Neil Cable has thrown his hat in the ring, opening a run as an independent candidate for Bridgewater's first selectman seat in the November election.

"It's always been my goal to be first selectman, and in my previous 18 years as selectman, I learned a lot about regional issues and local issues," Cable said.

"I feel I'm the best candidate for the position," he said. "That said, I can work with anyone else who ends up on the board. I try to treat people fairly and would look forward to working with Curtis (Read) and/or Nancy (Hawley)."

Read is the Democratic candidate and Hawley is the Republican candidate for first selectman.

Cable lost a first selectman bid in 2009 to Democratic incumbent Bill Stuart, garnering 48 percent of the vote to Stuart's 52 percent in a record turnout of voters.

Cable had served at that time as a selectman for 18 years and had been groomed to be Stuart's likely successor.

In a change of heart, however, Stuart ran to retain the first selectman's seat for one more four-year term.

Stuart is retiring this fall after 30 years in office.

He has thrown his support behind Read, a present selectman.

"Bill (Stuart) is leaving the town in great shape," Read said when endorsed by the Democrats. "We have a strong community ... and I want to keep it that way."

Read said his leadership would be to have trustworthy people around him who could do the work. It would be "open, inclusive of the selectmen's opinions, with more involvement with the other boards in the town."

He said he is proud of his role in the late 1980s while serving on the Inland Wetlands Commission, when its blocking of a proposed hotel on Route 67 led to personal suits by the developer against commission members.

Bridgewater took the case all the way to the state Supreme Court, resulting in a court decision that cleared volunteer board and commission members from land-use suits liability, Read said.

Hawley's platform

is to "create a (town) government that is inclusive, transparent

and free of conflict of interest."

She serves as vice chairman of the Board of Finance and was its former chairman.

Hawley feels her background in banking and belief she is an independent thinker are strengths that make her the best candidate.

If elected, she said she would implement long-range financial planning and explore "previously overlooked" grants for road and infrastructure work.

Cable feels there are two main issues facing the town at this time: the proposed closing of Burnham School and an affordable-housing proposal by developer John Carr for property along Route 133.

Cable supports keeping Burnham open. He and his two, now grown, children attended the school.

"Burnham is an integral part of our community. It ranks high in state testing," he said. "The time and money spent over the years trying to consolidate could have been better spent by the region."

Cable wants to form a housing committee to look at creative ways to bring affordable and senior housing to the town.

He said he will fight Carr's affordable housing plan. The parcel is too small for the number of proposed units, Cable said.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322