Kent first selectman candidate James Rundall aims to improve roads, add recreation options for youth

James Rundall, Kent First Selectman candidate

James Rundall, Kent First Selectman candidate

/ James Rundall

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of four profiles on the first selectmen candidates in Kent

KENT — Improving the condition of the town’s roads and creating places for young people top resident James Rundall’s list should he be elected First Selectman.

Rundall, 44, a petitioning candidate and Republican, is running unaffiliated against current First Selectman Jean Speck, a Democrat; Selectman Ed Matson, a Republican; and petitioning candidate Rufus P. de Rham.

On top of Rundall’s list of issues he plans to address if elected is the condition of the town’s sidewalks, “which are old and need to be updated,” he said.

There are several options for updating the roads, Rundall said.

“To bring them back to blacktop, to put concrete, to put granite curbing — there’s multiple different ways,” he said, adding he hopes to work “side by side” with residents, the town’s foreman and on town committees to determine the best option.

A second issue Rundall plans to resolve if elected is the condition of Emory Park, off Route 341. Rundall’s family has a long-standing connection to the park — his late grandfather Dutch Rundall was involved in building the park’s cement pond in the 1940s.

He said the playground is in poor shape, and he would like to see it improved.

“The playground is not updated and there are no bathrooms there,” he said. “It needs a lot of attention.”

He added other local towns have “great playgrounds and swimming holes and pools and places to have picnics with their kids.”

He said there’s no place in town where children can go swimming or hang out with friends.

“We don’t have anything for the younger people to do,” Rundall said.

Additionally, he said there’s no teen center in town, nor sports facility for older children. Many of the those kids therefore travel to neighboring towns to play sports.

“Younger kids can participate in sports that are given through the Parks and Recreation Department but for older children, there are much fewer opportunities to stay in town,” he said. “For my daughter, who plays hockey, we chose New Milford as a place for her to play on regional teams.”

He suggested Kent “get a game plan” to address this issue, “and go from there.”

Young people represent the town’s future and should be a top priority, he said.

“With everybody moving into the town of Kent and the people who already live here, we definitely have to take care of the younger people because they’re our future,” Rundall said.

Rundall also would like to help the Kent Volunteer Fire Department, where he has volunteered for over 20 years.

Having worked side by side with members of the department, he said he knows what they need, which includes upgrades on trucks, new equipment and training. Additionally, he said they’re always looking for new members.

Rundall is a third generation Kent native. He and his wife Jessie Rundall have a 14-year-old daughter, Melanie. He’s employed as a plumber. He ran for the town’s Sewer Commission in 2019.

He worked in the water department for the city of Danbury for over eight years. He was a pipe installer for transmission and distribution, was the utility mechanic for the water treatment plants, and in charge of the landfill.

He has also been involved with the Kent firefighters Parade of Lights, the Stuff-a-Truck and is a justice of the peace.

He said he is a very hands-on person and, if elected first selectman, he plans to be very visible in town.

“I’m not going to be hiding in my office,” he said. “I’m definitely going to be out in the open. I want a face- to- face talk with people. You’re going to see me at the coffee shop. My cell phone is going to be available. I’m going to give it 110 percent.”