NAUGATUCK — The race for Naugatuck’s top political seat is beginning to take shape.
Republican Jim O’Sullivan, a Naugatuck attorney with an office on Church Street, announced on Monday that he will be seeking the Republican Town Committee’s endorsement to run for mayor.
“Thirteen years ago, my wife and I chose to move to Naugatuck seeking new opportunities. We were touched by its simple beauty, its sense of community and vibrant workforce. Over that time, our town has experienced a significant decline. We have seen a drastic increase in taxes, deteriorating roads, struggling businesses, loss of jobs, blighted properties and several large borough property purchases with no vote by the people. After speaking and listening to many residents and businesses regarding these problems and struggles, my decision to run was made clear,” O’Sullivan said in a press release.
O’Sullivan will officially announce his candidacy Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Sheila’s Cafe and Bakery, 205 Church St. The Republican Town Committee is meeting Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Santos’ Restaurant on Church Street to endorse candidates.
Mayor Robert Mezzo, a Democrat, announced his intentions to seek a third term in office on his blog last week.
“Over the coming months, I will articulate my plans, proposals and vision for this great community as I have in all the elections in which I have participated. Undoubtedly, others will come forth as candidates for various offices offering their own ideas to make Naugatuck a better place to live, work, do business and raise a family. I welcome those with good intentions, regardless of their political party, who come forth to discuss issues and ideas in a respectful and productive manner,” wrote Mezzo, who is also an attorney.
Mezzo added if he wins the election the next term could be his last. Mezzo pointed to his son Jack, born in December 2011, and family obligations.
“The blessing of a new family member has made my decision whether or not to run much more difficult this election season. While I have been and always will be honored to be the mayor of the only hometown I have ever known, my life will ultimately be defined by the husband and father that I am and the service that I provide to my community outside of elected office. … There is, however, still some work as mayor that I feel compelled to finish,” Mezzo wrote.
The Democratic Town Committee will meet Thursday night to endorse candidates at 7:15 p.m. at the American Legion Hall on Cedar Street.
Mezzo was unopposed when he ran for mayor in 2011. In 2009, Mezzo defeated incumbent Republican Mayor Mike Bronko after winning a primary over Democrat Kevin Knowles.
In his announcement, O’Sullivan, who worked in law enforcement before becoming an attorney, said Naugatuck deserves a new leader, a new future and a new vision.
“As a former police officer, now practicing attorney and family man, I have the experience and leadership to reignite that vision for our community. … This vision will be one of common sense and encouragement of input from the residents, businesses, department heads and borough employees without the fear of retribution. We need everyone to be working together for the borough’s future and this is what I intend to do,” O’Sullivan said.