In a letter he posted to Oxford Patch, First Selectman candidate David Heim applauds the state's effort in creating an enterprise zone around the Waterbury-Oxford Airport to boost business activity.
However, the Democrat still thinks economic development is slow in Oxford, and he blames his opponent, incumbent First Selectman George Temple and Economic Development Director Andrew McGeever.
"Unfortunately, the current First Selectman and his hand-picked economic development director have taken almost no action to foster economic development in Oxford," Heim states in his letter. "In fact, Oxford now spends less on economic development than it did two years ago." Read his full letter here.
Several people, mostly Democrats, have been critical of economic development in Oxford. The Dems used to tout their efforts under former Economic Development Director Herman Schuler, who gained regional and statewide attention for his work in Oxford. During his last campaign, Temple made comments indicating that he wasn't happy with Schuler's job performance, and before Temple took office, Schuler resigned. Temple then hired McGeever, a retired former executive in the women's shoe industry.
Temple has told Patch that economic development efforts are going well in Oxford. However, he said, "a lot of what is happening is behind the scenes, and we can'd discuss it publicly." He also said that companies do not want to negotiate with communities in the press.
It remains to be seen whether the plans he says are being worked on behind the scenes come to fruition. But one thing remains clear: the Democrats plan to make economic development a huge issue in this year's election.