Civic duty seemed to be the clear winner tonight as Suffield residents touted their main reason for voting in this year’s local election. In an informal straw poll of voters tonight at Suffield Middle School, the overwhelming majority stated that they were voting because, “its what we do here.”
Most interviewed declined to discuss specifics, but some locals had recent events among other things on their minds. Many of those asked indicated they had lived in town ten years or more.
“I think recent events are on everybody’s mind,” noted 19-year resident Michael Bernstein. “When we have an emergency here in town, I want to know how much pull our politicians have with the utility companies and to know if they are doing what needs to be done.”
Others noted that they were discouraged with the Governor’s finger-pointing attitude but thankful for the hard work and effort of the linemen on the ground.
Eric Nemec has lived in Suffield for only six months. He noted that it was too early to really determine how well the town responded to the recent power outage, “but I would love to hear more about it in the next few weeks,” he said. “I don’t think there was enough information about it.”
He added that he came to Suffield because of the excellent reputation of the schools and that was one of the issues he considered during his time in the voting booth.
Another issue on the minds of residents was the budget and the growing expenditures for services.
“Cost containment in town is one of my main concerns,” said Tony Roncaioli. “I think we need to take a hard look at the union contracts and the legacy costs of healthcare that we pay as it is compared to private industry. It is time to get some change in how this has been handled.”
Two other residents added that the recent budgets and the increasing costs of education and services will influence their voting posture tonight.
“I like the way Tom Freneye has handled this town,” said Lorraine Erickson. “I wanted to make sure I came out and voted for him.”
Like other elected officials, First Selectmen Tom Freneye must wait until the polls close to see who is the winner and the overall number of voters coming to the polls was similar to the 2009 election.
According to the registrar of voters, the figures as of 5 p.m. Tuesday were 27.1 percent as opposed to 27.9 percent in the 2009 municipal election. The profile of those walking in and out of the middle school was a complete mix of the town; some older couples, young families, working professionals, mothers and more.
One town official expected the total number of voters to exceed 3,000; a figure similar to that of the 2009 election.