As longtime Warren First Selectman Jack Travers' final term winds down, a race is underway to see just who will lead the town into the future.

Travers announced recently he would not seek a sixth term.

Craig Nelson, the Republican Town Committee chairman, soon threw his hat into the ring.

Challenging Nelson will be Democrat Stephen Warshaw, a former congressional aide to three U.S. senators and Warren resident.

"When Jack announced with the 2011 election that this would be his last term," said Nelson, a Warren native, "we started planning my run for the first selectman's seat."

"Jack's done a great job," he said. "At this point, if elected, I'd try to keep taxes as they are with little increase. That may be a challenge with the new state mandates."

"We will need to look at elderly housing," Nelson said, "with an aging population ... and consider whether to buy our own senior bus."

Nelson now serves as chairman of the Inland Wetlands Commission, chairman of the Tax Appeals Commission and the town's zoning enforcement office.

In 2011, he sold his business of 28 years, Village Barn & Gallery in New Preston.

Prior to that, he had worked in original equipment manufacturer electronic component sales, covering the Northeastern sector of the United States in military and commercial sales.

Warshaw and his wife, Cynthia, have lived for seven years in Warren. They have two children.

He is a member of the Warren Volunteer Fire Department and an emergency medical response technician.

He runs his own branding consultancy business.

"Jack Travers has, in my opinion, served the town extremely well over this past decade, and in a manner that was less about politics and more about good, common sense -- combined with a hefty dose of foresight,-- Warshaw said,

"I hope that, if elected, my legacy would include a parallel path to Jack Travers," Warshaw said, "in an approach that is successful not only in attracting new, young families to our town, but simultaneously addressing the many needs of those residents who are aging."

Democratic Selectman Marion Smith and Republican Selectman Calvin Tanner are both running for reelection.

The RTC hopes to keep Travers active in the town to keep continuity in its management, Nelson said.

Travers' name has been put forward to fill Bill Hopkins' seat on the Board of Finance.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322