Plumb Memorial Library played host on Sept. 4 to an event that not only highlighted some of Shelton’s candidate hopefuls but also was a coming out party for a new community organization.

The Shelton Community Vision Coalition, a nonpartisan, roundtable discussion group focusing on multiple voices contributing ideas to a vision of the Shelton’s future, formed in February but used the Meet the Candidates event last Wednesday as its first formal citywide event.

“We gather to brainstorm and share ideas in the hope of contributing to a future Shelton that is ready to adapt to a rapidly evolving constellation of changes,” said Anne Gaydos, who co-chairs the group along with Amanda Kilmartin, both Board of Education members, Republican and Democrat, respectively.

“What will the city of Shelton be in 2030? How can a strong sense of community — linking multiple generations, local businesses, large and small local government and public agencies be sustained, making us caring neighbors? SCVC is an ad hoc, nonpartisan group of Shelton community members gathering as thought partners to engage in conversation about aspects of the future of our city,” added Gaydos.

The organization is made up of elders and young people, business representatives and artists, educators, librarians and elected officials, according to Gaydos, adding that the group has already held sessions on such topics as riverfront development, intergenerational initiatives and the role of the arts in Shelton.

The group’s mission statement is “to advocate for a nonpartisan vision of the city of Shelton that strengthens our sense of community and links multiple generations, local businesses, public agencies (libraries, schools, recreational facilities, etc.), community members and leaders.” This coalition will seek to:

● Define and facilitate communication of community priorities

● Magnify the voice of the community in policy decisions

● Promote community-wide discussion and engagement in policies, projects and initiatives that impact the lives of Shelton residents

● Share ideas that contribute to and maintain our common vision in an environment of continual change

On Sept. 4, the SCVC sponsored the first of a series of Meet the Candidates events, this one inviting any and all candidates on the ballot for the Sept. 10 Republican primaries and was moderated by Shelton High senior and group member Siddharth Jain.

“It was an honor to meet the candidates and hear their views. I’m excited to see residents enthusiastic about local politics,” said Jain. “The future of Shelton is very bright.”

It was not a debate, said Gaydos, but rather a chance for candidates to introduce themselves and to give a summary of their ideas. Among those who introduced themselves to the community were Board of Aldermen incumbents Anthony Simonetti and Jim Capra; Republican Board of Aldermen hopefuls Mike Gaydos, Greg Tetro and Peter Squitieri; Board of Education candidates Don Stanziale, Jr., Mark Holden, Carl Rizzo, Tom Minotti, Kathy Yolish, Anne Gaydos, Jim Orazietti, Amy Romano and Ben Perry; and Planning & Zoning candidates Chris Jones, Dave Eldridge and Nancy Dickal.

“The atmosphere in the room was mostly congenial,” said Gaydos, adding that this was to be a nonpartisan event, simply to introduce candidates to the community. “Many stayed after the presentations for snacks and to learn more. The entire event was live-streamed on Facebook.”

Gaydos said the SCVC will also sponsor a candidate forum for the general election in mid-October. The official date and details will be announced soon. Along with Gaydos, Kilmartin and Jain are fellow members Deb Hansen, Bing Carbone, Porter McKinnon, Flahn Manly, Joan Stokes, Ken Saranich, Claire Santa, Jonathan Dias, Kindja Mweze, Diana Meyer, Ramon Peralta, Dennis Brotherton, Tina Genova, Peter Squitieri and Greg Tetro.

The Shelton Community Vision Coalition can be reached at sheltoncvc@gmail.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pg/SheltonCommunityVisionCoalition.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com