. That’s how I did it last time and that’s how I’m doing it this year.”
HAN Network’s live election night coverage returns this year, with live results, interviews and analysis on Nov. 7. HAN’s Kate Czaplinski and John Kovach will host the live broadcast, available on HAN.Network and SheltonHerald.com. It will include results from Shelton and towns throughout southwestern Connecticut.