DARIEN, Conn. – Rob Werner announced his independent candidacy for First Selectman of Darien on Thursday.
Werner, a Darien resident for nearly 20 years, said he intends to bring bipartisan leadership to the community and that he will focus on building a better town for the future.
“In recent years, I’ve kept an open dialogue with the leaders in our community – both Democrats and Republicans – most of who are very devoted public servants that have done tremendous work. I’ve come to believe that the best person for the job is the one who puts the town’s priorities above all else. I’m one of those people,” he said.
Werner filed his paperwork with the Town Clerk on Wednesday to make his bid official. He and his wife, Liz, moved to Darien in 1996, and since then he has been involved with several volunteer and civic activities, including Little League and Babe Ruth baseball, PTOs of local elementary and middle schools. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, Trinity College and the University of Connecticut Law School.
In 2012, Werner ran as a Democrat to represent the 141st State Assembly District, which includes Darien and Norwalk. In the first selectman race, he will run against incumbent Jayme Stevenson, a Republican who announced her intention to run for re-election .
“Right now our community has two choices. We can choose the path of least resistance and keep living in the present – patching up problems with band-aids or ignoring them, or we can choose a new destiny,” Werner said. “I entered into this race because I want to make Darien the best it can be – today and tomorrow.”
Werner said he wants to place an emphasis on infrastructure, including changes to improve the town utilities over the next 10 to 20 years. This includes migrating power lines underground, investigating plans to build a high-speed fiber-optic network, and piloting environmental programs. He also said he wants to halt interference at the state level and make sure the town’s interests are adequately represented. He said he wants to join forces with other towns with similar demographics to make sure towns with similar issues have a voice in Hartford.
In addition, Werner said he wants tax bills to include more information so that citizens get a clear view of where their dollars are being spent. He said he would hold office hours and increase accessibility to the first selectman, and focus on the little things like broken curbs, peeling and rusty safety railings, and cracked stonework.
Werner said he wants to provide a voice to the independent and unaffiliated voters in Darien, and said he will not endorse or contribute to any political candidate while in office. He also said he will voluntarily limit campaign contributions to $250 per person.
“Roughly one third of Darien residents are unaffiliated with a political party, so they have no actual representation on the Board of Selectmen. It’s time we change that by de-politicizing our system. Finger pointing and blaming is prohibiting us from getting any real work done,” Werner said.
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