Mayor Art Ward formally declared his intention Thursday to seek a second term in the city’s top job for another two years.
Ward said the post has turned out “quite a bit different than I envisioned it” because of the recession that has clobbered government along with most taxpayers.
Despite the hard times and hard choices, he said, “We can still move Bristol forward. We just need to do it together.”
Ward, a Democrat, attracted about 300 to his $50-a-person fund-raiser at Nuchies, including two gubernatorial candidates, the attorney general, the state comptroller and at least a handful of Republicans.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called Ward “a great friend” and insisted the mayor “is always fighting for the public interest, for the people of Bristol.”
Ward, a former state veterans’ counselor, has been unopposed since the only GOP contender dropped out of the race this week for personal reasons. He said, though, he expects to have an opponent again before the race is through.
Ward said that given the tough times, people who have jobs are worried they’ll wind up unemployed and those who have lost jobs already “are worried about surviving.”
He said that looking out for the interests of so many struggling families means he has had to make decisions “that were not very popular” – and doesn’t expect to see it get easier for awhile.
Ward said the key is for everyone “to work together as a team” and put partisanship aside in order to ensure the opportunities provided to people today are still there for “our children and grandchildren.”
“We can do it,” Ward said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts.”
In times like this, state Comptroller Nancy Wyman said, “Bristol needs a good team” and it needs the “outstanding leadership” Ward has offered.
It will take “hard work, compassion and fiscal responsibility,” said Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy said Ward “is one of the finest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with” in his 14 years as a mayor. He said Ward is “an honest voice” for the people.’
“Art Ward is the man for the job and I know he will win reelection in November,” said state Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Democrat who served as mayor for a decade.
He said Ward is "willing to work together to get something done."
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski, a Republican, said he came to the event – with a free ticket – because Ward is a friend.
Other Republicans in the room included Zoning Commission Chairman Frank Johnson and Board of Education member Chris Wilson.
There were a wide array of city officials and employees at the event, including three city lawyers, Park Director Ed Swicklas, Water Superintendent Rob Longo and Police Chief John DiVenere.
Ward's campaign co-chairs are Elliott Nelson, the Democratic chairman in Bristol, and Mayra Sampson, a former party chair who is head of a city union local. Both are long-time supporters of Ward.
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