Dems' Jellen makes it a three-way race in Sherman

Chris Jellen, Democratic candidate for first selectman in Sherman, 2013
Chris Jellen, Democratic candidate for first selectman in Sherman, 2013Contributed Photo

It's going to be a three-way race for the first selectman's seat in Sherman this election season.

Incumbent Republican Clay Cope announced recently he will run for a second term.

Democrats at their caucus last week nominated Selectman Chris Jellen as their first selectman candidate.

Added to the mix is independent candidate David Hopkins, who threw his hat in the ring June 5.

Cope, 51, is running on a promise to rein in the town's budget. Pointing to his 28 years of business experience, he hopes to maintain "fiscal responsibility, creating a long-range financial plan."

He has previously served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Trustees of Sherman Library, for which he served as president.

"The biggest issue facing Sherman in the future is the budget," Cope said. "More than 25 percent of our existing town budget is paying for debt on approved capital projects. And future proposed capital improvements need to be scrutinized and, if approved, well planned and managed."

George Linkletter, chairman of the Republican Town Committee, said the RTC is "very happy that Clay has decide to run."

"I don't see anyone from the Republicans challenging him for the nomination," Linkletter said. "He has been diligent and above the fray. We're looking forward to another term."

Jellen, a father of two, is serving his first term as a selectman. He is the director of the Naromi Land Trust, a Girl Scout leader and a volunteer with the Sherman Historical Society.

"I have spent countless hours over the last 18 months preparing myself to lead and get Sherman back on track," Jellen said. "The first priority of any administration should be to maintain and enhance the highest standards in our schools. I will work closely with Sherman School."

Joe Kenneally, the Democratic Town Committee chairman said "I have watched Chris dedicate himself to learning the inner workings of every board and commission... he has been diligent in laying a very strong foundation of knowledge and understanding of the key issues facing our town."

Jellen's running mate, hoping to retain her selectman's seat, is Andrea O'Connor, a former longtime first selectman in Kent.

Hopkins, 72, said he got into the race because of "concern over the fiscal health of the town. I don't feel it's where it should be," he said.

He also wants to be on board to assure the new Plan of Conservation and Development is followed.

Hopkins served on the town's Planning and Zoning Commission from 2003 to 2009, as chairman in his last four years.

He and his wife, Janet, owned and operated "The Sherman Sentinel" until its sale in 2007.

Retired from IBM, he holds a degree in industrial administration from Yale University. During his 35 years at IBM, he filled marketing, technical and management roles.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322