Ben Shaiken is the Chair of the Mansfield Democratic Party and incumbent candidate of the Mansfield Town Council. He is seeking re-election because he’s passionate about the town of Mansfield, and would love to see more families settle there.
“My big focus is trying to change town policy as much as we can to keep Mansfield as a place where families want to move and raise a family,” Shaiken said. “That’s economic development, that’s smart growth, that’s figuring out what kind of businesses we should be looking to attract to the town, what kind of housing we ought to be incentivizing to be built, that kind of stuff.”
Shaiken, a class of 2010 University of Connecticut alum, has been serving on the Mansfield Town Council since 2015. His plan for expanding Mansfield has a lot to do with economic development, which has been a focus of his for the past four years.
Specifically, Shaiken is looking to expand the economy through the town’s Opportunity Zone. According to the IRS website, an Opportunity Zone is an “economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” The Opportunity Zone designation is given through the federal government.
“In the last term, we have done a lot of work economically with the town’s Opportunity Zone, and getting ourselves out to the world of investors,” Shaiken said. “Hopefully that will start to pay dividends.”
Shaiken also mentioned the One School initiative as something he’s looking forward to working on if he wins his seat again.
“I’m excited for the school referendum — hopefully it’ll pass — and for the council and the Board of Education to hopefully get busy designing and starting that process,” Shaiken said.
In addition, Shaiken highlighted the Mansfield plastic bag ban as one of his past successes with the Town Council.
“We passed an ordinance banning plastic bags earlier this year, and we’re one of the first towns in the state to do that, and the state eventually started to follow suit,” Shaiken said. “So right around when our ban went into effect, so did the state’s two year phase-in of a ban.”
As for why he ran in the first place, Shaiken said it was because of his love of Mansfield.
“I love Mansfield. I’ve lived here most of my life, and I feel really strongly about serving the town in some way and trying to make it a better place,” Shaiken said. “That’s why I ran for council initially, and that’s why I’m running for reelection.”
Grace McFadden is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.