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Candidate Q&A: Jodi Zils-Gagne

Jodi Zils Gagne Council member in the 2nd District.

The Roundup sent questionnaires to every candidate for this year’s municipal election. In an effort to properly inform voters, their answers are unedited. The goal is to give the candidates the opportunity to offer their thoughts on issues directly to their constitutes. In return, it gives voters the opportunity to formulate their own decisions on what they have to say.

What are your most pressing issues?

MBS and downtown revitalization.

How do you feel about Bristol’s marketing efforts, what would you suggest?

Bristol is doing a very good job at marketing itself and attracting businesses to the City. Many businesses have moved to the City in the past few years, and we have a AAA bond rating. I’m very pleased with the work done by Justin Malley and the BDA.

How do your thoughts and ideas differ from your opponent(s)?

I do not like to focus on what other people think or believe. I prefer to focus on what I believe and what I can do for the City. I ran for office to make a difference in my hometown and make a difference in the hometown of my children. Bristol is always first for me.

What are your thoughts on Bristol Hospital purchasing a portion of the former mall site? Will it help revitalize downtown?

When I first envisioned development for Centre Square, it did not include a medical office building. Since negotiating this deal, however, I have come to realize that having the building on the site will be very good for the City. First, it will start the construction process. When other developers see construction, it will, hopefully, spur more construction. Second, once that building is in place and fully functional, there will be approximately 300+ people there daily, either working or patronizing the building. I believe it is inevitable that other businesses will come to the are to cater to these people. Thus, I am very hopeful that the building will be a very good thing for the City and help revitalize downtown.

What is your position on moving City Hall?

The current City Hall is need of many repairs. The cost of moving City Hall to 10 Main Street or the old MBS will be high as well. I do not think I know enough about this project just yet to give a definitive answer, but I am definitely open to exploring the question.

Will you support a tax increase if it’s the last resort?

This is not a question that can be answered as a yes or no. An increase in taxes is sometimes inevitable. However, it really depends on why our taxes will be increasing. It depends on the budget for which department is increasing and the reasoning behind that increase.

What is your stance on crime in Bristol?

It appears that crime is decreasing. That could be attributable to many factors. Of course, the crime rate is always cyclical — it will go up and down, depending on the year and certain socio-economic drivers. I would like to think that the crime rate in Bristol is going down, also, because of the pro-active efforts that we have implemented in this City. We are fighting blight. We are taking a pro-active step in our parks, like Rockwell. We have police the walk the beat in the West End. We have a chief that cares about the police force and is highly respected in return. I could go on and on. There are many factors involved, but I am pleased it is on the decline.

Is social media helping or hurting Bristol at the moment?

Social media seems to be a necessary evil of our times. It is the quickest way to reach thousands of people. But it also seems to breed hate and negativity. People sometimes write things on their computer that they would never say if face to face with someone. It is so easy to type a reply or a comment without thinking of the ramifications of those words.

Additional Comments:

I ran for office to make a difference in this City. I believe I have tried to accomplish many things over the past two years, but my job is not done. I still have much more to accomplish in this City to make sure it is a place that my children will be proud to call their hometown someday.

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