Karen Camporeale (D)

Stamford Board of Representatives, District 18

Founder/president of The Urban Apparel Group
(203) 912-7684

Creativity and Flexibility – For nearly three decades, I have run a sizable clothing manufacturing company in Manhattan, employing thousands of people worldwide and thriving amid downturns in the garment industry and devastating fluctuations in the economy. Additionally, my primary competitors have been Fortune 100 companies. Competing at that level demands commitment to creative solutions and often quick pivots, because of the mammoth resources competitors bring to every project and the incessantly shifting goalposts of the fashion industry, itself. I have managed to stay in business as a female owned company against all odds with fewer resources than my competitors. Flexibility and creativity in matters of finance are the very cornerstone of viability.
Similarly, in an ever-changing world, the needs of a community such as Stamford are constantly in flux as it grows and morphs. I will bring the same creativity in order to reduce taxes, protect our natural resources, and improve quality of life.
Leadership – I owned my first company at 27. I’ve led clothing/blood drives, taken in homeless teens, and mentored young women in business, all while raising my now-adult daughters as a single mom.
Integrity – I genuinely love people and value extremely respectful conversation. Integrity is the very foundation of my life.
Residents of District 18 overwhelmingly say to Stamford government, “You are not listening to us!“ Specifically:

• Development grossly outpaces infrastructure, the adverse effects of which are felt across the city;
• Property taxes continue to rise as the burden for financial incentives to corporate developers gets transferred to private citizens. Thus, affordability as a hot-button issue continues to surge, as many aging, long-time residents and young families are squeezed out;
• As development has increased, ever-worsening congestion is driving traffic deep into neighborhoods never designed to accommodate it. These crowded streets have become unsafe, endangering our children, and even claiming the lives of residents;
• Residents love their city and that it has always felt like a ‘town.’ Stamford government seems to only want a ‘city,’ demonizing D18 residents for enjoying the town feel, and that is wrong. In looking up the definitions of both ‘city’ and ‘town’ and the differences, you start to realize that Stamford feels like both a town and a city. That makes our city unique, and we should protect and cherish that;
• The only priority downtown seems to be how many UN-affordable apartments they can build. Residents know we need to grow, but not at the expense of affordability, our teachers, firefighters, police officers, our quality of life, and certainly not at the expense of our children’s education.

Therefore, if elected, my highest priority will be to take D18 voices, particularly on these issues, to the Board and Mayor, and fight for them!
• The best way to bring awareness is to do the hard work of knocking doors and engaging with the community. To that end, I have knocked literally thousands of doors, over the last few years, largely in D18.
• I also think it is important for the board to have a social media presence. To that end, I would work to form a Social Media Committee to establish a strong, necessary online presence that would strive to be informative rather than merely opinion-based. There is currently no formal social media campaign and for the most part, the few representatives that do post on social media often post their opinions, which can be very misleading for the public.

Yes! I served Stamford as a commissioner on the 19th Charter Revision Commission, which was the most diverse commission in Stamford’s History – Democrats, Republicans, Undeclared, Black, White, Hispanic, renters, and owners, and 14 different neighborhoods. I wholeheartedly support the changes we made, which include, but are not limited to:

- Giving greater voice to the people,
- Making government more transparent,
- Creating a Mental Health Commission and a Housing Commission. This moves us as a community toward greater Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI);
- Elevating the importance of the existing Harbor Management Commission; and
- Making the charter a clear and more organized document that both the citizens and the people serving on our boards and commissions could more easily understand.

We added more opportunities for public engagement. How better to serve a community than by engaging with it more?
We clarified definitions of legal terms so as to avoid the types of litigation that have cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past.
We reorganized sections such as the budgetary process so that it was laid out in the order in which it happens. We added a meeting at the beginning of the process rather than later in the process, so that citizens could weigh in on how their money is spent. This will help all participants, including the BOR to better understand the process and serve the people.
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