First Selectman Tim Herbst announced his re-election bid Sunday night at the annual Trumbull GOP Lincoln-Reagan dinner at the Trumbull Marriott.
"I believe there are many more quarters to play in this game and I'm not quite ready to hang up my cleats," said Herbst, a Trumbull High School graduate and former football player. "And I firmly believe we have come too far and accomplished too much to turn back the clock and return to the policies of the past."
"I love the people of this town and I am honored and humbled to lead the best town in America," he added.
Herbst is the first person to declare his candidacy for first selectman this year. Municipal elections take place in November.
Herbst asked the packed banquet room if Trumbull was better off than it was four years ago, and the audience shouted, "Yes!"
He accused past administrations of adding more than $100 million in debt to the town over five years and raising taxes 54 percent in eight years.
"For years, Trumbull was run by an entrenched political machine comprised of special interests that looked at Trumbull taxpayers like their own personal ATM machine," the first selectman said.
Herbst said his administration is properly funding the town's pensions after they were underfunded for a "generation" before, saving Trumbull's bond rating. He also changed education policy.
"Four years ago, our opponents thought millions upon millions of dollars invested in large auditoriums and swimming pools was the way to improved student performance and achievement," according to Herbst.
He cited the implementation of all-day kindergarten, Trumbull's low class size and lack of teacher layoffs, in addition to a high high school graduation rate and high college attendance.
He also has proposed more police officers and updating emergency equipment in light of the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Touching on a point of controversy, Herbst said he defended Stern Village residents after issues arose in the public housing complex during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
"When I see senior citizens in public housing ignored and left to fend for themselves during a hurricane, you can be damn sure that I am going to stand up and fight to protect them," he said.
In December 2012, Herbst did not reappoint several members of the Trumbull Housing Authority and the rest resigned. He also argued that then-Executive Director Harry Wise mismanaged Stern Village during the hurricane by failing to make changes called for in an emergency plan for a year before the storm.
The new Trumbull Housing Authority replaced Wise and removed the THA's long time attorney, leading critics to accuse Herbst politicizing the board and giving jobs to friends.
Judith Stern, a former THA member, advised Stern Village residents to vote in November.
Economic Development and Infrastructure
Finally, Herbst said the town is financially better off, has more repaved roads and uses more energy-efficient practices to save money.
"Is our infrastructure stronger than it was four years ago? It is stronger," he said.
"And this infrastructure will make a Trumbull a destination point for businesses seeking to grow and invest here. Trumbull can become the economic lynchpin that connects the Tri-state area to the rest of New England, if we have the vision and the commitment to make this ideal a reality," the first selectman added.
For example, a cancer treatment facility is due to break ground in spring, and 68 "new development projects" are underway.
Seniors have more tax relief and the Grand List, the list of all taxable property in town, is up, he reported.
"It is the people of Trumbull that motivated me to seek this office four years ago and it is the people of Trumbull that motivate me each and every day to work with you to make this town a better place to live, work, invest and raise a family," he said.