Adams claims Kent victory

Democrat Bruce Adams won the first selectman's seat Tuesday in Kent, outpolling his Republican opponent, Karen Casey, by a wide margin to keep Democratic leadership in town.

Fifty-five percent of the town's 1,981 registered voters cast ballots.

Mr. Adams, a retired Center School teacher, garnered 694 votes to defeat Ms. Casey by 325 votes. She received 369, placing her out of the running even for a selectman's seat.

As a result, the Kent Board of Selectmen will have two Democrats and one Republican member in the coming term. Mr. Adams will serve as first selectman and Democrat Karren Garrity, who received 584 votes, and Republican George Jacobsen, who received 464 votes, will serve as selectmen.

"If I were to offer a guess, I would say this was a vote in support of 14 years of successful Democratic leadership in the town," Mr. Adams said.

"I think we will have an exceptionally good Board of Selectmen, with Karren Garrity, a long-time education board member, and George Jacobsen and his 14-year record of success on the Board of Finance."

Ms. Casey was philosophical about her loss.

"I'm not at all disappointed," she said. "This has been an incredibly good experience. I've met some great people and have a much better feel for my community. Life goes on."

Mr. Adams and Ms. Casey had agreed on many points during the campaign.

The strongest disagreement between them was Ms. Casey's view that a town manager should be hired to deal with the "minutia" of public office, freeing the selectmen for more "creative" aspects of developing the town.

Mr. Adams staunchly opposed the idea, saying the salary for the position would be too expensive. He agreed with his running mate, Ms. Garrity, who said having a town manager would cause Kent to lose its "small-town feel."

Mr. Adams would not say if he thought Tuesday's vote was a message from Kent voters that they want to maintain the present structure of government in the town.

Yet Resident Margy Denecker said the Democrats' and the Republicans' difference in opinion on a town manager brought her out to the poll Tuesday evening.

"I voted specifically against having a town manager," said Ms. Denecker, a 20-year resident of the town. "I had concerns about the salary expense and what it would mean to cutting other town officials' salaries.

"And I think we're doing fine just having the selectmen," she added. "That's enough. They can do the job that has to be done. They've been doing a good job so far."

"If I were to offer a guess, I would say this [victory] was a vote in support of 14 years of successful Democratic leadership in the town."

Bruce Adams

First Selectman-elect in Kent

Cristina Bernardi/Spectrum

First Selectman-elect Bruce Adams grabs a photo op on election night with his Democratic running mate, Karren Garrity