Deuschle, community volunteer, to run for Bethel first selectman on Republican ticket
BETHEL — Longtime resident and community volunteer Steve Deuschle is running for first selectman on the Republican ticket.
Deuschle earned a unanimous endorsement from the Bethel Republican Town Committee and will run alongside Paul Szatkowski, who has been on the Board of Selectmen for 15 years.
“I am humbled and honored by the confidence that the Bethel Republicans have in me as their candidate for first selectman,” he said in a press release.
Deuschle is expected to run against Matt Knickerbocker, a Democrat who was elected first selectman in 2009. Knickerbocker has not yet said whether he is running.
“We are not prepared to announce our candidates at this point in time,” said Nick Vitti, chair of the Democratic Town Committee. “I don’t expect for much to change at the top of the ticket, with Matt and (Selectman) Rich (Straiton) likely continuing on.”
Deuschle has lived in Bethel for 23 years and has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission since 2009.
He has been board president of the Bethel Community Food Pantry for three years and has served on the Board of Directors for Brotherhood in Action for 10 years. Both organizations provide food to needy families.
“Every day, I awake thinking of how I can further improve the quality of life for Bethel residents through my work with the Bethel Community Food Pantry and on the Planning & Zoning Commission,” Deuschle said in a release. “As first selectman, my focus on improving the lives of Bethel residents will expand to encompass all services provided by our town and its school system.”
He also volunteers for the SCOTTY Fund, grilling food at the nonprofit’s annual fundraiser picnic for the last 20 years, according to a release from the Republican Town Committee. For 10 years, he built sets for Bethel High School’s musicals, as well.
Bryan Terzian, chairman of the Republican Town Committee, said it is this commitment to the community that would make Deuschle a strong first selectman.
“It’s his moral fiber and his moral character,” Terzian said. “I don’t know anyone who has a stronger moral compass that Steve. With that type of background, of course we’re excited.”
Deuschle earned in 2017 the town’s Denis J. Riordan Award for outstanding and dedicated service on a Land Use Commission.
He is also an active member of the Bethel United Methodist Church, over the last 21 years volunteering as a youth group leader, mission trip leader, staff parish relations chair, church council member, monthly pasta dinner cook, confirmation class mentor and Sunday School teacher.
Deuschle has a wife, Patty, and two daughters, Dee and Nicole, who both graduated from Bethel schools.
This story will be updated.