Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Rea: Work Commitments Preclude Running for First Selectman

Michael Rea, vice chairman of the Westport Board of Finance, said today that work commitments were the reason that he has suspended his 2017 exploratory committee to run as the Republican candidate for first selectman.

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Mike Rea: can’t make time commitment. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“I just didn’t have the time to commit to this effort as was required at this point,” said Rea, vice president of corporate services and global real estate for General Re.

Rea who had filed with the State Election Enforcement Commission (SEEC) in early March, said that he was “overwhelmed with the support and encouragement from Westporters across the political spectrum,” and that he would continue to serve out his term of office on the Board of Finance.

“I have a passion for Westport and for service in town government, and I expect to continue to do so,” said Rea, a lifelong town resident with more than 35 years of town volunteer service.

Asked if he would seek the office sometime in the future, he said, “You never know.”

In making his announcement Rea did not throw his support behind any other candidate vying for party nominations expected in mid-July. However, he did say, “The challenges Westport face today require new thinking.”

“The state of Connecticut has thrust financial issues upon Westport, and residents should and are expecting more, requiring new creative thinking from our town leaders,” he said.

First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Republican incumbent, is seeking the Republican Town Committee’s (RTC) nomination to run for reelection in November. In March he filed with the SEEC to run in November with Board of Finance member Jennifer Tooker as his running mate.

Melissa Kane, a member of the Representative Town Meeting, recently announced she is seeking a nod to run for the top municipal office from the Democratic Town Committee (DTC).

Like Rea, state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, who in March had begun an exploratory committee “Jonathan for Westport,” withdrew this month from seeking office. On June 1 he said there were too many pressing concerns in Hartford due to the state’s fiscal malaise that he was obligated to address.

“This is a good time for new and younger people to step forward and volunteer to serve our community,” Rea said. “Contact the political party of your choice and sign up to run for office. Westport is counting on you.”

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