BRISTOL – From term limits to focusing on the opioid crisis, Democrat and incumbent Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu and Republican candidate Jeff Caggiano are ready to tackle issues as the November election approaches.
Caggiano said he grew up in Bristol and is a graduate of Bristol Eastern High School. He graduated cum laude from Washington and Lee University with a degree in biology. He is married to his wife Shari and they share three children. He is a member of St. Gregory’s Church and has coached soccer in the community for several years. The candidate said he has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields for the last 32 years in sales and as a manager for about half of that as well as in training and development. He served on the Bristol Zoning Commission for two years and served on the Bristol Board of Education for four years. He was previously the Bristol Republican Town Committee chair for the last six years before deciding to run for mayor.
“I want to be a voice of the people and for the people,” said Caggiano. “I believe in this town. It’s a great big, small town. I’m getting excited to represent all the citizens of Bristol.”
He said he would like to reduce City Hall spending and to see that the honoring of term limits Bristol residents voted for are maintained. He said he felt that most American residents supported term limits at any level of government.
Caggiano said he has helped organize anti-tax rallies in the past.
“We have a spending problem and I’m going to focus on that a lot more,” said Caggiano. “I think we need to prioritize our spending on things like schools, public safety and general public works like roads...”
Incumbent Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu was the first woman to be named as mayor in Bristol’s history when she was elected in 2017. She ran for the City Council’s second seat in 2001 and went on to serve in that position for six years. After being elected to the third district seat of the council in 2013, she said she made it a priority to tackle housing blight. She also led a task force in the building plan of the Memorial Boulevard School project along with its theater.
She has a degree from Providence College in political science as well as a masters degree from the University of Connecticut in public administration with focuses in local and urban government. She previously served as the part-time director of development and grants with the Bristol Historical Society, was a development director for the Boys & Girls Club and Family Center as well as the New Britain Chamber of Commerce. She also served as the director of communications for the Connecticut Pharmacists Association.
“Being mayor is a very challenging and rewarding position,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “At the local level, you are in a position to make a difference, either through policies, or offering assistance, that get immediate results. Over the last two terms, the City Council and I have worked hard to create a high quality community.”
Among some of those initiatives pushed over the last few years, the mayor mentioned the work of the city’s Arts and Culture Commission, Energy Commission, Opioid Task Force, Diversity Council and further department collaborations.
She said she looks forward to exploring the “transformative potential” of helping determine the future of Bristol’s $28 million in American Rescue Plan dollars and how they can best be utilized to help the city through infrastructure, business and housing initiative efforts.
She said, should she be elected mayor again, she would continue to focus on addressing the opioid crisis, policing concerns, tenant and landlord property concerns and the further development of area business and economic opportunities. She said she would continue to make town covid concerns a priority as well.