Ellen Zoppo-Sassu is Bristol's first female Mayor. Elected November 7, 2017, Mayor Zoppo-Sassu has been involved in Bristol politics most of her life and has dedicated herself to making Bristol a great place to live and work.
To understand Mayor Zoppo-Sassu's plan and vision for Bristol, below is a portion of her inaugural speech:
Ceremonies and rites of passage are important community celebrations. And today is a new day for Bristol. But more important than noting that I am the first of what I hope to be many female mayors, more important than the changing of the guard, is changing the tone of civil discourse. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Everyone who has the best interest of Bristol is welcome at the table, to speak their mind at city meetings, and will be considered for volunteer service on boards and commissions. I believe diversity in background and in opinion can be our greatest strength.
I believe that how we govern, and what we prioritize, should reflect our core values as a community.
- We want Bristol to be a place where young, educated people want to live, work, and raise their families, because they see our school system, our parks, infrastructure, public safety, the library, and youth sports are the quality of life factors that are positives.
- We want Bristol to be a place where new college graduates choose to return home to after graduation.
- We want Bristol to be a welcoming, community driven gathering place where our neighbors become our friends.
- We want Bristol to partner with the right private development so that our downtown is vibrant.
- We recognize that arts and culture can be viable economic catalysts for existing businesses, as well as factors in attracting new business. I think we all agree that the best way to accomplish that, is to ensure that the lights are on every night at the Memorial Boulevard Theater.
- We want Bristol to encourage the continued development of quality housing for residents over 55, so that people can choose to stay in our hometown near family and friends when they are ready to downsize their homes
- We want every resident to know that Bristol City Government works for you – we are all public servants and are here to serve the public and ensure that we deliver the highest quality, and most cost efficient, city services.
We also need to be honest about the challenges we face including the opioid crisis, chronic homelessness and waiting lists for housing assistance. These are quality of life issues that this administration will work to address through policy. However, each of you can play a critical role for filling this service gap as well, and at no cost. Volunteering for those service organizations that are in the trenches dealing with these issues every day will not only impact someone else’s life, but will enrich your own as well. This is the true spirit of Bristol, and I look forward to working alongside you to answer this call to service.
We must all work together to ensure that Bristol is well-positioned to pursue additional opportunities for quality jobs in today’s manufacturing, healthcare and technology fields; while, at the same time, realizing that we must also prepare and have a plan for the “what if” scenarios that we hope never occur if major taxpayers decide to relocate - or close - due to changing trends and consumer needs.
No business opportunity is too small. Small and mid-sized businesses comprise the backbone of our economy and while we are open for business to those who may be interested in making Bristol their home, we must also spend time and resources on those who are already here.
Let me close by saying how personally honored I am by the trust you have placed in me.
Growing up in Bristol, I was inspired to get involved in community government by so many who came before me. One of the true joys of my Mayoral campaign was seeing young people, especially young girls, being enthused and excited by the electoral process like I was.
From the lessons learned in the elections I ran and lost, to my terms on the City Council, I have always looked at the Athenian Code as a guiding principle:
We will ever strive for the ideals and sacred things of the city, both alone and with many; We will unceasingly seek to quicken the sense of public duty; We will revere and obey the city’s laws; We will transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.
Terms in office are relatively brief, but if we can continue to show these young people and children that community service is something to aspire to, then I look forward to the day when I am sitting in the audience, watching these young people and children who had roles in tonight’s ceremony prepare to take their place in leading Bristol to a new day.
I look forward to working with the men and women of the City Council. They represent a variety of diverse backgrounds, talents and interests. But what we all share is that commitment to public service and the desire to transmit this city better than it was transmitted to us.