Mayor Art Ward, a Democrat elected in 2007, plans to seek re-election this year.
Ward said Tuesday that since taking office, “the economy has changed and I’d like to see it through to the point where we’re back on track” as a community, state and nation.
Ward said he’s enjoying the job despite the hardships caused by the massive recession that has crippled many businesses, clobbered revenues and made it difficult to balance the books at City Hall.
“These are the types of times that call for leadership,” Ward said. “They basically test your abilities.”
Ward said the voters will decide how he’s doing come November.
So far, there is only declared challenger, Republican Ken Johnson, the man that Ward narrowly defeated to win the city’s top job 16 months ago.
But two former mayors may be interested in running: Republican William Stortz and Democrat Frank Nicastro, who is stepping down from a City Council seat this year while continuing to serve as the 79th District’s state representative. Nicastro hasn’t ruled out a mayoral run.
The parties will nominate candidates this summer.
Ward plans a formal announcement of his intention to run on April 30 at a fundraiser at Nuchies. But he filed papers recently that made his plans clear.
Ward, who served on the council for seven terms before seeking the mayor’s job, said that he’s been able to “work in a bipartisan fashion for the most part” and has managed to patch up the obvious rift with some Democrats after a tough primary in 2007.
Ward said that Democrats “have all come to the realization” that in the face of such hard times “we have to put our personal differences aside” and do what’s best for Bristol.
“It’s been a challenge” to serve during a recession, the mayor said, but he’s convinced he’s done the job well .
The highlights of his term as mayor, he said, were the city’s recent bond upgrade, the success in attracting new businesses and helping existing ones expand.
“I enjoy the job. I enjoy working with people. I thoroughly enjoy working with the community” in many ways, from giving recognition to civic groups to reading to schoolchildren, Ward said.
Ward is a former state veterans counselor who served in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam Ward.
Mayors serve two-year terms for about $101,000 annually. The election is Nov. 3.
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