Familiar faces square off for Bridgewater first selectman seat

BRIDGEWATER — Town Republicans and Democrats agreed recently to endorse the same slate of candidates for all elected positions, but each put up their own selectmen candidates.

Incumbent Curtis Read, a Democrat, will again face Republican Nancy Hawley in the first selectman race. The two ran for the position during the 2013 election, with Read winning by more than 100 votes.

Hawley, who was appointed to the Board of Selectmen last summer after the death of selectman Leo Null, picked a new running mate, Laszlo Pinter, this election and is hoping this time is different.

“It’s really about providing transparent leadership, and I’ll do that,” Hawley said. “That’s what Bridgewater wants.”

Read’s running mate is Alan Brown, who has served on the board with him for the past four years and is the vice chair of the Board of Education for the

regional school district.

Hawley pledges a “fresh start” and to make Bridgewater a “21st century municipality” by reviewing town zoning codes and trying to get the town more senior housing, she said. Moreover, she’ll value resident input, she said.

Read said he doesn’t see the need for Hawley’s pitch.

“They’re saying they’ll bring us into the 21st century and we’re already there,” he said.

Read said these changes are already happening, and reelecting him will let him finish the job. If he wins, he doesn’t plan to run for a third term, he added.

Read pointed to town accomplishments over his first term, including keeping the town elementary school open amidst attempts by the school board to shutter it, working on senior housing and helping the town alter zoning codes, which will likely go to a town vote in the fall.

Read is also trying to put about 96 solar panels on the town garage.

And three out of four years of his term, local taxes have gone down, he said.

“We’re partway through our agenda that people seemed to like last time,” Read said. “If you value progress and your taxes going down, why do you need a ‘fresh start?’”

Hawley said her ticket is best equipped to run the town, especially considering the state budget crisis.

She has experience in banking, and her running mate is an experienced lawyer.

“We’ll be able to ensure that failures in Hartford don’t trickle down to Bridgewater,” she said.

Read said that he and Brown are already handling that too.

“We’re already prepared for state budget cuts,” he said.

For nearly the past two decades Hawley, who has lived in town for 18 years, has volunteered and raised funds for area organizations, including the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury. She was on the town Board of Finance, as the board chair before becoming a selectman.

Before winning the 2013 election, Read — who has lived in town since 1981 — was the chair of of the town Conservation & Inland Wetlands Commission, on which he served for 26 years.

blytton@hearstmediact.com; 203-731-3411; @bglytton