TRUMBULL — In a reverse of the political acorn falling from the tree, Mike Herbst, the retired Trumbull High School athletic director, will run for first selectman.
The 66-year-old former educator and father of former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst made the announcement at Monday’s Republican Town Committee meeting.
“I have led teams my entire life and I am ready to lead Team Trumbull,” the 42-year town resident said in a statement Friday night.
“My wife and I came to Trumbull in 1977 and I served in our school system under seven first selectmen,” the elder Herbst said. “No matter their political affiliation, I was proud of how each demonstrated leadership and focused on moving the town forward.
“Throughout the generations,” he said, “we have worked together to build one of the strongest school systems in the state, worked to keep taxes in check, worked to grow our local economy and most important, we have protected the character of the town with common sense and forward-thinking zoning.”
Without naming current Democratic First Selectman Vicki Tesoro, Herbst said he is concerned about the direction of the town and its population of 36,000.
“Tax hikes through increased spending, damaging cuts to education and rushed zoning decisions that threaten to overcrowd our schools are not the policies that will keep Trumbull strong,” he said. “I will take my experience as an educator, coach and athletic director to Town Hall, to build consensus and work tirelessly to strengthen our Trumbull community.”
Joe Pifko, Trumbull Republican Town Committee chairman, said Herbst’s commitment to the public schools and on the Town Council has earned him a town-wide reputation.
“Coach Herbst’s outstanding track record in the Trumbull Public Schools and the respect and admiration he has from thousands of students and parents over a span of 38 years makes him uniquely suited to put our town back on track,” Pifko said. “Mike has led teams and been in tough competitions throughout his entire career. We have every confidence that he will work hard and fight hard to deliver a win.”
Elaine Hammers, a former state lawmaker and chairman of the town’s Board of Finance, said she was excited about Herbst’s candidacy.
"“My children had Mike as a teacher and a coach, and I know firsthand the respect he has across the community as a leader,” she said. “The Republican Party has been after Mike for years to run. He’s going to make an outstanding first selectman.”
Herbst, and his wife Deborah, a retired elementary school principal, have lived in town since 1977. In addition to Tim, who lost the GOP primary for governor last year, they have a daughter, Amanda, who like her brother is a lawyer.