Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Marmer to run for third term

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer Staff
March 30, 2007

VERNON - Mayor Ellen L. Marmer plans to announce Monday that she will seek re-election to a third term, a Democratic Party official said Friday.

While not unprecedented, holding a mayoral seat for more than one term in Vernon - where the norm in the last decade has been to flip-flop major party rule with each election - is extremely rare.

While no official endorsement has been made as yet, "we're certainly pleased that she is running again," Tom DiDio, Democratic Town Chairman said Thursday.

"It's very exciting because there are so many projects started - bonding for street work, infrastructure and the school system - and we want to see her guide these through to fruition," DiDio said.

In seeking her third consecutive two-year term, Marmer, 67, said she would continue to focus on maintaining and nurturing the town's prosperity.

"During my first two terms as mayor, we have maintained the high level of services desired by our residents, while continuing to plan for our future needs," Marmer wrote in a statement announcing her re-election bid.

She identified the passage of recent bond measures that include an extensive $21.6 million road reconstruction project and a $68.3 million school renovation project approved by voters at a March 2005 referendum, as proof that residents want to go in a positive direction.

Marmer also noted that the town was recently recognized as a "HeartSafe" community by the state Public Health Department and the American Heart Association.

"We have a wide array of initiatives to promote and secure our identity as a community of strong civic and social ideals," Marmer wrote. "In the past three years we have all looked at Vernon in a new light, reflecting our rich history and understanding the future of great promise and opportunity has arrived. With great pride I look forward to celebrating our bicentennial in 2008 as Vernon's mayor."

Marmer plans to make the formal announcement Monday during a news conference at Town Hall to be attended by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, D-2nd District.

During the past 10 years voters have seen major party rule go through a revolving door, turning over in each subsequent municipal election.

The last instance came in November 2003 when Marmer defeated former Republican Mayor Diane Wheelock by 26 votes following a recount.

Former Mayor John Drost, a Democrat, was the last person to serve the town for two consecutive terms.

After a 10-year stint on the Town Council, Drost ran for mayor unopposed in 1989, after beating Marmer, a challenger for the seat, in a Democratic primary. He won a second term in 1991, defeating Republican George W. Russell and independent candidate Robert Callahan. Drost did not run for a third term.

Since then the mayor's office has switched hands between Republican and Democratic control every two years.

Local Republicans have yet to publicly announce a candidate to challenge Marmer.

Republican Town Committee Chairman Hal Cummings said the nominations and recruitment committee was now interviewing candidates for the school board and council seats.

As for the mayor's race, "we have three credible, significant candidates who've expressed an interest, and maybe two more," Cummings said, adding "We might have to beat them off with a stick. But all of the candidates are viable."

©Journal Inquirer 2007