Democratic First Selectman candidate Melissa Kane has completed her ticket.
This morning she announced that Rob Simmelkjaer will join her, in the 2nd selectman slot.
A member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Democratic Town Committee, Simmelkjaer jumped into local politics soon after moving here in 2013.
His face may have been known to Westporters even before he arrived. He’s been an on-air contributor for NBC Sports, where he is also vice president of NBC Sports Ventures. He previously worked at ESPN and ABC News, where as anchor and correspondent he covered such events as the Virginia Tech shootings and President Ford’s funeral.
At Dartmouth College, Simmelkjaer majored in government and philosophy. He also holds a law degree from Harvard University.
He is a volunteer coach with the Westport Soccer Assocation, and a vice moderator at Norfield Congregational Church. He and his wife Kathryn — a physician at Bridgeport Hospital — are the parents of 2 young daughters.
When NBC Sports moved from 30 Rock to Stamford, the Simmelkjaers looked to move out of Manhattan. They had friends here. The town’s friendly vibe, opportunities for children and excellent schools made it a no-brainer.
“This is the place I wish I grew up in,” says Simmelkjaer, a New Jersey native.
Always politically engaged, he volunteered with the Barack Obama campaigns in 2008 and ’12, and Hillary Clinton last year.
When Kane asked him to be her running mate, he was quick to say yes. “She’s a terrific leader, is passionate about the town, and knows we have to invest in our assets,” he says.
He is eager to face the budget issues “coming down from Hartford.”
He also is running because, he says, “with the big picture in today’s country, more people need to stand up and answer the call to serve.”
Believing in the adage “all politics is local,” Simmelkjaer says, “if we want to solve problems at the state and national level, we need to show we can do it here, in a civil way.”
If elected, he hopes to leverage his day job — working with entrepreneurs and tech people — to focus on “better uses of technology as a town, and with partners, to solve problems like traffic, parking and communications.”
Simmelkjaer also says that — though they’re not the Board of Education or Finance — the 3 selectmen have a role to play in “maintaining our top-quality schools. Whether you have kids or not, that’s important for us all.”