At 48 years old, Thomas Blonsky divides his life between the Chapelle-Royale town hall, 300 inhabitants, of which he has been mayor since 2008, and his ” pancake restaurant in Nogent-le-Rotrou, the capital of this area. Demonstrated support for Emmanuel Macron and the promise of a policy ” pragmatic, neither right nor left », This iconoclastic and never-resigned elected representative is full of projects to promote heritage, revitalize local life and the economy. In recent years, he has created a municipal grocery store as well as a leisure center for the approximately 30 children from Chapelle-Royale who go to school in a neighboring village. his” great happiness is to go to lunch on Wednesday with the kids in the leisure center and hear them call him ” Sir. mayor “.
The Cross The Weekly :What makes you get up in the morning?
Thomas Blonsky: My dual passion: my work as a restaurateur and my mandate as mayor. My life is divided between the two. I like meeting my clients, serving them beautiful dishes, chatting with them from Thursday to Sunday. As for my town hall, I am there physically from Monday to Wednesday, but accessible and accessible all seven days of the week. Basically, these two features are very similar. Since I do not have children, I like to give my time to serve people so that they can have a good time in my restaurant or live happily in my village. Through my two hats, I am an advocate for the middle class and the people of villages with less than 1,000 inhabitants.
How are the French viewed from the Chapelle-Royale?
VG: People, flooded with anxious and negative information, are worried. But basically, in the Chapelle-Royale, there is no major problem of uncertainty. Added to this concern was the ghost of the return of war. People talk to me about it every day. We talk a lot about the mental health that has deteriorated. I have observed it in the elderly. Because of Covid, they felt alone. A number of them have left their homes to live in a nursing home like Gérard, one of the oldest in the village. He was not really isolated. His sister was present by his side. But he told me he was bored. He had a hard time closing the village cafe and no longer going to the neighboring town. The president of the alumni club notes that since the activities have resumed, people are better, playing cards again, Scrabble. However, there is still some fear that everything will start again.
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What is your assessment of the last five years?
VG: Things have happened … I’m thinking of the yellow vests. I did not see them coming. I blame myself a lot because I am by their side every day. But people do not dare to talk about their problems. I had to see the yellow vests in my village to understand their difficulties. I am also thinking of the Covid crisis. We, the mayors, have been in the front line. This crisis has had unintended consequences. All of a sudden, vacation homes sold like hot cakes. We have urban planning files to process like never before, forcing us to adapt, for example by opening a coworking room after the second containment. People who come in ask for services like fiber.
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I also remember the end of this disastrous policy of municipal amalgamations. Like many mayors, I feel rehabilitated. I also welcome the Commitment and Subsidiarity Act, which has increased the allowances for mayors in very small municipalities. To encourage young people to take over, it is useful. Over the last five years, an employee with the minimum wage in my restaurant has earned almost € 1,500 a month thanks to the activity bonus. We do not talk so much about it, but it allowed me to keep my waitress and my dishwasher.
Has a scene stood out to you recently?
VG: At a public meeting in Chartres, I spoke in front of Éric Dupond-Moretti, the Minister of Justice, to thank the government for helping rural municipalities. However, I usually have a hard time expressing myself in public … Since my first election, in 2008, I had not often been accompanied by the state in my projects. But since 2017, I have received almost € 320,000 in grants, which has enabled me to create a hall with restaurant, public toilets, develop a motorhome area, renovate the town hall, highlight the laundry … These politicians, as they say. being interrupted is not so much.
What is close to your heart in your elected mandate and your job as a restaurateur?
VG: The situation of the elderly in rural areas. I personally took care of my 93-year-old neighbor. I took him to the hospital, I helped him with his administrative procedures. Aging in rural areas is difficult. You can live there for a very long time and really well, but without the helpers and relatives, the story is not the same. For example, how can a 90-year-old visit a doctor without the help of Doctolib? In Chapelle-Royale, I have the project of creating small individual houses adapted for the elderly, with professionals following them in their daily lives.
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What first step would you like Emmanuel Macron, now re-elected, to take?
VG: I would like him to carry out two projects in parallel. On the one hand, that he put the package on caregivers, by raising the salaries of nurses, caregivers, ADMR staff (network of personal services, editor’s note), and all those who do the “dirty work”. On the other hand, let him focus on education. I believe that the teacher must be the cornerstone of the society we must design. Therefore, I set up a holiday home in the absence of a school in the village.