Former councilman Mark Block announces run for first selectman

TRUMBULL - Mark Block describes Trumbull as a town lacking strong leadership and that it needs someone like himself who can firmly steer the town to where it needs to be.

“Is it a town that’s on autopilot? And if it is, we need somebody to take it off autopilot to hold on to the wheel and to start to steer it,” Block said.

Block, a former Republican town councilman said he sees a pattern of what he called a lack of a proactive response during the pandemic. This has resulted in the town being worse off than its surrounding neighbors, he said. For example, Trumbull could have opened Tashua Knolls for golfing during the pandemic, and taken a more forceful approach to vaccinations, he said.

“When vaccines became available, when people were able to move about again, there’s no reason that Trumbull shouldn’t have been opened,” he said. “And I don’t want to hear about how wonderful Trumbull is in terms of the vaccination. I think that there were an awful lot of volunteers in town that were taking the role of government in terms of encouraging and making available information on where you could get a vaccine and when it was available, and how you could do it,”

He said his background as a former councilman and as a volunteer at a synagogue makes him the best person to replace current First Selectman Vicki Tesoro. In his campaign announcement he said he would concentrate on improving education, reexamining infrastructural needs and lowering taxes on residents.

Tesoro in a written statement said she was concentrating on advocating for her constituents.

“I look forward to running against Mr. Block and having conversations and discussions with him about the important issues that matter to our residents and businesses. No matter what my opponent does or says, I will run this campaign the same as I did in 2015, 2017, and 2019. I will remain positive, issue oriented, and focused on the future of Trumbull. My opponent must remember right from the start that the facts matter and the truth matters,” she said.

Block’s campaign manager, Joe Pifko, described Block as someone more willing to listen than to talk. Block’s previous experience on the town council gives him the personal connections and experience that will prove to be crucial in getting his agenda across should he win election in November.

“He has a calming effect. If you’ve ever heard him talk he has a very calming voice. And he’s respectful of people’s opinions, and tries to get consensus,” Pifko said.

Pifko said that one time, when Block was a member of the town’s Aquatics Committee and the members were deliberating if the town should construct a swimming pool, Block studied it and arrived at the conclusion that the pool could actually be a revenue stream for the town.

But Block’s stated willingness for cooperation led him to disagree with the town’s government on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, which came to an abrupt end earlier this year when half of its members resigned in the wake of a social media backlash over comments made last summer by the chairman which compared the Blue Lives Matter flag to the Confederate flag. Block said the task force had been bungled from the start and even suggested opening the taskforce up to anyone in town who wants to be on it.

“I have a hard time understanding how you can use the word inclusion in the title of the task force. And yet you exclude people who have said that they want to serve. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Tom Kelly, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Trumbull, said Tesoro’s leadership speaks for itself.

“I’m sure Mark Block has a lot of rhetoric. He’s entitled to use whatever words that he wants. She’s been an excellent communicator throughout this entire pandemic,” Kelly said.