Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Marmer announces third term bid

By Jessica Ciparelli
Staff Writer
April 10, 2007

Blumenthal supports her

It hasn't happened since Marie Herbst was mayor from 1979-1986, but Ellen Marmer has announced her bid for a three-peat as mayor of Vernon. She made the official announcement in front of a small crowd, which included state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Comptroller Nancy Wyman, Congressman Joe Courtney, and other local dignitaries at Vernon Town Hall on April 2.

"It's not for the faint of heart; you need a cardiologist," said Courtney, referring to Marmer's profession. "Great job, and let's keep it going."

If re-elected, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he would be honored to swear-in the mayor, whom he considers a friend, for a third term. Blumenthal said there can be difficult times in the life of a public servant, but that Marmer's instinct is to do the right thing.

"She's all heart and she's for the people of Vernon," Blumenthal said. "That's part of her integrity, her persona. What you see is what you get. I don't know a better public servant in the state of Connecticut than Ellen Marmer."

When Marmer approached Democratic Town Committee Chairman Tom DiDio for the third run, DiDio said he was happy she wanted to run again, adding it gives the town a sense of consistency.

"Ellen is a person in town who gets things done," DiDio said. "There are so many things happening [in town] because of Ellen's leadership." He said just walk out the door of town hall and see some of the things Marmer has helped accomplish - the Central Park renovation project, which is underway; the adult learning center, which offers college-level classes, rebuilding town streets and infrastructure, and continuing to secure grant funding for an intermodal transportation center.

Marmer said, if re-elected, she will continue with progress made, and get the town hall third floor project underway, move the planning and engineering departments to GA 19, across the way from town hall to make it more "one-stop shopping" for those in need of both departments, and to continue to obtain more grant money to get the intermodal transportation center moving.

Richard Blumenthal, Ellen Marmer, Marmer's husband, Harold Shapiro, and Nancy Wyman (in the background, Amarjit Buttar). Photo by Jessica Ciparelli.

"Promises are one thing—it's like the Cuba Gooding thing [from the movie Jerry Maguire], 'Show me the money,' Marmer said. "We've done a great deal in three-and-a-half years, but there's still a lot more to get done."

Marmer pointed to economic development in town, including the ongoing renovation project of the former Heartland plaza, which has sat vacant for years. She said other projects to grow the town's economic base are being worked on behind the scenes, but could not elaborate on those projects at this time. Marmer said, however, it was unfortunate the town didn't take action to purchase the land at Exit 67, the former New England SportsPlex, when it had the chance.

"We could have had [it] instead of a blighted area in legal limbo," she said, adding, "I'm very saddened to have lost the YMCA, which is now going to be in Ellington," referring to the regional YMCA facility, complete with an indoor pool, which the YMCA is considering. No applications had been made in Ellington yet.

Marmer, who turns 68 in June, said she will begin officially campaigning in July, adding if the residents of Vernon chose to re-elect her, she would be proud to do so.

"My life's work is medicine, and my passion is the town, and I've been able to put both of them together," Marmer said. "Hopefully a three-peat can happen in this town. I'd like to be back again."

Marmer's priorities in a third term include securing the intermodal transportation center monies, getting bond projects, such as roads and sewer work, completed in a timely manner and the school bond projects done as efficiently as possible.

Marmer defeated Republican incumbent Diane Wheelock in 2003 by 26 votes, which required a recount, and challenger Robert Kleinhans in the 2005 election by 157 votes. Marmer plans to run an energetic campaign again this fall.

"I don't run against people, I run for the town," Marmer said. "I never underestimate my opponent—ever. The minute you underestimate your opponent, you're going to lose."

The Republican challenger has not yet been named, but Republican Town Committee Chairman Harold "Hal" Cummings expects that announcement to be made in May. Currently the RTC's nominations and recruitment committee is interviewing candidates for school board and town council.

"We've had three serious significant candidates interested in running [for mayor]," said Cummings. "Any one of them could be an exciting candidate. It could make for an exciting election."