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Casino Supporters Have Their Say

Citizens for Milford's Future Founder Michael Kaplan speaks at a pro-casino rally.

A room in Milford's Portuguese Club was jam packed with hundreds of local residents showing their support for the construction of a $1 billion casino/resort in town. The pro casino rally took place during the evening of October 3.

Leading the rally was Michael Kaplan, a resident, attorney, and founder of Citizens for Milford's Future; a pro-casino group. Kaplan explained to attendees that too much misinformation was being spread throughout the community concerning the casino and that it was critical for residents to be educated on the matter before making up their minds.

Kaplan also discussed the benefits the casino will bring to Milford including 3,500 new jobs as well as $31 million up front from the host agreement, plus approximately $30 million annually. According to Kaplan, the annual revenue will help to make improvements to schools, infrastructure, other municipal buildings in town, and provide tax relief. "This is where Milford needs to go; we need to go forward," said Kaplan.

State Representative John Fernandes D., Milford, explained he was in attendance that evening to act as a resource for residents who might have questions, adding that he also attended an anti-casino rally recently. Ferndandes has not taken a position on the casino but noted that there are both pros and cons for the project. Still, no matter what any resident's stance is, Fernandes strongly encouraged citizens to vote on the referendum on November 19. "This decision will have such an impact on the community," he said. He added that with the two town votes, one on November 19, the town-wide referendum, and a second in December, a Special Town Meeting to rezone the parcel for the project, plus the other required permitting and approvals, construction for the casino is still years away from beginning.

Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera discussed the job diversity the casino will bring to the area. "At Foxwoods, there are over 150 job descriptions," he said as he introduced a number of Foxwoods employees working in the food and beverage operations, retail, hotel operations, dealers, and more. "The opportunities are outstanding and they're all well-paid jobs with tremendous benefit packages," he said.

Lifetime resident and former Selectman Sal Cimino was one of the last speakers of the evening and strongly encouraged Milford to move forward with the casino noting the millions in revenue will go to another host community if citizens don't take advantage of the opportunity. "Why should someone else get that money?" he asked.

Milford residents will have their say concerning the casino on November 19 when a referendum vote will take place. If that vote passes, then a 2/3 majority vote is needed at a Special Town Meeting tentatively scheduled for December 9. Volunteers were also handing out voter registration information at the rally.


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