UPDATED w/video — ‘To make a difference, you get in the game’

First Selectman Tim Herbst emphasizes a point during his speech announcing his intention to run for governor. — Dylan Haviland photo
First Selectman Tim Herbst emphasizes a point during his speech announcing his intention to run for governor. — Dylan Haviland photo

Tim Herbst overlooked the crowd at Trumbull High School, where he once graduated 19 years ago, took a breath, then announced to his supporters his ambitions as the candidate for the governor of Connecticut.

And as the 36 year-old Republican, and four-term first selectman of Trumbull put it, “The telling it like it is tour starts today.” Full text of speech here.

His run for office will signal the end of almost a decade as first selectman.

“Now is not the time for political gamesmanship or gimmicks,” Herbst said. “The people of our state deserve honest, straight forward leadership and need experienced reformers who are willing to make the tough calls to enact real change. As the son of a coach, I have grown up knowing that you don’t move the chains down the field by sitting on the sidelines. To make a difference, you get in the game.”

Herbst’s game plan aims at the capital itself, with a focus on reforming the state.

“As storm clouds have manifested into perpetual fiscal crisis, well-connected special interests in Hartford have fought time and again to protect their own interests and the status quo,” Herbst said. “As a result of these failed insiders, Connecticut, sadly, has experienced one of the worst recoveries of any state in the nation from the Great Recession. Under the tutelage of Gov. Malloy and his insider allies, wages in Connecticut have flatlined, jobs and opportunity are fleeing our state and struggling workers, families and retirees have been continually asked to sacrifice more.”

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He pledged once in office to refuse a state pension and donations from lobbyists in Hartford, create a contribution plan for state agency heads, political appointees and their staff in addition to removing them off the state pension system and ending state pensions for part time citizen legislature and several of their free health care during their retirement.

To back his plans of fixing the state Herbst recalled his refusal of a pension along with removing it from political appointees along with improved credit ratings and eight balanced budgets as first selectman.

The chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, Nick Balletto, criticized the first selectman in a statement following his announcement. Stating that he would do the opposite for the state’s values, with a comparison to President Donald Trump. Full statement here.

“His tenure in Trumbull, which consists of years of bullying, using taxpayer funds to attack his political opponents, and treating his position as nothing more than a stepping stone to higher office, has taught us everything we need to know about Tim Herbst. In short, this is someone who has modeled his 'leadership' skills after Donald Trump, and has the exact wrong temperament to be Connecticut's governor."

Herbst’s previous run for a state office was for treasurer in 2014, where he lost to Democrat Denise Nappier.

It was during the race for treasurer that Steve Kolenberg, a recent UConn graduate and Stanford resident became a fan of Herbst. The graduate brought along other out-of-town college students to support Trumbull’s first selectman.

“I'm convinced he's the only person who can bring this state back,” said Kolenberg. “He's got the will to do it, he's got the drive to do it, he's got what I call the 'eye of the tiger'. He knows what he is doing and he's just gonna be a machine and he needs to take care of the state the way it needs to be taken care of."