Werner to be on ballot running for first selectman
Updated 2:46 pm, Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Rob Werner will appear on the November ballot for first selectman as a petitioning candidate with a platform of improving bipartisan cooperation and prioritizing long-term infrastructure planning.
Werner, a town resident since 1996, challenged state Rep. Terrie Wood, R-Darien, in 2012 to represent the 141st General Assembly district.
“I am running to offer independent leadership to our cherished community of Darien,” Werner said Tuesday. “To preserve the character and lifestyle of our town, we need to bring Darien’s infrastructure into the 21st century. Old-fashioned ways of dealing with problems are proving inadequate.”
Werner said as an independent candidate he would focus on a number of initiatives to improve Darien: Advocating for long-term projects to improve town infrastructure, including burying power lines and building a high speed fiber-optic network to ensure the town can accommodate advances in Internet technology.
“We could get caught playing catch-up,” Werner said.
Shifts in weather patterns and more severe storms make establishing underground lines a necessity, outweighing what many consider the prohibitive cost of burying lines to protect them from weather damage, Werner said. The cost is reasonable if paid for with a surcharge over many years on customer’s utility bills, he said.
“It is not like a new high school, where you need the money right now,” Werner said. “You can have a long-term plan to put underground lines and spend $3 million or $5 million a year for however long it takes.”
He also wants to continue efforts to counter state laws that impact Darien, including the affordable housing law, and seek modifications to acknowledge the difficulty complying with the law creates for smaller towns such as Darien.
Town leaders must continue to oppose state proposals that attempt to wrest local land use decisions from planning and zoning and elected officials, Werner said. Proposed state laws and work by a recently established Transit Corridor Authority to spur development near train stations should not circumvent the town’s land use approval process, Werner said.
“The town should decide what kind of development goes up around the stations,” he said.
Another goal is to inprove the process for residents who seek town departments to repair smaller problems such as broken curbs, cracked sidewalks or peeling paint.
“I will maintain a laundry list of those items and follow through to see they are taken care of,” Werner said. “The town does a good job, but what is missing is a direct line to authority. Sometimes it is hard to get through the bureaucracy.”
Werner joins Republican incumbent Jayme Stevenson, who is seeking a fourth term as first selectman. Former Republican Selectman Joe Miceli, who failed to gain the Republican party’s endorsement, has said he is considering running for the office.
For more information on Werner’s candidacy, see abetterdarien.com.