Zoppo-Sassu sworn in as Bristol's first female mayor

Published on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 12:54
Written by Lorenzo Burgio

Staff Writer

BRISTOL - “We want every resident to know that Bristol city government works for you,” Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu told the constituents who filled the Bristol Eastern High School auditorium Monday night for the inauguration of the city’s first female mayor.

“We 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,” Zoppo-Sassu continued.

“Everyone who has the best interest of Bristol is welcome at the table,” she said. “I 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.”

“We want Bristol to be a place where young, educated people want to live, work and raise their families,” where “new college graduates choose to return,” that has “quality housing for residents over 55” and “neighbors become our friends,” the mayor said.

Zoppo-Sassu then recognized that “arts and culture can be viable economic catalysts for existing businesses,” can attract new ones, and “with the right private development” can create a “vibrant” downtown.

However, she noted improvements the city could make when handling the opioid and homelessness issues.

“For those struggling with addiction, and their families, we are here to reduce the stigma and connect them with the resources they need,” she said. “The 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.

“The 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.”

Zoppo-Sassu then spoke about Bristol’s past and present “resilience and entrepreneurial spirit.”

“We must all work together to ensure that Bristol is well-positioned to pursue additional opportunities for quality jobs in today’s manufacturing, health care and technology fields; while at the same time, realizing that we must prepare and have a plan for the ‘what if’ scenarios that we hope never occur but must plan for.

“No business opportunity is too small,” she said. “Small 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.”

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-Sassu’s absence.

“She 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.

“I will be rotating among all council members on a quarterly basis,” Zoppo-Sassu told the Press. “Naming Mary first was symbolic of the history being made, in deference to her seniority, and to be part of the history.”

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 lburgio@bristolpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @burgioBP.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General News on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 12:54. Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2017 12:57.