NEWTOWN, CT – William “Bill” Furrier grew up in a large Catholic family in Northvale, NJ, often playing outdoors with his seven siblings. Whether it was baseball, football or ice hockey on the neighborhood pond, the kids established their own code of conduct and held each other in line, Furrier recalls.
Furrier, now 59, lives in Newtown and is still active in the outdoors, skiing, hiking, triathlons and 5k. Politically, the chemical engineer considers himself libertarian in his belief in limited government.
He is running as the Independent Party candidate in the special election for the 112th District of Connecticut, representing Monroe and Newtown. Among the issues that Furrier holds dear is the belief that the state should fully reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday afternoon, all interior seats at Starbucks on Church Hill Road were temporarily closed, so Furrier sat down for an interview on the outdoor patio.
“Do you mind not wearing masks?” He asked. “I am not a masked man.”
Furrier says he thinks a cloth mask has as much of a chance of stopping the coronavirus as a garage with open double doors has to prevent a child from getting out.
He also argues that too much power rests with governors across the country, who can issue executive orders to shut down businesses during the state of emergency. Furrier says he believes those decisions should be made by legislatures, whose representatives are accountable to their constituents.
If elected, Furrier said, “I would say, ‘We should open up the state,’ and I hope others will agree with me. The overwhelming majority of healthy people have nothing to fear. The majority of those who have it have mild or no symptoms. For me that means we are much closer to collective immunity. “
“It would be great if Connecticut joins these few reopening states,” he said of states like Texas and Mississippi. “If we don’t have voices fighting to make us reopen, we will never open.”
Furrier said Connecticut should at least have the conversation.
He’s running against Tony Scott, a Republican member of the Monroe City Council, and Nick Kapoor, a Democrat of the Monroe Board of Education. The 112th district seat has become vacant following the resignation last month of Republican JP Sredzinski. The special election will take place on April 13.
Furrier, a 24-year-old Newtown resident, is the father of two children. Her son, Cory, is enrolled in the Wentworth Institute of Technology and her daughter, Nina, is a senior at Newtown High School.
Furrier, senior scientist at Unilever in Trumbull, is part of the Dove Bar soap team.
Bomb shelter sirens
Furrier’s parents were Joe and Doris Furrier. Doris was a nurse, before giving up her career to raise a family, and Joe was a chemical engineer at Lever Brothers.
“I did not consciously follow in his footsteps,” Furrier said. “He worked on the original team developing Dove Bar.”
For his job, Joe Furrier moved his family from Massachusetts to Northvale, NJ
“It was under construction,” recalls Bill Furrier. “Our neighbors moved there at the same time and we all became friends and had barbecues.”
“We had bomb shelter sirens,” he said of the neighborhood. “There were codes for ambulances, fires and other emergencies – and it happened at six o’clock for the kids to go home. We have stopped our games. It was time to go home for dinner. You ate, did your homework as fast as you could, and headed back outside.
In addition to playing youth football, Furrier played baseball.
“I couldn’t knock,” he said. “My brothers were great hitters. But I could steal bases. I was not a quick kid, but I went.
By the 1970s hockey was starting to become popular in the area and Furrier joined the team in his freshman year of high school. He also played for the New Jersey Institute of Technology team.
Furrier still has an interest in the sport, supporting the New York Giants and Boston Red Sox.
“My dad was influential in baseball,” he recalls. “It was a fair game to beat a Red Sox fan. There was no political correctness. The first time I went to Yankee Stadium I was terrified. I didn’t want to cheer on the Red Sox.
After school, Furrier worked as a process engineer, supporting research and development at a factory, before moving to Connecticut in 1997 to work for Elizabeth Arden in Trumbull, who later changed her name to Unilever.
“I have been in the business for 24 years,” he said. “There is a creative element in product development and an element of problem solving. Every day is different. There is a different problem to be solved. The challenges are intellectually stimulating for me. It’s never boring. It’s never boring. And, from time to time, I suggest a new wording.
