by Kristina Vakhman
Molly McGuire is the youngest candidate in the City Council race for New Britain’s Ward One, but the 2016 Central Connecticut State University graduate does not view her age as an obstacle in improving the city where she was “born and raised.”
“I grew up right on Walnut Hill Park,” McGuire said. “I’ve lived there all my life. I recently just got involved in politics by running for City Council. Being a young woman who was born and raised here, I think that’s a benefit I can bring to the City Council.”
For McGuire — who works in perhaps one of the smallest offices at CCSU’s James J. Maloney Hall as an art show and exhibit curator — the biggest issues to tackle are public education and the safety of the city’s drinking water.
“I know we’re not super high up on the list for how much we spend per student,” McGuire said in regards to school funding. “That’s something that should probably be addressed.”
McGuire also called for improvements with getting students with disabilities “the help they need before they graduate.” Additionally, she noted the necessity for a more “balanced” learning environment so that students “don’t feel like the teacher’s [are] just talking at them.”
“Making the teachers look like the students and making sure everything is balanced [is important]. If you have teachers that aren’t from New Britain that don’t look like the kids or don’t know where the kids are coming from culturally, the kids [don’t] feel connected,” McGuire said. “Also, getting the schools to gear the students more towards getting jobs and thinking about practical uses of your time… [and] training kids to understand what they can do when they get out of high school [is important].”
In terms of protecting New Britain’s “really good” drinking water, McGuire cited halting the proposed expansion of Tilcon Connecticut Inc., whose mining operations would move closer to Ward One’s residents and into its watershed. Mayor Erin Stewart and Republican City Council members have supported the expansion.
“Our water resources are… an ever-growing resource that [are] more important than oil or gas or gold. That’s a future asset that you want to keep safe,” McGuire said. “The people who live near the Tilcon Mining Company already feel the blasts every day. Their foundations are cracking and if they move any closer, it’s just going to get worse and people aren’t going to want to buy homes or stay in New Britain or in Ward One. They won’t want to buy houses that are cracked and falling apart and they won’t want to deal with the blasts.”
McGuire is on the Democratic ballot alongside Veronica T. DeLandro. Both women were nominated by Democratic mayoral candidate Merrill Gay as the best fits to go up against incumbent Republicans Jamie Giantonio and Wilfredo Pabon on Nov. 7.
Republicans currently hold a 12-3 majority on New Britain’s City Council. All 15 seats are up for grabs, with two aldermen to be elected from each of New Britain’s five wards as representatives for their respective ward and five to be elected to serve at-large, or as representatives for the entire city.
McGuire will be battling for one of these seats, not bothered by her lack of experience.
“I’m learning as I go,” she said, laughing. “I’ve grown up helping out on campaigns. Of course, I studied art and I’m really involved in the arts community in New Britain, so I think that’s an interesting thing I can bring to the city council.”
On the topic of the arts in public schools, McGuire said “art in schools makes schools happier. It’s important that kids have an outlet and usually art is an outlet for a lot of people.”