NAUGATUCK — The Republican pool of mayor candidates has grown to three.
Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi filed paperwork this week with the Town Clerk’s office to run for mayor.
“I have talked to many people in town,” said Rossi, a 49-year-old Republican. “They were all concerned that, if we didn’t have someone with experience as mayor, all of our progress would fall by the wayside.”
Republicans Alexander Olbrys, who is in his first term as a burgess, and Seth Bronko have announced they are running for mayor. Democrat N. Warren “Pete” Hess, an attorney, is also running.
Kim Kiernan, chair of the Republican Town Committee, said the committee is still encouraging candidates for all offices to come forward.
The mayor’s race is wide open this year. Mayor Robert Mezzo, a Democrat, announced earlier this year that he is not seeking re-election.
Rossi was first elected to Board of Mayor and Burgesses in 2003 and has served on the board ever since. She has been elected deputy mayor in each of her six terms on the board. The deputy mayor is the burgess who receives the most votes.
Rossi’s announcement comes as a somewhat surprising turn of events. In February, Rossi announced she was not running for office again because she accepted the position as membership development director for the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce. The position with the chamber prevented her from holding elected office.
“Over the past four months, I’ve had the great opportunity to work with local businesses and see Naugatuck in a different light and really go more in-depth of how critical our businesses and our economic development is,” she said.
Rossi said her time with the chamber gave her a “fresh perspective” of the borough, and she decided she needed to run for mayor.
“There is more we can do for families and job creators in town,” Rossi said.
Rossi said she tendered her resignation with the chamber on May 12, but will remain as a consultant for the next few weeks to help with the transition.
Rossi said she would bring a hard work ethic and diverse experience in the community as a public official, a volunteer and a resident to the mayor’s office.
“It’s not just rhetoric with me. I’m not just sitting in the chair once a month. I have fully immersed myself into all aspects of community and government for the last 12 years,” Rossi said. “I think my record is indicative of what I’ll bring as mayor.”
Rossi will officially kick off her campaign May 28 at 7 p.m. at Jesse Camille’s Restaurant, 615 Church St.
The Democratic and Republican town committees will endorse candidates in July for the November election.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.