A three-way race for first selectman?

Michael Redgate
Michael Redgate

Trumbull voters could see a familiar name on the ballot come November, albeit that of someone who has never run for office before.

Michael Redgate, community volunteer and local business owner, has announced his intention to run for first selectman as an unaffiliated candidate.

“I’m looking forward to running for a number of different reasons,” Redgate said. “I’m interested to see what kind of questions people have. There is a lot of interest in town in specific issues that I feel are undefined, like should we have a new community center, and how many voting districts should the town have?”

Redgate, who does not belong to any political party, described himself as being “a little socially liberal and a little more fiscally conservative.” He said he is throwing his hat into the ring out of  dissatisfaction with the relationship between the two political parties in town.

“It seems like there is a supermajority on most commissions, and I would like to see more balance,” he said. “What we really need is a chairman of the board that would get a little more discussion between the two parties rather than one party being able to move things through on their own because they know they control all the commissions.”

Getting onto the ballot should not be a problem for Redgate. He needs to collect only 114 petition signatures, or 1% of the ballots cast in the most recent municipal election. Getting the support of voters in November is going to be much more difficult, he acknowledged. Unaffiliated voters outnumber both Democrats and Republicans in town, but consolidating their support around his candidacy could be a formidable challenge.

“Unaffiliated voters get turned off by politics in general, but there are a lot of great things in Trumbull that people can support,” he said. “I know, because I’ve been involved in service organizations for 20 years.”

Redgate is a 20-year member of the Trumbull Rotary, former board chairman of the Lakewood Trumbull YMCA, and current president of the Trumbull Pisces swim team. He said political bickering wastes the talents of Trumbull residents by making them reluctant to participate as volunteers in town.

“When I started telling people I was going to run, they told me, ‘Be careful, it’s not a fun game,’” he said. “Well, guess what? It will remain a non-fun game if nothing changes.”