Bethany 1st selectwoman explains why she’s seeking 8th term
BETHANY >> First Selectwoman Derrylyn Gorski said her experience and accomplishments qualify her for an eighth term on Monday, May 1. Gorski was elected for her first term in 2003, the town’s first Democratic first selectman since 1919 and the first woman ever.
Gorski and her late husband, Bill, moved to Bethany in 1984. They raised three daughters, all of whom graduated from the Bethany Community School and Amity, and have 3 granddaughters who all live in town.
“I love Bethany because of its ‘small-town’ appeal and how neighbors know each other and rally to help those in need.”
“When Bill died, we had two daughters in college and our youngest was only 10.”
Due to her husband’s health history, she found herself challenged economically after his death.
“It was the generosity of this community that allowed my daughters to complete college. Members of the Bethany Volunteer Ambulance Corps were at our home several times for Bill and once for me when our third daughter was born a month early on the bedroom carpet.
“Not only did they care for the patient; they cared for the children until neighbors arrived, going above and beyond their basic responsibility.
“Serving as first selectman is my way of giving back to this community which has been there for me and my family at our darkest hours and our most joyous moments. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a public servant for Bethany.
“I really enjoy what I’m doing, and I think I’ve done it very well. I’ve brought services and facilities into the community we’ve never had before, and I’ve done it in a nonpartisan way.”
Gorski believes that Bethany is a very special place.
“We are the only rural town in New Haven County and rural is what makes Bethany unique. Over 58 percent of Bethany’s land is undeveloped; either protected open space or privately held undeveloped land. We treasure our rural character, but rural character is much more than farms and fields and open space.
“It is a quality of life. Rural evokes a sense of our agricultural past. Rural accepts and acknowledges some diversity in its natural and man-made surroundings. We are not a sleek and manicured town. We are rural and rural goes hand-in-hand with our sense of community and belonging.”
“I am an advocate for Bethany in the world. My job is to bring as many services to the town at no or low cost through grants and various coalitions. The lack of state aid to the town is startling. In 1990, 24 percent of the town’s budget was funded through state aid, in 2016 that was down to 12 percent and further cuts in state aid to municipalities are a real probability.”
In 2015, she rallied the police chiefs in Orange, Woodbridge and Naugatuck when the governor threatened to close State Police Barracks-Troop I on Amity Road.
Gorski said she is proud Bethany is a clean-energy community, and has received $160,000 worth of solar panels, which have been placed on municipal buildings.
She said when she became first selectwoman 14 years ago, roads were in bad shape. Since then, she said she’s made it a priority to upgrade roads, which included a $2 million bond in 2011 leading to 10 miles of roads being repaved. She’s also worked to double the amount of funds allocated for road repairs from $300,000 to $600,000 in the annual budget.
Her administration has doubled the senior tax relief program and increased tax relief for veterans.
When asked why she is seeking an eighth term, she quickly responds, “I still have more to do for this town.”
Voting is 6 a.m.-8 p.m. May 1 at the Town Hall gym, 40 Peck Road.
The Bethany Democratic Party slate is: first selectman, Derrylyn Gorski; selectman, Clark Hurlburt; treasurer, Larry Eisner; tax collector, Fran Doba; Board of Finance, Ben Judd, Catherine Volk Erickson, Melissa Spear; Board of Education, Chris Pittenger, Namita Wijesekera; Regional Board of Education, James Stirling; Board of Assessment Appeals, Nancy Spagnolo, Esperanza Criscuolo; Planning and Zoning, Alex Hutchinson, Bob Harrison, Carol Lambiase; Zoning Board of Appeals, Shirley Lasch Goblirsch, Tom Mabry; Zoning Board of Appeals alternates, Mark Stricker, April Stirling.