Juan David Ospina "JD" (R)

Stamford Board of Representatives, District 6

Healthcare professional, Educator, Veteran
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My downtown based district is one of vibrant activity, but also of traffic congestion. I will work with the Transportation Dept. and city engineers to ensure that our streets are safe for pedestrians, traffic lights are properly synched, and that we address recent traffic accidents, including fatalities, of pedestrians. I also want to work with the Stamford Senior Center to ensure that the needs of our senior community are listened to and met. I am concerned that elected officials have not been receptive to this vital part of our community. I want to make sure that taxation, an increase in juvenile crime, and quality of life are all considered and part of the discussion.

Downtown Stamford has experienced a 27% population growth since 2020, second only to the South End. This change invites many opportunities, but also many challenges. I want to work with the community in responding to both in the years ahead. Lastly, the 6th District comprises many ethnicities and cultures, with African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians being well represented. It is for this reason that I am proud to call the district my home and would be honored to serve a community of such diversity.
As an educator that interacts with students daily I want to ensure that our students are being educated in a safe environment. Unfortunately, many years of ignoring the condition of our school facilities has led us here. If elected to the Board I will be in a position of voting on a capital budget, allowing the city to adequately address needed renovations and rebuilds. In 2022, Stamford is expected to receive $24.5 million in federal funds. I would request that half of this be set aside for immediate school repairs and renovations. As a Board member I would also propose that revenue generated from the conveyance tax not be deposited into Stamford's general fund, but rather in a fund designated solely for infrastructure repairs.

One of the least discussed issues, and one which would require engagement with our Hartford delegation, is discussing how the existing state reimbursement formula, both for repairs and newly built infrastructure, hurt Stamford taxpayers. Stamford remits millions in tax payments annually to the state, but only receives a fraction in return. The existing formulas, Education Cost Sharing (ECS) and School Construction, deprive Stamford residents of the funding necessary to maintain a safe and adequate learning experience for our students. Our delegation in Hartford must step up and demand immediate revisions to both formulas -- our students deserve it.
My opponent, Annie Summerville, has been on the Board for 44 years and largely absent. In July she voted to give her landlord, St. John's Tower, a $3 million taxpayer bailout, with millions more in tax forgiveness over the next 24 years. Ms. Summerville also sits on the St. John Urban Development Corporation Board, which IRS records show generates $3 million in annual revenue, mostly from rental income. In 2014 St. John's deliberately chose to cease paying their Stamford property taxes, resulting in the recent tax abatement agreement approved by the Board of Representative, voted on by Annie Summerville, and signed by Mayor David Martin. Taxpayers will ultimately pay higher taxes as a result of this and other agreements that fail to serve the interests of taxpayers.

Unfortunately, Ms. Summerville has long forgotten the people she was elected to serve. Voters deserve representation, not a Board member voting in the interest of her landlord at a massive tax increase to hardworking Stamford residents. If elected, I will make myself accessible, schedule regular meetings with constituents, and invite public feedback to make Stamford better for us all. My entry as a candidate for the Board of Representatives is to serve my community and not my own self interests. As an Army veteran, I promise to serve with high ethical standards and integrity while increasing awareness of local government.