Jim Marpe: Ready To Serve 4 More Years

Westport voters have re-elected Jim Marpe as 1st selectman. He and running mate Jen Tooker prevailed over Democrats Melissa Kane and Rob Simmelkjaer, and petitioning candidates John Suggs and T.J. Elgen.

Moments ago, Marpe gave a victory speech at Republican headquarters. Here’s what he said:

I want to begin by thanking the voters of Westport, and all of Jen Tooker’s and my supporters who are here tonight, for the extraordinary vote of confidence that you have shown us today and throughout the past months on the campaign trail. I am humbled by the honor of being re-elected as your first selectman, and grateful that you have seen fit to grant me another 4 years of this awesome responsibility.

I want to thank our competitors, Melissa, Rob, John and TJ, for stepping forward to serve this wonderful community and to put in the effort to run this challenging race. You deserve the thanks of all Westporters for putting yourselves out there. Jen and I look forward to working with all of you in the coming 4 years to make Westport the very best place it can be.

As the saying goes, success has many fathers (and mothers), and in this case it is true. Many of you suggested that I run again for first selectman. I am grateful for that confidence and support and by the fact that it comes from across the political spectrum.

And thank you to my family and the many outstanding volunteers who helped make this campaign a success.

First Selectman Jim Marpe

From the time I became first selectman 4 years ago, the process has always been about people – the people of Westport. In that time, and especially during the campaign, I have met with so many Westporters, often at the usual campaign places – the soccer fields, train stations, transfer station and through many community activities and fundraisers, and uncounted phone calls and front doors.  What I learned, or perhaps re-learned, was a simple truth: Whether your family arrived here generations ago or you just arrived last week, Westport is a very special place. Yes, we have beautiful surroundings, great schools, amazing recreational amenities and the charm of a New England town. But what really makes Westport a special place are the people — interesting, talented, creative, tolerant, smart and, yes, opinionated.

We all have the tendency to work and play among people who are like ourselves, but one of the great benefits of my job as well as the campaign trail is realizing the remarkably diverse population of Westport and the challenges that so many face. And you come to realize the importance of representing everyone in town.  From the person on Saugatuck Shores who is uncertain what to do about making his house FEMA compliant, to the widow in a deteriorating home in the Coleytown area who is not sure how she can afford to stay in Westport, to the young moms with toddlers who just want some benches and shade in our playground areas.

The selectman’s job – in fact any government responsibility – is all about service. I once told a group of Staples High School students that I viewed politics as simply another vehicle to be of service to our community and to the people of our community. So it’s time now to switch from the politics of an election campaign to once again representing all the people and to focus on what we have in common – not what divides us.   

Jim Marpe takes service to a new level. Every December 31, he volunteers at First Night.

Our vision has always been to make Westport one of the best places in America to live by:

  • Fully supporting the excellence of our schools by providing the students, parents and teachers the resources they need to keep our public education world class;
  • Renewing our commitment to seniors who want to age in place through innovative programs, living options, financial relief and an enhanced senior center;
  • Practicing fiscal discipline to safeguard Westport’s financial future;
  • Promoting the economic vitality of Westport while preserving Westport’s small town character and New England charm;
  • And enhancing the quality of life by delivering the highest quality town services and amenities that reflect the complex needs and interests of our fellow citizens.

But these are empty promises unless, as a team, your selectmen listen to you – the people – learn from you and then take leadership in addressing the priorities that you help us establish.

I view the selectmen’s office as a team. For the past 4 years I have had the privilege of working with Avi Kaner and Helen Garten, both of whom have stepped forward to take on major projects of their own. Please join me in thanking them for their many years of elected volunteer service to the Town.

I am also fortunate to have an incredible office manager in Eileen Francis – she keeps her cool when others around her are losing theirs – and our newest office members Kirsten Rosa, Sara Harris and Eileen Flug. And now in addition to Jen Tooker, we welcome Melissa Kane who has demonstrated that she is prepared to take on a wide variety of leadership responsibilities as part of the Selectmen’s team.

