Republicans Pack Bethel Photoworks For Fundraiser

Republicans Pack Bethel Photoworks For Fundraiser

Republican First Selectman candidate Kevin Cleary speaks at the Republican fundraiser Oct. 23 while his running mate Paul Szatkowski laughs at his comments.

The Republican Town Committee packed the house with guests for the Republican fundraiser Sunday afternoon at Bethel Photoworks on Depot Street. Senator Michael McLachlan, State Rep. Dan Carter and many of the Republican candidates running for office were present to show their support for First Selectman candidate Kevin Cleary and his running mate Paul Szatkowski.

Kevin Cleary discussed his plans for Bethel if elected which includes the importance of economic development and filling the vacant storefronts. Ray Flanigan, owner of Bethel Photoworks, where the event was held, spoke “on behalf of all downtown merchants” about the need to shop local. Flanigan has been in business for 25 years, and downtown for 11 years.

“I’d just like to tell you these last few years have not been easy. Daily we get requests from church groups, youth groups and they say, ‘You’ve been so nice to donate to our auction last year can you donate again this year?’ And I say to them, ‘I haven’t seen you since last year nor has anyone from your church been in since I saw you last year’ so I say ‘I really can’t, I can’t afford it,” Flanigan said.

Flanigan said that the charm of the downtown used to be retail. “I hope that over the next 10 years we will see some retail come back into downtown Bethel. It seems everything that’s opening now is not really retail; there’s gyms and Irish Dances and Yogas and Verizons and H&R Block. Now if we need something we go to TrueValue and Gift Cottage and places who actually still sell something,” Flanigan said.

“I hear things in my own church from people who say ‘Isn’t Bethel a cute little town?’ But the for rent signs are not cute. If we don’t shop in downtown Bethel and it wasn’t for Redding we wouldn’t have survived 11 years here because Bethel doesn’t shop in downtown Bethel unfortunately so we need you to spread the word,” he said.

Cleary echoed Flanigan’s sentiment and encouraged attendees to support Bethel’s local businesses. Cleary said his team distributed hundreds of shopping bags with the “Buy Bethel First” campaign slogan on it to remind voters of the importance of shopping local.

Szatkowski said Cleary is the answer Bethel has been looking for: “This is the answer for Bethel. Enough with taxes, enough with playing this crazy games that the feds are playing. It all boils down to what is affordable for Bethel,” Szatkowski said.

“We’ve only got 2 weeks left and every vote counts,” Cleary said.

Flanigan, donated the space for the Republican fundraiser and guests enjoyed appetizers, compliments of Michael Bick, owner of Some Things Fishy Catering. Bick and Flanigan said they hosted the Democratic fundraising event a few weeks ago and that events such as these are a great way to get their name out there in these tough economic times.

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Posted on October 25, 2011, in Home and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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