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Now 3 Fairfield County Leaders Are Eyeing Hartford

First Selectman Tim Herbst
First Selectman Tim Herbst
He may not be seeking the governor's office, but First Selectman Tim Herbst is looking up, along with governor hopefuls Mark Lauretti and Mark Boughton, mayors of Shelton and Danbury, respectively.

Herbst joins Lauretti in filing exploratory papers for office. Lauretti has said he needs to raise $250,000 to qualify for public funding. That's also a test of how he might do if he commits to a run for governor.

Herbst, however, has not said what his ideal state role would be. But he called Trumbull a "microcosm of the state."

In a press release earlier this week, he said he's seeking to "apply his record of financial reform on behalf of the people of Connecticut," after being re-elected with "roughly 70 percent of the vote."

“Trumbull is a microcosm of the state of Connecticut both in its diverse makeup and desire for strong services and a quality of life at an affordable price,” says Herbst. “We must restore the promise of Connecticut just as we have restored the promise of Trumbull. In these challenging economic times, we need leaders who are willing to make the tough decisions, forge consensus and protect the money of the people we serve.”

“Since my re-election in November, I have been encouraged by the outpouring of support from across our state and from my colleagues that I explore making a run for statewide office. So, I’m looking forward to beginning the conversation of how I can be effective in helping to turn Connecticut around for the better," Herbst said.

“Tim is a Republican that Democrats and unaffiliated voters support,” said Trumbull Republican Town Committee Chairman Jack Testani. “That’s a compelling attribute Republicans need in a general election.”

According to Testani, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Trumbull. To achieve his victory, Herbst said in November he needed to win over democrats and unaffiliated voters.

“If Republicans are going to win statewide, they will need candidates who have a proven track record of getting voters to cross over because they believe in the person. Tim is that type of candidate and his record in Trumbull speaks for itself.,” Testani said.

Two of Herbst’s colleagues offered words of encouragement.

“Tim Herbst is a person that got into public service for all the right reasons,” stated Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra. “Tim and I were elected at the same time and I have come to respect and admire Tim’s honest, no non-sense approach. Tim’s efforts to positively reform the Town’s pension fund, while stabilizing taxes and holding spending in check make him ideally suited to explore ways he might be able to apply his skill set to helping the people of Connecticut.”

Stratford Mayor John Harkins, a former state legislator who was also elected at the same time as Herbst offered praise for his colleague and neighbor. “With Tim, what you see is what you get,” stated Mayor Harkins. “He’s an incredibly hard working, results oriented leader. When Tim sees a problem, he’s determined to fix it and his record in Trumbull is about turning things around and making things better. The state and national recognition that Trumbull has received and the positive accolades from the financial rating agencies is a testament to Tim’s hard work and leadership. He can help to turn Connecticut around.”

Herbst was elected First Selectman of Trumbull in 2009 at age 29, becoming the youngest elected chief executive in Trumbull history.

Herbst said he "believes the strength of Connecticut’s communities rests upon three pillars: strong finances, strong schools and a strong quality of life."

Since his re-election bid, Herbst's platform has included:

  • Lowering and stabilizing Trumbull's residential property taxes
  • Doubling senior citizen tax relief;
  • Boosting pension funding to actuarial-recommended levels and preserving the town's bond rating;
  • Changing over from traditional pensions to 401Ks for new employees (Herbst declined a pension);
Trumbull has also been ranked highly attractive for families in numerous magazines.

But critics of Herbst have often said he has higher political aspirations and would use the first selectman job as a steppingstone. He was asked several times during his 2013 campaign if he would focus on Trumbull in the 2013-2015 term.

He vowed to make Trumbull his priority.

Earlier this week, Herbst told the Trumbull Times that Trumbull is his top priority and that he passed up a fundraiser Monday night to attend the Town Council meeting.

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