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Jacqueline McFarlane

Contact info: jacquelinem.mcfarlane@gmail.com

Office sought: Board of Education

What is your dream for Wallingford?

I envision a Wallingford that is refocused on community and fully invested in our future. This means renewed public spaces, a diversified economy, updated technology and communication, and a focus on sustainability and equity for all members of our community.

How do we get there?

Community: Doolittle is a wonderful park, and we should ensure all our neighborhood parks are as well maintained. We must reinvest in the Community Pool. Create more sidewalks to increase walking access to attractions within each district. Reinvest in our school buildings and grounds. Investing in public spaces and our schools will also raise property values and attract young families to our town. 

 

Infrastructure: Begin focusing on sustainability. I’d like to create a “Donate, don’t dump” legislation with our businesses, especially larger ones like Walmart. This would help prevent food waste as well as other material waste. Electric cars are here to stay. We must begin creating infrastructure to prepare for charging stations. These can be used to draw visitors to key areas of our downtown. I would like to work with other towns to help establish our own water collection initiative. We need to update the Wallingford Electric Division’s (WED) infrastructure so that we can utilize solar and other renewable energy sources.      

     

Economy: A diverse economy is a healthy economy. We need to collaborate with current business leaders, Economic Development, the Town Planner, and other relevant town departments to create a development plan for the train station and Brothers lot areas as well other areas in town that need more attention. We can then actively seek a developer to create a space that will be environmentally friendly and small business driven.

Relevant experience

I have always been active in public service, from mentoring to organizing blood drives and food drives to neighborhood cleanups and environmental awareness. I have devoted significant time to healthcare organizations, organizing Relay for Life events with the American Cancer Society and multiple fundraisers for the National Organization for Rare Disorders. My board service includes time as secretary of the New Haven Chorale and three years as president of Stevens/Pond Hill PTO. I am part of the Wallingford Democratic Town Committee’s communications committee, diversity committee, and leadership committee and co-leader of District 2. Professionally, I have over ten years of experience in banking and management.

Schools

We have to keep preparing our students for an ever-changing workforce. Whether we continue to maintain two high schools or consolidate into one will largely depend on our future town population. An in-depth population study is a necessity as well as full transparency between the BOE and residents. We as a community should be on the same page when it comes to making such large decisions. Our school buildings are in dire need of updating and, in some cases, replacing. Technology must be updated, and we need to implement professional development opportunities that allow our teachers to evolve.       

 

We need a grant writer. Many schools are competing with each other for funds for similar projects. We could do more for our schools by having a grant writer who could unify similar projects and apply for one grant to benefit multiple schools. We need a more      diverse faculty and staff. If we want to teach diversity, we first need to lead by example. What better way to learn about diversity than from someone who is of another race and/or cultural background. This is also in line with the state’s goal to increase the number of educators of color in the state to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of the population.

Community Pool

Our Parks and Rec department put together a solid plan for our Community Pool, and it was a mistake not to fund the plan last year. I’ve heard so many wonderful stories from residents who have used the pool in the past. Current and future generations deserve the same. We need to consider this as a plan of investment. Not only will it serve as a place of recreation, it will create job opportunities for our students, especially in the concession stand.

Develop Downtown

We have to work as a team with local businesses and residents. The town can’t afford to take a passive stance. We need to incentivize the remodeling of key locations. I envision a revamping of lower downtown from the train station through the Brothers lot, including open space for outdoor markets and gatherings. We also have space downtown that should be used to draw in a creative economy: film, photography, publishing, advertising, architecture, software engineering, and of course entertainment. Our downtown has the potential to become a destination not just for residents, but for those outside of Wallingford as well.

Address white supremacy and structural racism

My husband and I had reservations when deciding to move our biracial family to Wallingford. We were aware of Wallingford’s history and reputation, and it gave us pause. We can’t pretend that we don’t see color. We need to address structural racism and white supremacy head on. We need to create community art projects that highlight our diversity and inspire constructive conversations. Our children need to see people of color in positions of authority such as teachers, administrators, and police officers. The town should follow the example set by our public library in providing spaces for thought and dialogue. Most importantly, all town leaders must condemn acts of racism and actively fight racist constructs created by previous generations. We may not have created structural racism, but we are accountable for creating the changes necessary to increase equity.

Wireless in Town Hall

Technology is a necessity for functioning. The Tax Collector’s Office and other departments should be available by email and have access to other modern capabilities. We should be able to access public records electronically. Residents should be able to pay their electricity bills online. We need to have a town-wide texting system to better communicate and provide emergency updates.

Electrical Division

Wallingford is lucky to have its own electric division and some of the cheapest electric rates in the state. In order to maintain the WED, we must prepare for the switch to renewable energy. Our schools are perfect sites for solar panels, and we have a major opportunity to pull in businesses focused on renewables and sustainable practices. The WED is a huge draw for businesses and new residents alike and is vital to the economic health of our town. We should treat it as such.




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