FM - what is your Franklin story?
Andrew Bissanti - My family came here sometime in the early 1900’s. After Korea, My dad worked for the State Department and was stationed at the American consulate in Naples, Italy. He met my mom who was also working there as an interpreter. Although I was born at Milford hospital, I spent my early years living in Naples, Italy. Long enough to learn the language, which I am happy to say have kept up to this day, and often have conversations in Italian with many Franklin residents who still speak the language and/or help translate letters for them from Italy.
My Dad left government work overseas and we settled in Franklin to be close to his family and friends he grew up with. I attended both Franklin schools and private schools. I got my Associates in Science Degree in Architecture and Building Construction Management from Dean College and went on to graduate from the University of Denver, where I double majored and received a BA in Both Political Science and Communications. All three degrees have ended up serving me well in both my professional and Political career.
When I returned from College I settled in Franklin, bought my first home when I was 24 years old and invested in Real Estate and more importantly, the town of Franklin. A town where I chose to reside to this day. My wife of 30 years and I have three beautiful Daughters and two wonderful Grandchildren.
With 8 uncles and 4 aunts all residing in franklin at any given point, I have a strong sense of family and was taught a sense of duty to a committed cause. Anybody who knows me or my family knows they can count on me to always be there to help lend a hand, or walk in my office at 205 East Central anytime and discuss any town related issue. I might not always be able to fix the problem but I will tell you why. “I call em, like I see em”.
I have a problem with some of those who feel helping an individual with a specific problem can “set precedent” or “open a can of worms", or a Pandora’s Box etc., As an outspoken member of the Advisory Committee, a group who has championed many local causes over the last few years, I feel helping an individual, needs to be weighed on a case by case basis. I feel the Town Council is there to help our Franklin residents and that has always been my underlying philosophy both professionally, personally, and politically.
FM - what do you see as the challenge for the role you seek?
Andrew Bissanti - Over the years Franklin has endured and overcome many growing pains. I watched the Boom Times of the 80’s succumb to recessionary times of the 90’s and the cycle continued with its ups and downs to the present market which I feel is on the tail end of an 8 year flat line. We have been lucky in Franklin both locally and statewide to enjoy a relatively robust economy due to our location, municipal utilities and the services we provide. We also enjoy a comparatively reasonable tax rate.
Going forward I feel our challenge as both councilors and a town will be intelligent growth in the commercial and industrial sectors, improved roadways, strong public safety presence and an emphasis on schools and education to reflect the ever changing world we are a part of, in technology, the arts and social awareness. I am proud to have been a part of a council that ushered in a brand new High School, and this last term initiated and completed over 30 significant council agenda items addressing zoning, education, recreation, police and fire, balanced budget and attention to one of our greatest assets, the seniors of Franklin.
Because Franklin has so much going for it, we can’t ignore the ramifications of residential growth and its impact on the school system. Let’s remember a big part of what makes Franklin great is its public nationwide reputation as a great place to raise a family. Top 10 in fact.
Let’s not let some of the rhetoric give those who seek our town out for either Business or a place to live that we are anti-growth. We just need to be pro-Franklin and employ “smart growth” where planning departments and all the various committees and council members work towards a common good for Franklin. As a former member of the Master Plan Committee all these issues were discussed and drafted and many have already been implemented during the two terms that I was given the opportunity to serve on the council.
FM - what makes you uniquely qualified to fulfill this role?
Andrew Bissanti - I feel everyone on the current council brings their own Skill “set” to the table. My experience of the last 30 years has given me a clear understanding of development, road building, commercial real estate and an understanding of the highest and best use and value of property throughout our town. I feel this is a necessary role to be filled as some previous councils struggled with growth issues, zoning issues and promoting Franklin to companies to locate here in our industrial parks.
As the current Economic Development Committee Chairman, I feel we needed to take a hard look at our Commercial and Industrial zoning to attract big box companies and promote a more streamlined yet thorough permitting process. We can “save our downtown" by promoting and or revising our C1 zone with its liberal and generous site and setback and parking requirements and mixed uses to attract the kind of development for both a pedestrian friendly and vehicular traffic town center.
I feel I have been able to assist my council in many important decisions in these areas. And has I promised 4 years ago I will continue to be the “Eyes and Ears” for Franklin residents to the council.
Getting on the council was not a snap decision for me. I feel have spent the last 30 years preparing for the job. I ask for your vote on Election Day.
If you have follow up questions for Andrew you can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Noteworthy: This information is intended to help the Franklin voters when we all head to the ballot box on November 3rd. The interview candidates have had an opportunity to review the text before publishing to ensure the accuracy of our discussion.