Mayor Harry Rilling Seeks Fifth Term as Mayor of Norwalk
Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling announced today that he plans to seek a fifth term as Mayor. Mayor Rilling was first elected to office in 2013, and under his leadership, Norwalk has grown its tax base, revitalized its downtowns, and elevated its public schools into the state’s top performing city district. The thoughtful and steady leadership exhibited by Mayor Rilling and his administration has been evident throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of the public health crisis, which continues today, Mayor Rilling has made tough decisions, implemented new rules and regulations, and expanded resources to public safety and public health personnel to help keep residents safe.
"I have never been more honored to be your Mayor than I have been over this past year. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the Norwalk community’s true spirit, with friends helping friends and neighbors helping neighbors. We looked out for one another and we continue to take care of loved ones and complete strangers months into this pandemic," Mayor Rilling said. "We all know there are disparities in our community, and COVID-19 has shined a bright light on these inequities. I have been blown away by the support our residents and businesses have shown those who needed a helping hand. I firmly believe the City can and should do more, and addressing these challenges remains a top priority for my administration."
Mayor Rilling continues to have strong support from the local community, having raised more than $60,000 to date for his re-election effort. Donations have come from carpenters, firefighters, ironworkers, laborers, Democrats and Republicans. The majority of the contributors were from Norwalk and surrounding towns, with about 80% of contributions $250 or less. Members of the state’s Federal Delegation have also offered their support to Mayor Rilling.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said: "Harry Rilling has led Norwalk through health and economic crises with thoughtful leadership and integrity. He has forged community partnerships to help residents and businesses, guiding Norwalk to a stronger future."
U.S. Congressman Jim Himes said: "Mayor Harry Rilling is a good friend and a leader of tremendous empathy and integrity. He cares deeply for the Norwalk community. His thoughtful leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic defines grace under pressure. Harry will continue to bring jobs, revitalization and exemplary public education to Norwalk. I’m proud to endorse his re-election."
Mayor Rilling has five overarching priorities as he seeks a fifth term in office:ECONOMY and the road back from COVID-19
- Support local businesses impacted by the pandemic through local grant programs and tax relief
- Continue and expand food share programs
- Grow the tax base with new development to help reduce tax burden on families and residents
- Recruit new and retain existing businesses
- Focus on safe routes to school and enhance walkability of neighborhoods and downtowns
- Commit to Vision Zero to ease traffic concerns and improve safety
- Support the schools to help students reach their greatest potential
- Fund the recruitment of more diverse teachers and staff
- Build new schools and renovate existing spaces
- Foster partnerships with YMCA community center
- Prioritize technology investments for families with low incomes
- Bring on Equity and Justice consultant to review City functions and departments and provide recommendations to help address social and racial justice issues
- Build trusted partnerships between elected officials, first responders, and community members
- Fund programs and initiatives specifically for communities of color, marginalized groups, and people with low incomes
- Grow Community Services Department with additional social workers, family navigators, and support staff
- Conduct efficiency study for all City and Education Departments to find cost-savings and improve services to the public
- Move more City-services, including permits, 100% online
- Revamp City website to be more user and mobile-device friendly
- Live-stream and record all City meetings, in multiple languages, to help expand access to the public
- Phase out printers and copiers at all City buildings to become paperless
- Promote and use solar and renewable energy wherever possible and ensure any new City/School construction project meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification
- Double annual tree planting budget and further partnerships with local conservation groups
- Replace City vehicles with hybrid models and pursue Zoning and/or Ordinance changes to make new Electric Vehicle infrastructure more accessible
"We have accomplished a lot over the last several years, but the job is not complete. I remain fully committed to funding new and existing programs to help residents and businesses in need. I am steadfast in my belief that government is good, is effective, and is here to help," Mayor Rilling said. "I will always stand up for our residents, not for special interest groups or political parties. I will always make the tough call, not the politically expedient choice. I will always believe that diversity is a strength, not a weakness. I will always fight to make sure Norwalk remains a safe, affordable, and vibrant place for all people, not just a select few. I am proud and honored to be the Mayor of our great city, and I promise to keep our momentum going."