Groton – Democratic city councilor Aundré Bumgardner, a former state representative, announced his candidacy for mayor of the city of Groton on Monday, saying he plans to challenge incumbent mayor Keith Hedrick in a Democratic primary in March.
"The City of Groton expects a strong voice and transformative leadership at both the local and state levels," Bumgardner said in a statement. “My experience as a state and city councilor has prepared me to be that voice that is so needed to create a better future for our community. As mayor, I listen to our residents and work day and night on crucial issues such as financial transparency. and discipline, investment in infrastructure, social justice and climate action. "
Bumgardner, 26, served as the Republican State Representative for the 41st district from 2015 to 2017. Bumgardner, who became a Democrat in 2017, has served on the Groton Town Council since 2018, is a member of the City of Groton Planning & Zoning Commission, and recently worked as an outreach coordinator for Secretary of State Shawn Wooden.
Bumgardner said over the phone that his experiences at the local office have confirmed his passion for politics and for people.
“I enjoy finding facts and solving problems and building a stronger community, and have enjoyed working with city residents on issues ranging from coastal public access to connecting with the right person at City Hall, "he said," and I really enjoyed serving the people of our community and I hope to continue that opportunity, just as I did as a state representative and city councilor for the mayor. "
If elected, Bumgardner said his priorities would be financial discipline and transparency, climate action and quality of life. He said he has made a campaign pledge not to solicit lobbyists or corporate-backed donations.
Hedrick, 61, is planning to run for his third term. He is Chairman of the Democratic Committee of the City of Groton and served as deputy mayor for two years before being elected for his first term as mayor in 2017 and re-elected in 2019. Hedrick served 23 years in the Navy and 16 1/2 years as an operations manager at URS / AECOM.
He said by phone that he enjoys interacting with the community and working with children at the Riverfront Children & # 39; s Center and St. John & # 39; s Christian Church. He said he got involved with the local government to give back to his community.
“The city of Groton is a great place to live, work and play, and I wanted to give back to the community,” he said.
He said he has the experience and vision for the future of the city, as well as the energy and enthusiasm to move the city forward to the next stage. He wants to pursue initiatives including economic development projects in the works for Thames Street and Five Corners, along with work on resilience and other environmental issues.
“We have lowered or maintained taxes for the past four years,” he added. "We will remain fiscally conservative and maintain our services."
He said the city also plans to continue to support police initiatives and that it was one of the first communities in the area to establish the Police and Community Together program, allowing residents to work with the police on initiatives. The city police also joins the state radio system and has established the Citizens at Risk Database, a confidential and voluntary system "to meet the needs of dementia, disabled or other at-risk groups," according to a Facebook announcement.
Hedrick said the Democratic Commission nomination committee has submitted a list of candidates, including Hedrick as mayor, for approval by the Democratic Commission. The Democratic Commission is expected to vote to endorse the candidates on Jan. 14, he said.
Bumgardner said he plans to seek the committee's nomination, but said that since he is the challenger, it is more likely that he will eventually distribute a petition to get a required number of signatures to appear on the March vote for a democratic primary. . The city election is in May.
In a press release, Bumgardner said that "a coalition of elected officials from the city and the city of Groton" supports his candidacy, and added comments from city meeting moderator representative Syma Ebbin and the chairman of RTM Finance and the former chairman of the board of Beverly Washington education.
Ebbin said in the publication that Bumgardner has "worked to create efficient, equitable and cost-effective policies. He is an environmental activist who has worked to expand the possibilities for open spaces in Groton and reduce our impact on the environment. He is a thoughtful leader, unafraid to change his mind, embrace new ideas and admit past mistakes. And that attitude is sorely lacking among many officials at all levels. His leadership has brought new ideas and positive energy to the government from the city and that is exactly what is needed in the city now. "
Washington said in the press release: "I fondly remember the day Aundré knocked on my door when he ran for State Representative. He radiated confidence and articulated a clear vision for Groton. After more than 6 years of working with him now. Working in local government, I know he is ready to lead our city. His commitment to tax transparency, budget discipline and passion for people is why I am so proud to support Aundré for the mayor of Groton. "
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