BRISTOL - âWe want every resident to know that Bristol city government works for you,â Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu told the constituents who filled the Bristol Eastern High School auditorium Monday night for the inauguration of the cityâs first female mayor.
âWe are all public servants and are here to serve the public and ensure that we deliver the highest quality and most cost efficient city services,â Zoppo-Sassu continued.
âEveryone who has the best interest of Bristol is welcome at the table,â she said. âI believe diversity in background and in opinion are our greatest strength. I also believe that how we govern, and what we prioritize, should reflect our core values as a community.â
âWe want Bristol to be a place where young, educated people want to live, work and raise their families,â where ânew college graduates choose to return,â that has âquality housing for residents over 55â and âneighbors become our friends,â the mayor said.
Zoppo-Sassu then recognized that âarts and culture can be viable economic catalysts for existing businesses,â can attract new ones, and âwith the right private developmentâ can create a âvibrantâ downtown.
However, she noted improvements the city could make when handling the opioid and homelessness issues.
âFor those struggling with addiction, and their families, we are here to reduce the stigma and connect them with the resources they need,â she said. âThe wrecking ball of demolition and the dozens of boarded up homes are a stark contrast to the homelessness issue that has been swept under the rug in Bristol for too long.
âThe list of social service needs - which includes chronic homelessness and/or waiting lists for housing assistance - are all quality of life issues that this administration will work to address through policy.â
Zoppo-Sassu then spoke about Bristolâs past and present âresilience and entrepreneurial spirit.â
âWe must all work together to ensure that Bristol is well-positioned to pursue additional opportunities for quality jobs in todayâs manufacturing, health care and technology fields; while at the same time, realizing that we must prepare and have a plan for the âwhat ifâ scenarios that we hope never occur but must plan for.
âNo business opportunity is too small,â she said. âSmall and mid-sized businesses comprise the backbone of our economy and while we are open for business to those who may be interested in making Bristol their home, we must also spend time and resources on those who are already here.â
Additionally, Zoppo-Sassu performed her first official duty as mayor and publicly appointed Councilwoman Mary Fortier as acting mayor for the next three months in the event of Zoppo-Sassuâs absence.
âShe is the most senior council representative so there is that, but I also wanted to send a message to the dozens of young girls who wanted to come out and vote with their parents - and asked to have pics taken - and the overwhelming response to the Youth Cabinet and their desire to serve once we transition. I underestimated how young girls viewed this election.
âI will be rotating among all council members on a quarterly basis,â Zoppo-Sassu told the Press. âNaming Mary first was symbolic of the history being made, in deference to her seniority, and to be part of the history.â
Councilors Gregory Hahn, Josh Medeiros, Peter Kelley, Dave Preleski, Fortier and Dave Mills were also sworn in, as well as city Treasurer Tom Barnes and Board of Assessment Appeals members Mary Alford, Thomas Ragaini and Shirley Salvatore.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-973-5088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @burgioBP.