Cassetti talks about a fresh start for city
|The Hon. Richard Arnold, Superior Court Judge, right, administers the oath of office to David S. Cassetti Monday night at Ansonia High School. Ina Cassetti is standing at her husband's side. |
December 2, 2013
Reverend Clergy, Judge Arnold, honorable elected officials, distinguished guests, friends, family and fellow citizens of Ansonia:
I am truly humbled to serve as the 29th Mayor of the great City of Ansonia. However, this ceremony has a greater significance. Tonight we gather to reaffirm the success of our perpetual republic. The orderly and peaceful transfer of authority from one administration to the next is easily taken for granted, but absolutely critical to a representative democracy.
We are truly blessed to live in a country where this dignified process is a completely ordinary, commonplace occurrence.
In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “we observe today not the victory of party, but a celebration of freedom – symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning – signifying renewal, as well as change.”
I want Ansonia residents to know that my friend Mayor Della Volpe has acted with the utmost dignity in passing the torch to our new administration. By his gracious cooperation with the transition process he has demonstrated a clear commitment to putting the interests of Ansonia above the concerns and grudges of politics. I wish him well in his future endeavors and thank him for his years of service to our city.
I would also like to thank all of those who cast a vote in the election, regardless of whom they voted for. Please accept my sincere gratitude for playing a part in the electoral process and exercising a right that so many of our own citizens have fought and perished to protect. Thank you for playing an active role in shaping Ansonia’s future.
Recognition is also in order for all of those who ran for elective office in our city this year. It takes an enormous commitment to serve in a municipal office, whether on the board of aldermen, board of education or in city hall. The willingness to take on the duties and demands of these offices -- and to put ones name on the ballot for public approval -- demands the admiration and respect of our entire city.
To all of those who voted in this election, and even those who did not, I make this pledge: I will work tirelessly to earn and keep your trust; I will put the interest of the common good far above party affiliation and ideology; and I will do all in my power to give our city the fresh start it deserves.
Now, let me say that my family knows the true meaning of a “fresh start.” Many of those gathered hear tonight know that I am the grandson of Sicilian immigrants that arrived in Ellis Island some 93 years ago. They wasted no time in finding the best that this country has to offer: they travelled straight from New York Harbor to Central Street in Ansonia. The Cassetti family has been here ever since.
At the time my grandparents left Sicily in the 1920s, the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini was tightening its iron grip across Italy. Immigration allowed my grandparents to avoid the rising tide of tyranny washing over Europe. It gave them the opportunity to start life anew – to avail themselves of the tremendous opportunities and freedoms that are the cornerstone of the American experience.
Yet their decision to leave their homeland was not an easy one. My grandparents’ journey took them thousands of miles from the place of their birth. They were separated from friends and relatives. They risked the loss of family traditions and customs held for hundreds of years. I cannot begin to fathom the fear and trepidation they must have felt as they sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and into the unknown.
I stand before you tonight because my grandparents conquered their fears and dared to reach out for a better life – for a fresh start. Indeed, that is the story of a great many of us assembled here tonight and living across Ansonia. We are the sons, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who sacrificed so much for a brighter future, and eventually found it in this amazing country.
To those first generation immigrants who are with us tonight, I need to extend a special thank you for leading the way.
My friends, we are about to embark on our own quest for a fresh start here in Ansonia. We will board the ship together and set sail into uncharted territory. Before us are waves of change and uncertainty; a roiling sea that has forever submerged the ways of the past.
Just consider some of the new realities we face: the days when our economy could depend on manufacturing giants like American Copper & Brass are long gone; the time when cities and towns could exist self-sufficiently as islands unto themselves is over; and no longer can government afford to ignore the technological innovations of the private sector without becoming obsolete.
Compounding these challenges is a rising tax burden that has at times pitted us against each other, forcing a choice between ever-higher taxes or a lower level of city services.
Though the hardships may be numerous, we should not fear the course ahead. It is simply a matter of perspective. We must approach each obstacle as an opportunity to revitalize and re-energize our city. We must see in our most heated debates the potential to unite our community through open and honest dialogue. Above all, we need to recognize that even the most daunting trials are no match for our collective resolve.
Forging a new beginning in Ansonia will not require the dramatic sacrifice made by my grandparents almost a century ago. It will, however, require that we make the effort to see the best in each other and our common predicament. Working together we can face adversity head-on and emerge stronger than ever before. We can conquer our fears and charge forward to secure a new beginning for ourselves and for our families.
It is therefore with the greatest confidence that I say to you: Ansonia’s greatest moments are yet to come.
I pray that God helps all of us here tonight to administer our offices and to serve in the best interests of the people of Ansonia. I also now reflect on the words of President Ronald Reagan, who envisioned the United States of America as a “shining city upon a hill.”
On the occasion of his farewell address to the nation, President Reagan remarked that America was “still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”
Many of us gathered here tonight recognize Ansonia as our beacon in the darkness. It certainly was for my family.
As mayor I promise to not only to keep the beacon lit, but also to burn its flame brighter than ever before -- bright enough to guide Ansonia’s next generation home.
Thank you so very much. May God bless each of you, and God bless the City of Ansonia.
Note: Special thanks to Republican Town Committee Chairman John P. Marini for providing the text.
Labels: Ansonia, inaugural, mayor, speech