Becker launches campaign for Fairfield first selectman
Updated 6:58 am, Sunday, March 27, 2011
As expected, David Becker, a freshman Republican member of Fairfield's Representative Town Meeting, made his bid for first selectman official Saturday on the steps of old Town Hall.
The 28-year-old said he plans a fast-start to his quest for the town's top job. "I enjoy campaigning and going door to door and I'm excited to get out there this afternoon," the District 1 representative said as he greeted about 30 supporters after his morning announcement.
Becker first ran for the RTM in 2009, and was the highest vote getter in his district.
"There is a costly lack of communication between town boards and town leadership, and a lack of transparency and openness between town government and the residents of Fairfield," Becker said. "Our schools are bursting at the seams, our facilities in disrepair and progress is being stifled by an air of mistrust between education and town officials."
Democratic First Selectman Kenneth Flatto announced Tuesday that he will step down at the end of April to take a job with Gov. Dannel Malloy's administration. An interim first selectman -- who has to be a Democrat like Flatto -- will be chosen by the remaining two members of the Board of Selectmen to fill the rest of Flatto's term, which ends in November. However, if Democrat Sherri Steeneck and Republican James Walsh cannot agree, all of the elected Democratic officeholders in Fairfield would vote to choose the interim.
And within 15 days of the appointment -- whether by the selectmen or the elected Democrats -- voters have the option of petitioning for a special election to choose an interim first selectman by gathering signatures of 5 percent of the town's registered voters.
But Becker is first seeking the GOP nomination to run for job in November's municipal election.
Robert Bellitto Jr., the Republican vice chairman of the Board of Finance, has said he will run as well, though he will not discuss the campaign until after the process of adopting the town's 2011-12 budget is finished. State Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, has also left open the possibility of running for first selectman, a scenario that many political observers would make him the odds-on favorite for the post.
On the Democratic side, Michael Tetreau, a Board of Finance member, has indicated not only is he interested in serving as interim first selectman, but would like to run for the job in November as well.
Becker pledged he would offer better leadership, better fiscal management, and would restructure and streamline town government. He also said he would be the first new town employee to participate in a defined contribution retirement plan, rather than a defined benefits plan.
"I will ensure that our school system is both properly funded and equipped to meet the needs of our children," he said, promising to address what he said are overcrowded conditions. Becker also said he will look for ways to provide additional tax relief for seniors.
With the first selectman field expected to be crowded, Becker didn't shy away from the prospect of a primary for the Republican nomination. "I do anticipate other people will be interested and I plan on being in this right to the finish line," he said.
As to whether his youth, Becker said he doesn't see it as a problem. "They can try and bring it up, but I think that it's an asset to the town," he said.
Fellow RTM member Joseph Palmer, R-4, said Becker regularly looks for ways to reach across the aisle and will work to apply long-terms plans to solve problems rather than simply look for quick fixes.
A lifelong Fairfield resident, Becker is an executive at Confirmed Freight LLC and a founding member of Becker Prospects LLC, a family-owned real estate investment, management and development firm. He and his wife Erica live on Catherine Street.