Two veteran Democrats plan to step down as city councilors this year.
Both Frank Nicastro and Craig Minor, who hold the 3rd District’s two seats on the council, said they’re not going to seek reelection to the part-time position this fall.
Nicastro, who also serves as the 79th District’s state representative, said he is “too busy in Hartford” to continue dividing his time between municipal and state issues.
Minor, a three-term incumbent, said, “Six years is long enough. It’s time for new ideas and new blood.”
Among the rest of the six-member council, three said they are at least leaning toward another political race this year.
Both Republican Mike Rimcoski and Democrat Cliff Block – the 1st District’s councilors – said they are inclined to run for reelection.
Freshman Republican Ken Cockayne in the 2nd District said he’s going to file papers soon to run for office this year – but he wouldn’t say which one. There’s been some speculation that Cockayne might run for mayor, but most expect him to seek another council term.
The only other member of the council, Kevin McCauley, declined to comment on his plans.
Rimcoski, who served on the council in the early 1990s, said he’s leaning toward a run for a third consecutive term. But he’s not sure it will be as much fun.
“I’m going to miss Craig because I won’t have anyone to pick on,” Rimcoski joked.
Block said he’s “considering running again” for a second term from the northeastern Bristol district where Mayor Art Ward also lives.
Minor said in December that he notified the Democratic Town Committee recently about his decision to give up his 3rd District seat so it would have plenty of time to recruit and vet a good candidate to take his place.Minor said that letting people know early on “removes the drama” that so often surrounds political decisions.“I don’t like drama and I think a lot of politicians do,” Minor said.Minor, who works as the town planner in Cromwell, said he wants to devote his attention to a few issues he cares deeply about instead of taking on whatever his council duties require.“This way I can expend my free time on the specific issues that I care about,” Minor said.The councilor said he’s not ruling out a future political run “but certainly not in the near future.”Minor said he doesn’t think that telling people of his decision will weaken him politically in the months ahead.“I’ve always worked well with the other people on the council” on both sides of the aisle, he said, and he’s sure that will continue.Nicastro is in his second consecutive term as a 3rd District councilor, a position he sought after taking a two-year break following a decade in the mayor's office. He served for three terms as one of the district's council members before winning the city's top job in 1993.Nicastro has served in the state House since knocking out longtime incumbent Democratic state Rep. Kosta Diamantis in a hard-fought 2006 primary. He won reelection to the state post last year.With the decision by Nicastro and Minor to depart from the council, the Democrats will have two open seats in the 3rd District.
Among the likely contenders for Democratic backing are Terry Parker and Charles Cyr, though there are surely others with an interest as well.
Councilors earn about $10,000 annually and serve two-year terms. The positions often serve as a jumping off point for mayoral contenders, since most mayors have served on the council before seeking higher office.
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