Selectman Plans Run, Creating Own
By LORETTA WALDMAN
Courant Staff Writer
May 17 2007
SIMSBURY -- Five-term Republican Selectman John Romano announced plans
Wednesday to run for first selectman as an independent and to create a new
political party on which he and other candidates will run.
An engineer and 29-year town resident, Romano said he had been approached by
residents expressing dissatisfaction with the town's current leadership.
"There is a void in leadership in the town," he said. "There
are too many homeowners' groups with unresolved issues. What residents have to
go through to get something accomplished is unfortunate. The goal of the new
party is to be accessible to citizens and for citizens."
Romano, 62, a project manager for the Connecticut Resource Recovery
Authority, said he planned to file the necessary paperwork to register his
yet-unnamed party this week. It will be made up of Republicans, Democrats and
unaffiliated voters, he said.
An anti-big box homeowners' group had been rumored to be creating an
independent party, but Romano said his new party has no ties to that group.
He said he has, however, consulted with the leadership of Simsbury Homeowners
for Responsible Development, or SHARE - as he has with other local groups -
and has their full support.
At least two people say they plan on running for town office with Romano.
Bradford Mead, a Republican alternate for the last three years on the town
planning commission, confirmed Wednesday that he will seek a full seat on
that commission under the new party banner. Bruce Elliott, an unaffiliated
voter and SHARE steering committee member, said he will run for zoning
commission on the ticket.
Both Romano and Mead have been rebuffed at various times by GOP party
members. Romano lost a bid to become deputy first selectman to Selectman Joel
Mandell in 2005 over Romano's claims that he was the second highest
More recently, the Republican town committee appointed Darren Cunningham
instead of Mead to fill a vacancy on the planning commission even though Mead
was first in line for the seat. Mead believes his support of size limits on
new development is the reason, although Tom Rechen, a spokesman for the GOP
town committee, denied the claim.
Rechen declined comment on Romano's defection from the party, noting that a
reporter's question was the first he had heard of it.
Romano insisted his campaign was not motivated by bad feelings toward Mandell
or incumbent First Selectman Tom Vincent. Rather, he said, it is an attempt
to point the town in a new direction and to foster greater public involvement
in decision-making by elected boards and commissions.
"I just see this as a needed change," Romano said. "I see it
as a different focus from the way Republicans and Democrats have led Simsbury. ... I would
like a board of selectmen that is totally involved, not a rubber stamp group
or for show. For 10 years it's pretty much been that."
Romano joins a growing field of candidates attempting to unseat three-term
Republican Vincent in November. Selectman John Hampton, a Democrat, formed an
exploratory committee in March and is expected to announce his candidacy next
Contact Loretta Waldman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant