WOODBRIDGE >> Democratic first selectman candidate Beth Heller sees the challenges ahead, including state funding cuts, as \u201copportunities\u201d to build consensus and get things done. Town voters cast their local ballots May 1. Heller, who is deputy first selectman, is running against Republican Tony Anastasio, also a Board of Selectmen member and seasoned contributor to the town. Incumbent First Selectman Ellen Scalettar has chosen not to run, to spend more time with family. \u201cI love this town,\u201d Heller said. \u201cI raised my children here. It\u2019s time to give back.\u201d Heller recently received a Facebook endorsement from U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, who urged residents to vote for Heller and \u201csend a message to Donald Trump and the Republicans. Democrats are organizing.\u201d Heller, along with her husband of 40 years, Dr. Allen Heller, M.D., raised their three sons in town. Decades ago through parent involvement such as PTO, she got her start in serving residents through numerous boards and commissions. Heller is also an active member of the Amity Animal Rescue Fund and is chairwoman of the Woodbridge Animal Shelter building renovation committee. She is co-founder of the popular Summer Concerts on the Green. She is a registered nurse, but does not have an active career. Heller joined the Board of Selectmen in 2008, became deputy first selectman in 2009 and was in the top spot briefly after the death in 2013 of First Selectman Ed Sheehy. She said she didn\u2019t run in that special election because her mother needed assistance. COUNTRY CLUB One of the most controversial issues the last two years has been what to do with the Country Club of Woodbridge, purchased by the town several years ago after its owner had financial problems. Heller said she favors using the property for recreation, but the question should be put to residents in a referendum. No matter the outcome, she said there should be \u201cstrict limitations on development.\u201d Heller wants the club\u2019s pool to remain open for residents. \u201cI think we can do a better a job in disseminating facts on the implications of investments that preserve and enhance quality of life in our town, and we can bring the debate rapidly to closure,\u201d Heller said. \u201cI am absolutely confident that a well-informed electorate will choose the option that is best for Woodbridge.\u201d Like her opponent, Heller said she\u2019s dedicated to \u201cpreserving excellence\u201d in the Amity District and the town\u2019s Beecher Road School, and vows to provide \u201cthe necessary resources\u201d to do that. A top school system attracts young families, which results in higher property values, she said. NEW APPROACHES In light of probable state funding cuts to Woodbridge, she said she will look at new approaches to managing resources, such as: vendor consolidation; eliminating redundancies; sharing services with neighboring towns and school districts to maximize economy of scale; expansion of green energy; enhancement of efficiency to reduce utility costs; and renewed focus on increasing the commercial tax base. To increase the commercial tax base, Heller said she\u2019ll look to address the needs of the business community and to promote success. Like her opponent, Heller would like to avoid political \u201cpolarization,\u201d because she believes town government should address the concerns and aspirations of all constituents. \u201cIdeas should be judged on their merit, independent of their (political) source,\u201d Heller said. \u201cI don\u2019t like partisanship,\u201d she said. \u201cTown government is best when we work collaboratively.\u201d Voting is 6 a.m.-8 p.m. May 1 at the Center Building gym, 4 Meetinghouse Lane. The Democratic slate in Woodbridge is: Beth Heller, first selectman; Board of Selectmen Mica Cardozo, former state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco Jr., Teri Schatz; Amity Regional Board of Education Patricia Cardozo, Robyn Berke; Woodbridge Board of Education Nancy Yao Maasbach, Maegan Genovese, John Vultee; Zoning Board of Appeals Henry Nusbaum, Aldon Hynes, Jeffrey Atwood; Zoning Board of Appeals alternate, Yonatan Zamir; Ann Rubin, Board of Assessment Appeals.