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Westport School Board Chair to Resign, Run for First Selectman

Westport Board of Education member of seven years, James Marpe, who is the current Chair, will seek the Republican Party nomination for Westport First Selectman in 2013.

 

Although the general election is a year away, Marpe said he believes it is important to begin now to build the organization and broad support required to win the race.

“Many Westporters are concerned about the real and potential deterioration of Town services and their impact on the quality of life that we have come to expect.  Westporters know that by maintaining that quality of life in all its dimensions we can maintain our home values, which for many, is still their largest investment,” Marpe said in a statement announcing his candidacy.

If elected, Marpe, who has served on the Westport / Weston Family Y Board of Trustees and the Westport Homes With Hope Board of Directors, said he would focus on:

  • Economic development and overall land use planning that would improve our commercial tax base.
  • Addressing the long-term debt and pension and retirement related benefit obligations through appropriate restructuring and labor contract negotiations.
  • Initiating a long-term infrastructure improvement plan to address extended power outages, flood and wind related storm damage, railroad station parking and senior housing.

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“I also recognize the importance of public / private partnerships in achieving solutions to many of our local challenges, and have been fortunate to experience ways in which such programs can be successfully implemented,” stated the 23-year Westport resident. “I believe my educational and professional experience and my track record of effective leadership in local government and not-for-profit organizations has prepared me to lead Westport in addressing these and the dozens of other challenges that we face in order to keep Westport a ‘great’ town.”

Board of Finance Chair Avi Kaner said Marpe is a candidate with excellent credentials and a proven track record in both the private and public sectors. Marpe was employed by Accenture, a leading global management consulting and computer technology services firm, for more than 30 years until he retired as a senior partner in 2002. At that time he was the head of Accenture’s worldwide financial services merger and acquisition practice.

“His experience as a senior partner at the world's largest consulting firm will directly benefit all aspects of our town, while his leadership on the Board of Education is evident in the quality of our schools. Jim's vision for Westport is consistent with mine as well - it is imperative to maintain and enhance our property values, infrastructure, and schools,” Kaner said “Jim also supports reforming the town's pension and benefit plans as the remaining contracts come up for renewal.”

While commenting on Marpe’s campaign, former Board of Education Chair Don O’Day, who resigned in August, said Marpe was among the most dedicated, talented and hardest working public servants in Westport.

“During the last seven years, Jim and I worked closely together to ensure that our schools delivered exceptional results with an open and transparent budget,” O'Day said. “Jim would often remind me that the answer to the many challenges facing our schools was not necessarily to throw money at the problem; rather, he would insist that we drive an open discussion with subject matter experts and find a solution that worked best for everyone.”

Democratic Town Committee Chair James Ezzes said it is too early for the DTC to discuss any candidate for the upcoming 2013 election.

“We do not begin to interview prospective candidates for any local elected office until February or March,” he said.

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