Jim Marpe praises his Town Hall team. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

But our team is even bigger than the selectmen’s office. We are fortunate in Westport to have so many dedicated, capable and experienced employees throughout all aspects of the Town’s operations. The town’s success during these past 4 years, and well before that, is the result of many outstanding town employees who I have had the privilege to work with. I look forward to continue collaborating with them to make Westport an even better place.

And the other key to Westport’s success is the huge community of volunteers.  Thank you to everyone who serves or has served in any sort of volunteer role, be it in government, schools, not-for-profit organizations or your house of worship.  Westport could simply not function without your interest, commitment and active support.

And so I ask you to join me as our new selectmen team begins its focus on the people of Westport and making this one of the best places to live for every Westport citizen. Let’s continue making ideas into reality. Thank you for your support and the confidence you have expressed in Jen and me in this election and thank you in advance for your help in realizing our vision.

15 responses to “Jim Marpe: Ready To Serve 4 More Years

  1. Michael McGovern

    Congratulations Jim and Jen!
    And congratulations Westport.

  2. Congrats Jim, for caring so much about Westport.

  3. David J. Loffredo

    Congrats Jim!

  4. Congratulations Jim & Jen, as well as Melissa in her new role as a selectman team member in support of Westport as a fabulous place to live and work, now and in the future for us all and all our children.

  5. We are lucky to have a seasoned professional as First Selectman.

  6. Good for Westport!!!

  7. John McNicholas

    Congratulations Jim and Jen!

  8. What gracious comments from our First Selectman. Thank you Jim!
    Congratulations to Jim Marpe and Jen Tooker, and to Third Selectwoman, Melissa Kane.
    Now to roll up our sleeves and get back to work together!
    ~Kristan Hamlin
    RTM Dist #4

  9. Senator Murphy lost. Senator Blumenthal lost. The state of CT lost-Controller Lembo.

    Washington lost as it does not become part of the policies and politics in Westport. Code Blue lost. Upper East side of NY losses.

    And Westport won. Westport schools win. Westport seniors win. Westport Beaches and Golf Course won. Westport taxpayer won. Westport debt losses. Westport costs lost.

    Westport residents win as they get an one of the most experienced leadership teams in office.

    Westport as a town of people, of neighbors, of friends, have truly won.

    Congrats to Jim and Jen. The difficult work is in front of you. We know. But we celebrate as we have confidence in you that despite the challenges ahead, we know their is trust in who you are.

  10. Ginny McGovern

    Congratulations Jim and Jen!

  11. Dear Jim Marpe: I emailed 234 of my Westport contacts to please vote for you. These 234 people are all, as am I, lifelong Democrats, BUT you have been a great First Selectman and I am happy that will be again for the next 4 years.
    Congratulations, from Ann Chernow

  12. Michael Calise

    Congratulations Jim and Jen an affirmation of a job well done!

  13. Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

    Jim Marpe and Jen Tooker
    Congratulation on your win for First Selectmen
    You earned it
    God Bless you
    God Bless Westport
    God Bless AMERICA

  14. Don L. Bergmann

    Of Jim’s many fine words, I write to highlight his observations about the support and efforts of former Second Selectman Avi Kaner and Third Selectwoman Helen Garten for their commitment and serious work in those roles on behalf of our Town. Avi has been engaged, spending huge amounts of time, on numerous policy and action items, so too with Helen Garten. The role of the Third Selectperson in Westport has taken on significant meaning with the substantial and sometimes thankless work of Helen Garten. I hope and expect that Melissa Kane will continue in that tradition. One specific would be for Melissa to continue as Co-Chair, with Dewey Loselle, of the Downtown Plan Committee. Those two have done a terrific job, but there is much more to be accomplished. I am confident Jim will offer the role again to Melissa and I truly hope she accepts it.
    Don Bergmann