NORWALK – Norwalk business members and community members were able to get up close and personal with their potential future City Council members at a meet and greet event last week.
The event was hosted on Feb. 23 by the Chamber of Commerce at the Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex.
Each candidate was given two minutes to speak to the crowd, before attendees were allowed to approach each individual on a more personal, one on one setting.
According to Chamber director Caren Spilsbury, the event was aimed more at business owners and employees within the city.
“We wanted people to be able to hear from them…,” said Spilsbury. “Two minutes is plenty of time for them to share their vision, but also to get to know them in a more personal way, and maybe ask them questions specifically about their vision for the business community here in Norwalk because that’s what’s vital to our members.”
This upcoming election could prove extremely significant for the city and its business owners, as the council is guaranteed three fresh faces.
Each candidate was invited to the meet and greet via mail and email ahead of time. All of the candidates – with the exception of Debbie Martinez – participated.
The remaining eleven candidates all used their two minute time to speak in different ways, some touching on business more than others.
Marcel Mercado voiced a concern that businesses are currently too constricted.
“We need to lessen restrictions,” said Mercado. “…We should be promoting all new businesses like a birth announcement. These are new entities growing into your community. With the Chamber of Commerce, we’ve got to institute a mentorship program for those long lasting businesses in Norwalk – such as yourselves – that you’re able to mentor the new, younger generation coming up behind you.”
Candy Martinez focused on safety, but slanted her argument to appeal to business.
“If I’m going to go ahead and put a physical business in the city, I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to want my employees to live here,” said Martinez. “I’m gonna look at the safety…the safety is bad; we have crime everywhere...how many have you have been a victim of crime? … My biggest point right here: we need to take care of Norwalk.”
Jennifer Perez, who currently sits as a planning commissioner, used her time to announce the approval for recommendation of a new entertainment and shopping center that had been passed the previous day.
“As a planning Commissioner for the city, I am excited to say change is coming; new businesses are coming to Norwalk now,” said Perez.