Herbst exploring run for statewide office

Trumbull First Selectman Timothy M. Herbst has filed paperwork to explore candidacy for statewide office.

In a release sent Sunday night by Tim for Connecticut (TimforConnecticut.com), Herbst announced that he filed exploratory committee registration with the Connecticut State Election Enforcement Commission in consideration of a statewide office, including state treasurer. Herbst said that he is seeking to apply his record of financial reform on behalf of the people of Connecticut.

Democratic State Treasurer Denise Nappier has said she will seek reelection.

Herbst was reelected as Trumbull chief executive in November for a third two-year term. He received roughly 70 percent of the vote.

“Trumbull is a microcosm of the state of Connecticut both in its diverse makeup and desire for strong services and a quality of life at an affordable price,” Herbst said in his announcement. “We must restore the promise of Connecticut just as we have restored the promise of Trumbull. In these challenging economic times, we need leaders who are willing to make the tough decisions, forge consensus and protect the money of the people we serve.”

If he forms a candidate committee he will raise funds through Connecticut's Citizens Election Program of publicly financed campaigns, according to his release.

During the 2013 election season, Trumbull Democrats were critical of Herbst’s reelection bid, saying he had plans to run for higher office. At the time, Herbst said he was committed to doing the job of first selectman.

The following is directly from the announcement sent by Tim for Connecticut:

“Since my re-election in November, I have been encouraged by the outpouring of support from across our state and from my colleagues that I explore making a run for statewide office. So, I'm looking forward to beginning the conversation of how I can be effective in helping to turn Connecticut around for the better.”

“Tim is a Republican that Democrats and unaffiliated voters support,” says Trumbull Republican Town Committee Chairman Jack Testani. “That's a compelling attribute Republicans need in a general election.” Testani noted that there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Trumbull, yet Herbst was re-elected to a third term with roughly 70% of the vote. To achieve that margin, Testani noted that the First Selectman had considerable support from unaffiliated and Democratic voters. “If Republicans are going to win statewide, they will need candidates who have a proven track record of getting voters to cross over because they believe in the person. Tim is that type of candidate and his record in Trumbull speaks for itself.”

Herbst says he will spend the next several months raising money, sharing his record of reform and building support to assess where he can best apply his skills to an office on behalf of Connecticut residents. Two of Herbst's colleagues offered words of encouragement.

“Tim Herbst is a person that got into public service for all the right reasons,” stated Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra. “Tim and I were elected at the same time and I have come to respect and admire Tim's honest, no non-sense approach. Tim's efforts to positively reform the Town's pension fund, while stabilizing taxes and holding spending in check make him ideally suited to explore ways he might be able to apply his skill set to helping the people of Connecticut.”

Stratford Mayor John Harkins, a former state legislator who was also elected at the same time as Herbst offered praise for his colleague and neighbor. “With Tim, what you see is what you get,” stated Mayor Harkins. “He's an incredibly hard working, results oriented leader. When Tim sees a problem, he's determined to fix it and his record in Trumbull is about turning things around and making things better. The state and national recognition that Trumbull has received and the positive accolades from the financial rating agencies is a testament to Tim's hard work and leadership. He can help to turn Connecticut around.”

Herbst was elected First Selectman of Trumbull in 2009 at age 29, becoming the youngest elected chief executive in the history of town government. He was reelected in 2011. In November 2013 he was reelected to another two-year term with roughly 70 percent of the vote.

Herbst believes the strength of Connecticut's communities rests upon three pillars: strong finances, strong schools and a strong quality of life.

When Herbst took office, Trumbull was reeling from high taxes and a large budget deficit. In his first 100 days in office, he followed through on his pledge to identify $1 million of operational savings turning a budget deficit into a surplus while stabilizing property taxes.

In 2012, for the first time since 1983, Trumbull residents saw an average residential property tax decrease of 3.5%. In addition, the Town Council adopted the plan submitted by the Herbst administration to double senior citizen tax relief.

Herbst also addressed the town's beleaguered pension fund. For the first time in a generation, Trumbull has reached the adequate levels of proper annual pension funding and has negotiated multiple employee labor agreements that have reduced the number of town employees that are pension eligible. As a result of this strong financial management, Fitch, Moody's and S&P have lauded the Town's financial position. Earlier this year, Standard and Poor's stated that they have revised Trumbull's management practices to "good" from "standard" under their Financial Management Assessment methodology.

Trumbull has earned state and federal recognition as a model Connecticut community. In 2011, Family Circle Magazine ranked Trumbull as the 7th best Town in the nation to raise a family. In 2013, Coldwell Banker ranked Trumbull as the number 1 booming suburban community in Connecticut.