Former GOP selectman turns Democrat, date for special election set
FAIRFIELD — The Democratic Town Committee welcomed some converts — including a former Republican selectman — as well as the news that a date has been set for a special election for the Board of Selectmen.
Kiley was appointed to the Board of Selectmen in 2012 when Republican Selectman James Walsh stepped down, but the GOP rebuffed him when he sought the nomination to run for a full term in 2015.
Instead, the GOP nominated Laurie McArdle, who won her race, but resigned in December just one year into a three-year term. Republicans then recommended Ed Bateson to take her place, and his appointment was approved by Democratic First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Republican Selectman Chris Tymniak.
However, state statutes allow for a petition drive to force a special election. The DTC leadership spent six days just prior to the holidays collecting more than the required number of signatures. On Monday, Town Clerk Betsy Browne finished certifying the signatures and set June 6 as the date for the election.
In brief remarks to the DTC, Kiley said, “I am proud to announce that I have chosen to affiliate as a Fairfield Democrat. Simply put, my core values and my views on local government are aligned with yours.” He said he was grateful to the Democrats for welcoming him, and added, “I am eager to continue serving the town of Fairfield.”
“Based on Kevin’s comments, either Kevin’s core values have changed, which I find hard to believe, or he just sees a political opportunity to run for an office that he did not believe he had as a Republican,” Millington said. “If his values did change, that is very sad as, if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. “
Millington said should Kiley decide to run as a Democrat, “it does not say much for the local Democratic party and their evaluation of their own membership if they have to turn to a long-term rival and political opportunist to run for office on their ticket.”
The RTC chairman said he knows Kiley was “hurt and disappointed” when the GOP chose McArdle and claimed that just a few months ago, Kiley had lobbied Republicans, “vowing to defeat” Democrats.
“He held himself out as a loyal, fiscally-conservative Republican,” Millington said, “and told the membership that the Republicans were putting Fairfield back on the right track. In the end, Kevin may have become one of those politicians that will say and do anything to get elected.” Millington said, adding, however, that he will always “honor” their friendship.
In response to Millington’s comments, Kiley said, “People are never surprised when politicians sling mug.” He said these are the same insiders who voted him off the GOP ballot for “refusing to value politics over people.”
“For 22 years, I have always put the people of Fairfield first and that will never change,” Kiley said. “The citizens of Fairfield expect more from their leader, and I agree.”
When he introduced Kiley to the DTC membership, Tetreau said, “I have always had great respect for Kevin as someone who puts Fairfield first.’
The two served together on the Board of Finance, where Kiley was chairman and Tetreau was in the minority, and again on the Board of Selectman, where Kiley was the minority member.
“Kevin has a strong record of service to our town and is committed to our shared values,” DTC Chairman Steve Sheinberg said. “We will all benefit from his unique perspective and talents.”
Kiley served on the Representative Town Meeting from 1993 to 1997, and on the Board of Finance from 1997 to 2012.