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Tesei will not seek re-election as Greenwich first selectman

February 1, 2019

GREENWICH — First Selectman Peter Tesei will not run for re-election this fall, ending his time as Greenwich’s top elected official after six full terms when his term is up in December.

Tesei made the announcement Friday afternoon before a crowd of nearly 50 people, including his mother, ending months of speculation about his political future.

“It’s time to finish this journey and begin a new one with the same focus, passion and determination that I’ve shown these past 31 years in Greenwich government service,” Tesei said, promising to enjoy his remaining months in office. “I will continue to say and will say until my dying day that we are here to put Greenwich first. Greenwich first is what you believe in if you believe in the values of the community. It’s not a political statement, it’s just what you do.”

The cheering crowd of Tesei’s bipartisan supporters included several current and former town officials as well as Selectman John Toner, state Rep. Livvy Floren, R-149, former state rep Michael Bocchino and former Selectmen Drew Marzullo and Peter Crumbine.

Recalling his first run for office 12 years ago, Tesei looked back over some of his accomplishments: building Glenville School, the Greenwich High School Performing Arts Center and, most recently, New Lebanon School. He also noted the creation of a harbor management plan, the work of the First Selectman’s Economic Advisory Committee, the dredging of the Mianus River, the creation of the Cos Cob Park on the old power plant property, the opening of a new municipal pool and other advances in public safety and the environment.

Tesei had previously indicated he would run for a seventh term. At an October state-of-the-town luncheon for the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, he said that, if you asked him on that day, “I would like to continue what I do.”

But in November, Tesei put forward more doubt and discussed a political environment that had “become increasingly more negative and, frankly, not the same political environment from when I initially got involved.”

Questions about his political future had begun in earnest last spring when Tesei agreed to run for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor on a ticket with then-gubernatorial candidate Erin Stewart.

While Tesei’s alignment with the mayor of New Britain ended when she later abandoned her gubernatorial bid and ran for lieutenant governor instead, he nominated her at the State Republican Convention and campaigned with her during her unsuccessful primary run.

Tesei’s political career began when he was a teenage member of the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting and included time as chairman of the Board of Estimate and Taxation. He was first elected as first selectman in 2007.

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com

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