Throughout his campaign, has been putting a strong emphasis on his work as a real estate developer. The 40-year-old candidate, a member of the City Council since 2007, says that while politicians tend to “overpromise and underperform,” he has learned how to strike deals and work in an entrepreneurial manner.
“I’m the only candidate who has any experience with project management. I’m the only candidate who’s employed hundreds of people,” he said. “I have an entrepreneurial background, which New London’s going to need to solve some of its everyday problems.”
Buscetto said his experience is visible in the Easy Street development he established, and on his website he says a similar approach could be used to bring in new investors and create new jobs and tax revenue. However, he has said public safety and education would also be areas he would focus on if elected mayor, along with more accessibility in municipal departments.
“They’re all kind of hand in hand,” he said. “They need to be improved simultaneously.”
Buscetto said he would advocate pre-school education for all eligible children to ensure they are receiving basic education, as well as job training and career options for students who may not wish to pursue college. In public safety, he supports a neighborhood policing strategy where officers are consistently assigned to a neighborhood, increasing familiarity and trust between residents and the police and leading to a reduction in crime.
Regarding development at Fort Trumbull, Buscetto says the city government is currently taking the vision offered by the into account. He said it will be a multi-pronged project as city leaders determine what is right for the area. He said that while the mayor can advocate for new leadership in the if progress is lacking at the peninsula, the state ties to the organization and the effort it would take to dismantle it—a course of action offered by three of Buscetto’s opponents—would not be a viable option.
“For any candidate to say they can get rid of them, they can’t,” he said. “It’s a 501(c)3…You have to deal with what you have.”
Buscetto said that if voters decide to sell a portion of to the , he will want to make sure the academy keeps its promises to develop there. He said the money from such a sale should go toward improving the neighborhood around the park with things such as new streets and streetscapes. He said there should be more discussion on the uses for the park if the sale does not go, but was concerned where the money for improvements would come from. Buscetto also described the Coast Guard Academy as a partner in the city’s identity, with cadets and faculty assisting in everything from the schools to the arts.
“It’s a great neighbor, and we’ll do everything we can to keep them,” he said.
Of the six candidates for the mayor’s office, Buscetto is the only one who has declared the person he would name as his chief administrative officer. Chris Soto, who has worked on Buscetto’s campaign, is an alumnus of the Coast Guard Academy and recently graduated from Brown University with a master’s degree in public administration. Soto has worked with the , establishing the and its list of goals.
Buscetto’s campaign has had its ups and downs. He has received the most funding through donations of any of the candidates, as well as the endorsement of several unions. In July, the chose him as the party’s nominee for mayor in a landslide vote.
However, Buscetto’s critics have denounced him as having a bullying, aggressive demeanor. One of the accusations came from Chief Margaret Ackley of the , who in August . At a Democratic primary held just over two weeks later, Buscetto to Daryl Finizio in a 1,108 to 744 vote.
Buscetto says Ackley’s comments were “purely political,” and has said her statement that Buscetto’s actions made her decide to retire are . He said the mayor will face tough situations where he or she will have to be firm, but denied that he has ever been unfair or unethical in his actions.
“The bully part I don’t understand,” he said. “I think it’s just political opponents putting a label on me.”
Buscetto , saying he has continued to receive encouragement to run for the office. He asked voters to consider which one of the candidates will be the most capable of making decisions on the issues facing the city.
“While I’m not the smoothest talker, I have produced for the city of New London for several years,” he said.