Darien Dems nominate candidates
Published 1:32 pm, Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The Darien Democratic Town Committee has nominated Marc Thorne and Rob Richards for vacant seats on the Board of Selectmen but did not nominate a first selectman candidate to face Republican incumbent Jayme Stevenson this fall.
“We didn’t have a first selectman candidate come forward,” DTC Vice Chairman David Bayne said.
The candidates were nominated at the committee’s caucus Tuesday night at Darien Town Hall.
Thorne and Richards will run to fill the two open seats being vacated by Democratic incumbent selectmen J. Reilly Tierney and Christopher “Kip” Hall, both of whom chose not to run for re-election, Bayne said.
“They decided they did not want to run again and we wish them well,” Bayne said. “The Democrats think they both did an excellent job of selectman and we hate to see them go.”
Thorne, a member of the Representative Town Meeting for 30 years and a member of the body’s Finance and Budget Committee, has lived in Darien for 40 years with his wife Barbara, where they raised two sons, Mark and Andrew, who attended Darien public schools. Thorne said the new Board of Selectmen will need to protect local control of tax revenues and policy, making reference to the recently constituted Western Connecticut Council of Governments.
Two major proposed developments in town unveiled this month — a retail and residential development on the east side of the Post Road, just north of I-95, and another near the Noroton Heights shopping center and train station — will also challenge leaders to manage growth, he said.
“Both things bring opportunities as well as concerns,” Thorne said. “The development is an opportunity because new facilities can bring new tax revenues to town but also raises concerns how we’ll deal with concerns about traffic, parking, and providing town services.”
Rob Richards, a Darien resident since 2008 and president of Pin Design Inc., an Internet marketing and web design firm working with businesses nationwide, has been a member of the Democratic Town Committee for three years. He is married with two children, a daughter Taelyn, 9, and a son Rhys, 5, who will both attend Holmes School this year.
Richards said he is running for office to help protect the quality of life in Darien, and said he is eager to expand his knowledge of key issues such as taxes and growth by talking to residents.
“My position as a business owner grants me a unique opportunity to volunteer for the community,” Richards said. “I’m pretty sure I have the same principles and values that other people do and want to keep Darien great.”
Rounding out the Democratic slate of candidates are Diane Maguire for the Board of Finance, incumbent Kevin Cunningham for the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Katie Stein, running for a second term for the Board of Education.
In heavily Republican Darien, a rule of proportional representation limits the Republicans from holding more than three of the five spots on the board.
Despite the lack of a Democratic first selectman candidate, Stevenson faces possible challenges from former Republican selectman Joe Miceli and Independent Rob Werner, a former Democrat.