OLD LYME — With only five days left before the deadline to submit a petition, Tim Griswold has begun collecting signatures to appear on the ballot in November for first selectman of Old Lyme.
Griswold, who previously served as first selectman for 14 years until losing a 2011 election to current incumbent Bonnie Reemsnyder, decided to run again he said to make sure that all town residents have a choice when they go to the polls this year.
“I think really giving people a choice is quite important. I know when I did seven terms, I think one of them I got a free pass, but I think whenever possible, when you have two parties or even more you should have people on the slate from all the parties,” Griswold said. “My big motivation was not just to have the incumbent win it by default particularly given what’s happened recently.”
Griswold is referring Reemsnyder’s recent resignation as chair of the Connecticut Port Authority on July 24, after it was revealed that her daughter had been paid $3,000 in taxpayer money for photographs to decorate the Port Authority’s offices in Old Saybrook.
“What troubled me the most was the revelation about the Port Authority activities. I just said, gee we really cannot let this position go unchallenged at this time,” Griswold said. “I talked with a couple people and said well I’ll give it a go here because I think it is important to give people a choice.”
The due date for the Republican Town Committee to endorse a candidate was July 23, so Griswold is working to collect 100 signatures from registered Old Lyme republicans before Wednesday afternoon. If he is unable to collect enough signatures before the Wednesday deadline, he will not be listed on the ballot. Beginning Thursday, Griswold will have the petition available to sign at the Chocolate Shell on Lyme Street.
If he is re-elected first selectman in November, Griswold said he would work on finishing up the many projects that were started during Reemsnyder’s four terms.
“I think there are a lot of things going on right now in town. One of the things we need to do in town is evaluate where we are with projects and evaluate things that are still in the pipeline,” Griswold said. “There are a lot of balls in the air and a lot of things are pending and that’s distracting actually.”
These projects include the potential of combining police forces with East Lyme, sewering the Old Lyme beach communities, the affordable housing construction project and the redevelopment of Halls Road.
“Halls Road is a big deal. I know the committee has had these open houses but I think people are a little concerned about the magnitude of what’s being proposed,” Griswold said. “It looks good on paper, but all those private property owners would need to be on board and I don’t think they are even in the discussion.”
It is unclear whether a petitioned candidate – like Griswold — would be listed beside Reemsnyder, a Democrat, in the Republican space, or on an alternate space on the ballot.
“I’m hoping at the end of the petition process I could just be on the line with the rest of the candidates,” Griswold said.
First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder was not available to speak with CT Examiner for this news story, but will receive equal coverage as part of our ongoing coverage of elections in Old Lyme and across the region.
Please note that David Kelsey, current chair of the Old Lyme Republican Town Council, is a primary funder of CT Examiner. Mr. Kelsey had no knowledge of, or input on, this story. Gregory Stroud, editor and chief and owner of CT Examiner, is a life-long member of the Democratic Party. CT Examiner is nonpartisan, and will not endorse or support candidates or parties in elections.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the deadline for petitions is Wednesday, not Monday.