SOUTHINGTON - Jack Perry, owner of HQ Dumpsters, has announced that he will run as an Independent for the Southington Town Council, promising to put the people’s wishes first.
Perry started his own business in 2008 when he was a senior in high school and his father, Kurt, supported him. Three years ago, his uncle Ralph also came on board.
Despite working seven days a week and admitting that he “puts sleep second,” Perry said he has recently become a lot more involved in the town. He has attended many town meetings and frequently gives back to the community through charitable donations. This, he said, resulted in him recently being offered a chance to run for the Board of Education.
“A local party offered me the chance to meet with them to become a candidate for the Board of Education, but I didn’t think that was a strong fit,” he said. “I wasn’t sure that I wanted to register for a party - I don’t like it when people are told that they should vote a certain way or be frowned upon, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to give my 110 percent.
“I want what is best for the people, not the party. As a business owner, you have to be open-minded to anything. The meeting did, however, make me realize that I must have a certain skill set that people want and that it wasn’t just me thinking I should run.”
Perry said he wants to run for council because he saw “certain things not being addressed” in town.
“I was at the Town Council meeting when 110 parents came out to talk about middle school sports being cut,” he said. “They were told to go speak to the Board of Education. While that was their job to handle, I feel like the council should have also got involved. When you get 110 people coming to a meeting that normally only gets 10, that is a big deal. There were kids who had their English teachers help them write speeches about this. We really can’t find $160,000 to keep this going?”
Perry said local high schools are now being given Narcan, a drug commonly used to reverse an opioid overdose, because of the prevalence of drug abuse.
“I got involved in my family business when I was 13 - I was too busy to do drugs so I never used them once in my entire life,” he said. “I also played sports through high school. I never had a sick day because my father told me that unless everyone is there the team can’t function. He never let me miss a practice. That taught me dedication.”
In addition to middle school sports, Perry says local taxes have been going up too much.
“Taxes have increased by 30 percent in the last 9 or 10 years; that’s insane,” said Perry. “I own a business and high taxes affect my operating budget. Even large companies that pay a lot of taxes each year are affected. This excess spending is not showing that our town is good for business. We need a lower tax structure to stimulate economic growth.”
Perry also said the town’s bidding process needs to be restructured in order to become more competitive. Additionally, he said the town needs to plan its budgets 20 to 30 years out.
“My grandfather used to brag that we were one of the only towns that was debt free - not anymore,” he said.
Perry also said that other issues are being “swept aside” due to “political agendas.”
“I have spoken with people who say that they don’t go to meetings anymore because nothing gets done,” he said. “I want to be the voice of the people. If I’m not doing something right, you can lay the blame on me and not my party. I will take full responsibility. I will go into an issue neutral, and I will listen to the people - they will shape my final decision. I will vote for what they want, not for what Jack wants.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.