Grounding in Newtown
When Furrier and his wife searched for a home in Connecticut, he thought to find something between Trumbull and Stamford.
“I thought Westport or Wilton would be good,” he recalls. “I was just looking at a map. Houses started at $ 1 million, so our real estate agent showed us houses in Newtown, Monroe, and Danbury. “
The couple drove to Newtown, where Furrier said his wife’s friend had found a good deal.
“It was a lovely town,” he says. “We told the real estate agent that we had a friend who had bought a house for $ 220,000. She said, “You won’t get that.” We got a three year old house for $ 225,000 and it was right next to the friend.
It didn’t take long for Furrier to get involved in local politics.
“I got involved immediately,” he said. “I saw an article. Republicans were looking for committee members.
Furrier has been appointed to sit on the Public Building & Site Commission, which oversees the construction of construction projects, including major new construction, alterations or extensions, furnishing or equipping a building for public purposes. , as well as acquisition and improvement. earthen.
He said there was a comfort zone in being a Republican, but added that it was good to have different points of view and perspectives in order to make the best decisions.
“I have always lined up as a Republican,” Furrier said. “In town, Democrats are sometimes more budgetary conservative than Republicans, depending on what you want to spend. I am more of a Conservative government. “
Furrier said he was also leaning towards Libertarian, in favor of limited government. Although he said he agreed with what James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, that without government there would be lawlessness because not all men are angels.
“But government must be limited, because not all members of government are angels,” Furrier added.
The rise of independents
“I joined the RTC at one point, but for a number of reasons I didn’t feel at home with them. It wasn’t hard feelings, ”Furrier said. “Then this thing called the Newtown Independent Party happened.”
Furrier said IPN was created in 2007 by residents concerned about school expenses and the proposed addition of a secondary school.
“I definitely agreed that we needed to build the high school addition, but it certainly wasn’t in the camp that thought we had to increase school spending all the time,” he said.
Furrier said the high school was at risk of being put on academic probation due to overcrowding as the town spent money planning the future of the Fairfield Hills property. He said he also believes the first manager has too much control over the latter issue.
“Not to say that I did not trust the first coach,” he explained. “It was too much power in too few hands.”
Furrier said the IPN candidates won numerous city council seats in 2007 and 2009, when Bruce Walczak ran for the first selectman and Furrier was his running mate. Although Walczak did not win, Furrier garnered enough votes to become a manager.
“Republicans and Democrats realized there was a gap in what they provided and what people voted for,” Furrier said of the rise of the Newtown Independent Party. “Under Pat Llodra, they addressed these issues. In 2011, we had finished.
Furrier ran for the first selectman in 2011, but lost to Patricia Llodra, a Republican.
“It took a lot of energy from me,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’m done with politics.'”
Back on the country trail
Following the resignation of State Representative JP Sredzinski (R-112e) last month, Furrier received a phone call from Walczak.
“He said, ‘You’re in this neighborhood. Do you want to run? », Remembers Furrier. “I said yeah. Then I thought, “I don’t want to run”. I didn’t know JP had resigned and thought he was talking about the next election. I didn’t want to run against him.
After realizing that Sredzinski had resigned, Furrier changed his mind.
“I started to think about why I would like to run,” said Furrier. “I firmly believe that Connecticut should be open.”
Furrier said he firmly believes that a lawmaker should represent the wishes of constituents in the district, unless it is something that violates your conscience.
As an independent, Furrier said he would be able to advocate for what is best for the district without being beholden to the Republican and Democratic parties.
“I’m going to go anyway, I think it’s fine,” he said.
Furrier said Connecticut appears to have a one-party regime in Hartford with the Democratic Party majority, while being what Forbes financially defines as a “death spiral state.”
At the same time, Monroe and Newtown aren’t getting as high a return as cities should for the money they send to the state in taxes, especially on education, according to Furrier.
“In the 112th arrondissement, we have always had a representative looking for more shares, and I would like to think that the three candidates will continue this tradition,” he said, adding with a smile, “with me, more is always better. “