Several years ago, under Democratic first selectman Dianne Farrell, property revaluations were postponed due to a 6-year backlog in assessments. Republican Town Committee chairman Pete Wolgast urged party members to get involved in local politics.
Bob Zappi heeded the call.
The long-time Westporter — a Cub Scout pack leader, basketball and baseball coach, church leader and Mercy Learning Center board member — stepped up. He quickly rose through the RTC ranks, to chairman. He stepped down several months ago, to work at the party’s state and federal levels.
Bob’s had a long career in marketing. He moved to Westport 24 years ago, to join MCA. He later joined Ryan Partnership. A few years ago he formed his own consulting firm, Catalyst. Nowadays he consults for Fortune 500 firms. A year ago he started a political fundraising company, PierceZappi. Among its clients: US Senate candidate Chris Shays, and the state Republican party.
Bob looks forward to his 1st convention. He anticipates “a gargantuan room filled with like-minded people.” He is eager to hear their takes on important issues.
He got a taste of national politics this winter, at the Republican National Committee meeting in New Orleans. Party leaders from around the country shared “war stories” — everything from the nuts and bolts of getting out the vote, to behind-the-scenes action in Senate races.
Bob is eager too to get to know the 100 or so Connecticut delegates and guests. The 4-day event will be filled with events, meetings and social opportunities.
The chance to meet presumptive nominee Mitt Romney is low. Bob has spent time with him before, in small groups, and is impressed with the former Massachusetts governor’s “ability to drive forward to positive solutions.”
So if Bob could meet any Republican bigwig in Tampa, who would it be?
He names two. There’s Florida Senator Marco Rubio — “smart, articulate, with a great family background.”
And South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
“I spent 5 years as chairman making the Republican Town Committee younger and more female,” Bob says. “Now, our chairman and two vice chairs are women.
“The Republican Party is trying to appeal to a broader demographic, nationally. I think we’ve already won seats in Westport because of that.”