On Wednesday Mayor Erin Stewart celebrated her first milestone in office celebrating her 100th Day.
Stewart’s office was adorned in balloons and a cake was made in celebration, but for Stewart it was a day full of work.
“It is a milestone,” said Stewart. “We did an internal recap of where I have been and how much have I grown. I looked at how much I learned and the answer to that is ‘a lot’.”
Stewart said it felt like the shortest, but yet the longest 100 days of her life.
“Everyday I come into work and I feel like there are never enough hours in the day,” said Stewart. “I come in here and meet with people back to back to back. I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of meetings. That is what life consists of for me, one big meeting, but I know it is making a huge impact on the City.”
“Communication for sure,” said Stewart. “I think opening up lines of communication between myself and City Hall, the Mayor’s Office and the Council, the Mayor’s Office and the residents of the City.”
Stewart said open office hours for residents have been a huge success.
“A lot of people show up to talk about anything,” she said. “You are elected to be a leader. But you need to be a communicator. It’s reassuring that people trust me, come talk to me and expect me to follow through on their problem.”
Stewart said she cannot govern appropriately unless residents tell her what they want her to do.
“It’s been really reassuring to get that,” Stewart added.
“Finances. You know it’s bad during the campaign, but it’s not your problem yet. Now it is my problem and I need to fix it,” Stewart said. “Going and seeing the books and having the meetings makes you realize it is worse then you thought and it is my job to fix it. I know we will be making decisions that aren’t going to be popular. But these decisions have to be made. There is no short term fix.”
Stewart said government needs to think about the City in the long run and not year to year.
“I think that is where a majority of our issues come into play,” said Stewart. “You need to find long-term solutions to the issues.”
Most Enjoyable Moment
“Going to the Schools,” said Stewart. “When you see the kids and they come up to you and say ‘wow, you’re the Mayor? That is so cool.’ Then they hug you and say they want to be mayor some day. That is so gratifying. I want them to say they want to graduate and go to college so they can become a Mayor. To be able to inspire feels great.”
“Dealing with the injury to Officer (Brett) Morgan,” said Stewart. “It was really tough because you are thrown into a situation where you don’t know what you can do.”
Stewart said there isn’t a lot you can say when something tragic like this happens.
“It was really hard. I will never forget seeing him in the condition he was in and knowing that what happened to him was an act of true violence against a police officer,” said Stewart. “I just wanted everyone in the City to know it is not accepted or tolerated.”
Stewart said it was important that his family know the City supports him.
“To see all the businesses in the community come together for fundraisers was fantastic,” she said. “It was uplifting and made me feel good about this City.”
Other Memorable Events
“Economic development,” said Stewart. “It was great helping to move Costco forward. Getting Dunkin’ Donuts at the bottom of the police station and the development on Farmington Avenue were big ones.”
Stewart said the City will develop support systems to help residents in business.
“It’s been interesting,” said Stewart. “My life is totally different. I’m adjusting and trying to stay healthy. This is not a job for people who have a family or children. Every waking hour I am working. There is no time clock when you are Mayor.”
But Stewart said she wants to thank residents.
“They have been wonderful,” she smiled. “In my tenure, whatever it is, I want people to feel confident about New Britain. I want people to look at this City and say it is awesome. We have a lot to offer.”