Sunday, July 21, 2024


Update: Farrell Announces She Will Not Seek Re-Election, to Explore “Options”

Less than a month after making an unsuccessful but strong run for Congress, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell announced today she will not seek re-election and will explore “other options that may arise in the public and private sectors.”farrellleamanmeyer11300401260.jpg
First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell confers today with Selectman Carl Leaman (l) and Representative Town Meeting member Bill Meyer a short time after announcing her intention not to seek re-election. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Farrell, a 49-year-old Democrat, informed her staff of her decision in a morning meeting and then issued a press release.

“I have no immediate plans,” she said. “I will explore other options that may arise in the public and private sectors.

“I will be talking over time with some of my advisers from my recent campaign to whom I owe a great deal people in and out of public office that supported me.”

Ever since her defeat, there had been speculation she might not run again and instead seek higher office—either another race against incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays or a state office, possibly secretary of the state or lieutenant governor.

Farrell said her time in office has been a “wonderful and most gratifying experience.”

She praised her two-rime running mate and former fellow Board of Finance member Carl Leaman and said he has been “my partner in virtually every field of activity we have encountered in the community.”

“I cannot thank him enough for his wise counsel and everything he has helped me do for the Town of Westport,” she said.

Leaman, 63, has served as a Selectman with Farrell on the Board of Selectmen but has said he has no interest in succeeding her in office if she decided not to run again.

The third member of the board is John Izzo, 61, a Republican, whom Farrell easily defeated in 2001. He has already made known he intends to seek his party’s nomination to run again for the top town office.

Farrell is the first person in 24 years to serve as First Selectwoman for eight consecutive years. The last was former First Selectwoman Jacqueline P. Heneage, also a Democrat, who served two two-year terms and one four-year term between 1973 and 1981.

Farrell was elected in 1997 with 59 percent of the vote and was re-elected in 2001 with 71 percent of the vote, attracting support from many non-affiliated voters and Republicans as well as Democrats. She was defeated in her bid to oust Shays by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent.

In a nine-page press release announcing her decision, Farrell pointed to what she said were her many accomplishments in office—showing fiscal restraint, construction of a senior center, and preservation of open space, including purchase of Baron’s South and the Allen Clam House property.

She said she has improved communication between town hall and the public by appointment of such committees as the Strategic Planning Committee, the Land Acquisition Committee, and the Tax Abatement/Tax Deferral Committee.

Farrell also pointed to her weekly brown bag citizen luncheons, establishment of the town Web site, inauguration of the town’s cable channel 79, and promotion of town adherence to provision of the state’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

She cited her strong support of education, her initiatives to improve public safety and homeland security, and her efforts in regional planning initiatives.

Farrell made no mention, however, of problem issues that have dogged her recently, including a postponed town revaluation and resignation of first the town assessor and then the deputy assessor.

2 thoughts on “Update: Farrell Announces She Will Not Seek Re-Election, to Explore “Options”

  1. By announcing now, that she will not seek a 3rd term as westport’s 1st selectwoman Diane has shown that she is a class act and is putting her community 1st there by alowing the political process to begin in plenty of time for the next election. While it’s no secret that Diane and I have serious political differences, we also share the same love of westport and have on many occations worked together for the benifit of our fellow westporters. I wish her well.

    John Izzo

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