North Stonington selectman candidates pledge to bring in business, students

North Stonington — In an election year characterized by few candidates, the two Board of Selectmen candidates are running unopposed. 

Republican Bob Carlson was endorsed by the Republican Town Committee, after defeating Mark Perkins and Marc Tate in a primary. Nita Kincaid, a registered Democrat, is running as a petitioning candidate.

Carlson and Kincaid are running unopposed for two seats on the Board of Selectmen, thanks to an ordinance adopted in March 2016. Previously, state law had said the losing first selectman candidate would challenge the selectmen candidates for the two seats. 

Carlson, who turns 64 in December, moved to North Stonington in 2003. He has served on the Board of Education for four years, three as chairman, and has been involved with several committees regarding the school building project. He said he wanted to give back to the town and started thinking about running for the board after First Selectman Shawn Murphy told him at the Wheeler High School graduation in June that none of the members were running again.

He said taxes have always been an issue in town, since North Stonington doesn't have a lot of industry and most money comes from property taxes. In addition to looking at economic development opportunities, he also wants to work with the Board of Education to market the school district to students in other towns.

The small class size is comparable to private schools, and it would give students from larger districts more leadership opportunities, Carlson said. Higher enrollment, even by five to 10 children a year, would also give students in town more access to classes, clubs and sports the district might not be able to provide otherwise.

He also said he would work to make sure that residents eligible for tax credits, including seniors and veterans, know about the credits available and can use them to their full benefit.

Kincaid, 74, said she had considered running for office for several years. She serves as co-chairwoman of the Hewitt Farm Committee, and after the caucuses in July, she decided to step up to fill the sparse ballot.

As one of the co-editors of the "North Stonington Quarterly," a town newsletter entering its fifth year, she said she wants to improve communication between the different boards, commissions, community organizations and residents around town. 

She felt the empty ballot spots were indicative of people thinking their voices wouldn't matter even if they did serve the town in an official capacity. She hopes to continue Murphy's work to unite not only Town Hall but the town in general.

Kincaid also wanted to push economic development, especially in respect to the town's Plan of Conservation and Development. She said two have been written in her 22 years in town, with the most recent one in 2013, and the town could both help solve some of its development gaps and maintain its rural character by following the plan.

Living on a restored 1750 farm herself, she said the town has a lot going for it, and the right development could keep it that way.

a.hutchinson@theday.com

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