Democratic View: Your priorities, their expertise

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RP Democratic view web sig GOP Viewpoint / Hearst Connecticut Media

Democratic candidates for our local election share Ridgefielders’ priorities and possess the expertise to deliver, especially for Board of Finance (BOF) and Board of Education (BOE).

Dave Ulmer

Tried and thoroughly true, Dave brings deep expertise, experience, reliability, prudence and steadiness. Dave has been the “essential” BOF member since first elected in 2003, serving as chair since 2011.

Dave’s 30-plus year airline industry career focused on complex analytic strategies including market development, competitive response, and profitability. Dave was an original entrepreneur-investor and executive in JetBlue Airways.

Active locally, Dave is board member and treasurer of Ridgefield Orchestra Foundation, among other commitments. Dave graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in international studies and a minor in economics from Bradley University (Peoria, Ill,). He earned an M.A. in international economics from the Denver University Graduate School of International Studies.

Karen Ogden

A compliance officer in NYC’s Guggenheim Partners covering all their sales and trading business since 2016, financial industry executive Karen Ogden’s depth and breadth of professional experience will invaluably enhance BOF’s deliberations and decisions. Karen earned a finance from Boston College, an M.B.A. from University of Chicago, and graduate certification in sustainability from Harvard’s Extension School.

Karen is deeply rooted in Ridgefield life and attuned to what makes Ridgefield appealing. Karen is a board member of Woodcock Nature Center, previously serving as Woodcock’s interim executive director. Karen is running for BOF to “give back” to our town.

Jonathan Steckler

Jonathan Steckler joined BOE in December 2017, chairs the Strategic Planning Subcommittee and is a member of the Budget and Finance Subcommittee. Growing up in the area, Jonathan eagerly relocated to Ridgefield with his family in 2011. Daughter Sadie attended BMES and is now a student at Scotts Ridge Middle School. Deeply committed to public education, Jonathan is adept at identifying and rectifying “penny-wise, pound-foolish” decision-making.

An executive with Ridgefield-headquartered The Chefs’ Warehouse, Jonathan has led regional offices, multiple strategic departments, and is now executive vice president for Digital Initiatives. Previously a serial entrepreneur, Jonathan started/operated Manhattan coffee bars and a fine-dining restaurant. Jonathan earned a B.A. (history) from Yale University.

Ken Sjoberg

Ken Sjoberg and wife Jennifer Berberian are raising their three sons in Ridgefield. Ken has deep experience in financial auditing and fraud risk management, a background he will bring to analysis and oversight of Ridgefield’s nearly $100 million education budget.

Ken believes that, “To grow, children need the solid educational foundation provided by their teachers. However, teachers can only flourish with the active support of their school’s administration. As a Board of Education member, I will work to provide the administrators the tools they need to support the men and women who teach our children.” Ken, a CPA, earned a B.A. (accounting) from Baruch College and an M.S. (accounting) from University of Connecticut.

Dave, Karen, Jonathan, and Ken are deeply committed to bettering Ridgefield and respectfully request your vote on Nov. 5.

Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee provides the column.