On Monday Greenwich First Selectman, Republican Fred Camillo, kicked off his campaign for a third term, along with Republican Selectwoman Lauren Rabin and Republican Town Clerk Jackie Budkins.
All three are serving two-year terms. The municipal election is on November 7, 2023.
Present in the crowd were former Senator Bill Nickerson, Board of Education chair Joe Kelly, Board of Estimate and Taxation members Karen Fassuliotis, Dan Ozizmir and Bill Drake, former BET member Mike Mason. Also past Republican Town Committee chairs Stephen Walko, Ed Dadakis, Rich DiPreta, Dan Quigley and current chair Beth MacGillivray attended.
Also present was Tax Collector Heather Smeriglio who has not yet kicked-off her campaign for re-election.
Ms MacGillivray, explained in an email that Ms Smeriglio will announce at a later date.
“Fred, Lauren and Jackie will go through the same process as other candidates for the various municipal offices at our EC (executive committee) and general meetings,” MacGillivray said. “Greenwich Republicans endorsement for candidates is scheduled between July 18 and July 25. In the meantime we will be hosting Q and A and other opportunities to meet all candidates running for municipal offices.”
Monday’s event was staged in the field next to the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, which is taking shape thanks in part to a public-private partnership.
Former State Senator Scott Frantz introduced the candidates.
“I think we all agree we live in one of the best town, if not the best town in the country. Our schools are unbelievable. Our town is safe. Our parks are to die for. Our recreational opportunities are incredible,” Frantz said. “You simply can’t have those things unless you have outstanding political leadership.”
“Four years ago we stood at the Teen Center at Arch Street and started to run on a vision,” Camillo said. “And four years later we are running on a record that includes public-private partnerships, public safety enhancements, pedestrian friendliness, a sustainability committee, an energy policy, and communications.”
Pointing at the new civic center building under construction, Camillo said, “Part of the record is over my shoulder. When some of us were playing basketball here in the 80s they were talking about re-doing this… Many times there were attempts to get this going. They made some progress, but it never got to fruition. We wanted to get some of these longstanding projects over the finish line, and we did that through public-private partnerships.”
Camillo thanked the Cohens, whose Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation donated $5 million toward $21 million cost of the new civic center.
When the building is compete, signage will indicate “Cohen Eastern Greenwich Civic Center.”
“We got a lot of these things done in spite of getting hit with massive floods, constant overreach on zoning out of Hartford and the worst pandemic in years,” Camillo continued. “Future generations will remember things like this behind us. It’s things like this – in addition to keeping Greenwich affordable and having the lowest mill rate in the state – that’s great. But if we don’t do things like this, that doesn’t matter.”
Lauren Rabin, who previously served on the RTM and the BOE, noted she currently serves on the Central Middle School building committee.
“There’s still so much I hope to accomplish,” she said. “Like Fred you’re so proud of the Cohen Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, I have to get my alma mater built – we need a new Central.”
“We have such talent in our community. We’re so lucky. But just to continue momentum and serve the community we care so much about,” Rabin continued, adding that she was honored to follow previous Selectmen including John Toner, Dave Theis and Peter Crumbine.
“All three of them all gave me advice for the past four years,” she said. “Dave Theis used to say, ‘Lauren, you can’t win on the field if you’re fighting on the bench. As a community we have to stop fighting – as a party, as groups of people – that’s why I love our sign: Unity, that’s what we need right now.”
Town Clerk Jackie Budkins said she had been fortunate to take over a well run department in town hall.
“My predecessor left me…she was pretty good,” Budkins joked, pointing to her mother Carmella Budkins who served as town clerk for nearly 30 years.
“It’s awesome. I am excited,” she said.
Budkins quoted Edward Everett Hale: “‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’ That’s why I’m so fortunate to work together with Fred and Lauren, and Heather, when she’s ready. We are a good team.”