12 July 2009
State Rep. O'Brien Poised To Take Mayoral Plunge
State Rep. Tim O’Brien (D-24) is set to make an announcement on his political plans this year at an announcement on July 17th to be held at the Pulaski Democratic Club, 89 Grove Street, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
O’Brien formed an exploratory committee earlier this year to consider running for Mayor and he has since been meeting with voters and groups to gauge and build support for a possible mayoral run.
According to the Democratic Town Committee (DTC), no other Democrat has expressed an interest in the running for Mayor in the run up to endorsements to be held later this month.
O’Brien, a former councilor at large, was elected to the state House in 2002 and has made clean elections, property tax reform and equitable funding for cities cornerstones of his legislative efforts.
If nominated, O'Brien is expected to take on Republican Timothy Stewart who is expected to seek a fourth two-year term in the heavily Democratic city where Democrats currently dominate the City Council 13 to 2 and hold all state legislative seats. Stewart, a firefighter on leave of absence from his job as fire marshal, defeated Democrat Lucian Pawlak in 2003 riding a wave of anti-tax sentiment when property valuations soared by 40 percent. Stewart has successfully played a "me against them" theme in subsequent elections against Democratic opponents.
O'Brien has been a leading advocate in the legislature of comprehensive property tax reform that would reduce the property tax as a levy to pay for schools and other local services. During his tenure as Vice Chair of the GAE Committee, public financing and clean elections law was finally adopted. A blogger, O'Brien initiated the move by public officials late last year to seek the help of the state Department of Economic Development to save the New Britain Herald when the bankrupt Journal Register Company was ready to shut down the Herald and Bristol Press. In January, publisher Michael Schroeder emerged to revive the local dailies following the DECD's efforts to identify buyers for the local papers.
In considering a run for municipal office, O'Brien is breaking the mold for New Britain Democrats over the last generation. Elected Democrats have often moved from city government to the state legislature but not the other way around.
New Britain Democrats are scheduled to endorse their candidates on July 28th.