This is the third profile in a series about the five District 7 candidates.
Trumbull is looking for a change.
That's according to Independent candidate Charley Pitcher. The former town Councilman is running as an Independent candidate this year against incumbent Republicans Chadwick Ciocci and Tony Scinto and Democratic challengers Tom Whitmoyer and Holly Sutton-Darr. He successfully petitioned to join the slate in August.
Pitcher, born and raised in Trumbull, now lives on Hilltop Drive, with his wife Angela, Summer/Winter Sessions and Special Programs Director at Sacred Heart University, and their three children: Charley Jr., a student at ; Jonathan, who attends ; and Emily, who is at .
Pitcher is the president and owner of the Mortgage Company of New England, which handles commercial lending and finance. A Mason and former Nichols Volunteer Firefighter, Pitcher now heads Pitcher Enterprises, a property management company.
Pitcher served as a Democrat on the Town Council for four terms, from 1999 to 2007. He was the Public Works Committee chairman for six years and was a member of the Finance Committee for two. Pitcher said that as a councilman those eight years, he championed tax deferrment for seniors and spearheaded a tax break for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel.
This election, Pitcher said, “Seven seems to be once again the hot district of the town.”
Addressing the major issues this election season, he said many show up in District 7. Regarding the police cell tower, what needs to be done now is really damage control, he said. Basically, “What can we do to make it look less like a 173-foot cell tower?” he said.
Pitcher said that damage control is also what is needed in the case of the Fairchild-Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School. He said that when he was on the council and was being built, there were a lot of meetings with people from the neighborhood surrounding the school, and, as a town council member, he acted as a liaison between the concerned parties and the town.
This time around with the magnet school, though, “we lost total control of the project. This is going to be the largest greenest school in the state of Connecticut, and we let it slip by,” he said. “We should have welcomed it.”
Now there’s not much that the town can do, Pitcher said, except to work with Bridgeport to lessen the impact for the families that will be affected by the school being built in their neighborhood.
In 2009, Pitcher split from the Democrats in order to support Republican contender Tim Herbst as candidate for First Selectman against incumbent Ray Baldwin, and began a coalition called Democrats for Herbst, which grew to 25 members. Explaining his initial support of Herbst and his current reversal, Pitcher said that taxes had been steadily increasing over the years. The town was tired, and Herbst came in and said all the right things.
Pitcher agreed with Herbst that “the [Baldwin] administration had gotten complacent.” Back then, “the town was looking for a change,” he said, “and the town is looking for a change now.”
The worst of the town’s issues at the moment, he said, is the sewer assessments. Pitcher said he has talked to four people who told him that they were listing their houses for sale because they could not afford the assessments in addition to their taxes.
“Here we are trying to give more tax breaks for seniors so they can stay in town,” he said, but even a two-income family can barely afford to live in town in this economy and with these assessments. This being true, Pitcher said, he can only imagine how hard it must be to get by as a senior living on a fixed income.
Pitcher also stressed that paving the roads that have been dug up for the sewers must be one of the town’s top priorities.
“Hilltop Drive has been dug up for three years,” he said. “The roads are a tragedy. Booth Hill road is unbelievable.”