Democratic State Rep Steve Meskers now has a challenger for his seat in the 150th House district.
Republican Board of Education member Joe Kelly, former GHS rugby coach, announced this week he would challenge Meskers who is running for a second term.
On April 20 Kelly wrote on his “Elect Joe Kelly” Facebook that he had the “time, resources and enthusiasm” to take on Meskers and take back the seat from Democrats.
When Meskers defeated Republican Mike Bocchino for the seat in Nov 6, 2018, it was the first time in a century that Greenwich had elected a Democrat to the state House of Representatives.
In his Facebook announcement Kelly said if his campaign for State Rep is successful he would continue to serve on the Board of Education.
“My jobs as CEO of Uranium Markets, a small commodities brokerage firm, and President of Forestland Development, a real estate development company, both based here in Greenwich, take little of my time,” Kelly wrote. “I have partners that handle most of the day to day responsibilities. Along with my family, my service to our community will take center stage in my life.”
Kelly described himself in his post as a conservative, fiscally responsible, lifetime Republican.
“I have lived in the 150th district for 22 years and have dedicated a great deal of time to serving my community,” he added.
“As a coach, volunteer fireman, neighborhood association leader and elected official, I know how to work with others so as to achieve the best outcome in any given situation. As a husband of over 30 years and father of four kids, I understand the needs of Connecticut families and will dedicate myself wholeheartedly to their representation.” – Joe Kelly, Elect Joe Kelly Facebook Page
While Democrats fielded three candidates for just two seats, Mr. Kelly and Karen Kowalski were the two candidates on the Republican party’s slate for two open seats in November 2019. A sure thing.
Along the way though, Kelly hit a snag when then town attorney Wayne Fox cited Board of Education’s Code 9270, a school district bylaw, and said Kelly, as a paid rugby coach, had a conflict of interest with the school district and could not run. In mid-September 2019, Kelly resigned from his coaching position after nine seasons, eight state championships, clearing the way for his successful run.
Initially, in May 2019, Kelly sought to be the party’s nominee for Selectman on the three person board. John Toner had declined to run again when First Selectman Peter Tesei decided not to run for a 7th term. The party ultimately went with Lauren Rabin.
At a campaign kick-off event at Milbrook Country Club, Camillo said he first met Kelly back in 1998. “Joe is the same wonderful Irish-Catholic kid from Queens, New York. He was never given anything. He’s succeeded in business, succeeded in coaching, and even entered into the NY State Golden Gloves in the heavy weight division and won in a knock-out! …He’s a great guy.”
During Mr. Kelly’s remarks at Milbrook Country Club he said, “This position that I’m asking the Town to vote me into, is a position that will be held by two people,” Mr. Kelly said of himself and his wife of 30 years. “You’re not just getting one, you’re getting two.”
Talking about public private partnerships, Kelly said, “They talk about how they want to tax the wealthy more. Let’s put them to the challenge and prove it doesn’t have to be Bernie Sanders Socialism to get things accomplished. Let’s prove we can work together with those who have and those who have-not to fix things.”
As a member of the Board of Education, Kelly has worked on committees seeking to upgrade Cardinal Stadium. Earlier this month, at a virtual Selectman meeting on Zoom, Kelly urged the Board of Selectmen to approve the MI request for Phase I of the project. That includes replacing the home side bleachers, adding ADA parking and under the bleachers toilets and team rooms.
Kelly said it was urgent to move the bleachers project along quickly, because it was possible to have them installed by mid September.
“This is essentially a shovel ready project,” he said. “We’re in the process of picking out possibly as minute details as doorknobs for doors and hinges on the lockers and things like that.”
On Thursday, April 23, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the MI request for Cardinal Stadium Phase I.
The RTC has just one remaining candidate to nominate for the November election.
Dan Quigley, who recently became RTC chair, told GFP, “Our priority is to get through this difficult time and work within the RTC apparatus to nominate high quality candidates for November.”
Livvy Floren, State Rep for the 149th District representing parts of Greenwich and Stamford, announced on April 6 that she would not seek another term. FLoren is completing her 10th term and has held the seat since 2001. The RTC has yet to announce a candidate for that seat.
Ryan Fazio announced on March 17 that he would challenge State Senator for the 36th district Alex Kasser (formerly Bergstein), representing New Canaan, Stamford and Greenwich.
Harry Arora, who defeated Democrat Cheryl Trepp Moss in the January’s special election to complete First Selectman Fred Camillo’s term as State Representative in the 151st district, will run again in November.
“It says a lot about Joe that he intends to remain on the BOE if he becomes the next State Rep for the 150th,” Quigley said in an email, doing on to describe Kelly as “a salt of the earth, plain spoken person.”