NEWSFLASH: Stevenson to seek fourth term in November as town leader

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson told The Darien Times Tuesday morning she will run for re-election in November. Should she win, it would be her fourth term as the town leader and her fifth on the board, having served as a selectman for the first two years.

According to an email she sent to Republican Town Committee Chairman Brent Hayes over the weekend, Stevenson also indicated her fellow Republican selectmen, Susan Marks and Kip Koons, would also be running again.

Marks said “It has been a privilege for me to serve on the Board of Selectmen since 2013. The Board, under the leadership of Jayme Stevenson has had many accomplishments. There is still more to do.”

“I am very excited to announce I will be seeking re-election as a selectmen.  I look forward to interviewing with the Darien RTC and speaking with the voters over the next few months,” Marks said.

Koons confirmed if he and his fellow candidates are nominated by the RTC, he “will seek re-election to the BOS joining Jayme as a First Selectman candidate and Susan as a Selectman candidate.”

“I think that this team has the experience, the energy and the judgment to serve the Darien taxpayers well in the face of the financial storm emanating from Hartford,” he said.

“I want to share with you and the RTC that I wish to seek re-election as First Selectman along with Susan and Kip as our Selectmen team. It's been an honor for me to serve as Darien's First Selectman since 2011,” she wrote.

“The political landscape has changed in significant ways over my three terms. Susan, Kip and I offer consistency, perspective, experienced leadership and dedication to putting Darien first. Critical characteristics for this uncertain time in Connecticut,” she wrote.

Stevenson added in the email that she hoped “we have earned the ongoing support of the RTC. We look forward to interviewing with the RTC in the near future.”

Stevenson told The Darien Times she took a lot of time to consider the decision because “I do believe in other people stepping up and serving.”

“But at this particular time with all that’s going on in the town of Darien and pressures from the state level, I believe that experienced leadership is really what the town needs at this moment,” she said.

As far as achievements during her current term, she said she doesn’t view them as her own, but rather, the town’s.

“They are collective accomplishments — I’m most proud of building upon what we’ve been working on in the last few terms,” she said.

Those include having an “open, transparent and collaborative local government — the RTM, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance are working better together than they ever have. And the same goes for Planning & Zoning.”

“We are laying the groundwork for the future of the town, all the decision making over new developments — these are tremendous accomplishments,” she said.

Other accomplishments included working behind the scenes on issues like lights at the high school — a long-time goal of many that was finally successful this year.

“That’s been going on since my tenure on the board began,” she said

Stevenson also added some historic land acquisitions by the town this year, including 18 acres on the Ox Ridge Hunt Club property and just over half an acre on Short Lane, adjacent to Weed Beach.

“These acquisitions will serve the town for decades to come,” she said

Stevenson also added working closely with the town’s utility partners to make sure residents have “safe, secure and abundant resources.”

Finally, she said Town Hall itself has made some “terrific hirings.”

“We have a fantastic Town Hall staff — while we don’t hire often, the people we have hired have been extraordinary,” she said.

In the end, though, Stevenson said it was important for experienced leaders to be in place during the current state of the state — to give taxpayers confidence.

“I also think you need thoughtful and experienced leaders to make some difficult decisions if the state is going to impose unique and new expenditures on our part,” she said.

In 2015, Stevenson was challenged by unaffiliated first selectman candidates Rob Werner and Chris Noe.  On Election Day, Stevenson prevailed with 2,074 votes. Werner and Noe earned 542, and 77 votes, respectively.

Democrats have not had a first selectman candidate challenge Stevenson in either the 2015 or 2013 election. In 2013, former Darien Democrat Town Committee Chairman Randy Klein served as a placeholder during the nomination caucus for an expected first selectman candidate who did not materialize.

Current DTC chairman David Bayne recently told The Darien Times decisions for November had not been made yet — either for a first selectman challenge or whether Democratic Selectmen Rob Richards and Marc Thorne would seek re-election.