Trumbull’s Tim Herbst thanks supporters, moves on to governor’s race
Published 10:44 pm, Tuesday, November 28, 2017
TRUMBULL — After eight years in the town’s top office, outgoing First Selectman Tim Herbst is turning his attention to his run for governor, fulfilling a promise he made his late grandmother.
“Although I am moving on and trying to move up, Trumbull will always be my home,” Herbst said.
Friends, family, Town Council members and other officials gathered at Tashua Knolls Golf Course Tuesday to honor Herbst during his last week in office with speeches and a video tribute.
Herbst served four terms as first selectman, but did not run for re-election to focus on his campaign to be Connecticut’s next governor. Democrat Vicki Tesoro will be sworn into the first selectman’s office on Monday.
Herbst’s tenure has not been without controversy. He’s rubbed Democrats in town the wrong way, and called for former state GOP chairman Jerry Labriola to resign after less-than-ideal results for Republicans in the 2014 statewide election.
There have been several clashes with former Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch over the years, going back at least to 2011 and a dispute over the construction of the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet School. The squabble over land ended when the General Assembly annexed 48 acres of Trumbull land to Bridgeport for the school.
Herbst is a Trumbull native who graduated from Trumbull High School, where he was class president. He served on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission beginning at age 19 for 10 years before being elected at age 29 into the town’s highest office.
His run for governor isn’t the first time he’s tried to break into a statewide role — he ran for Connecticut treasurer in 2014 and lost to incumbent state Treasurer Denise Nappier in a close race.
But governor is one position he’s had on his mind.
Herbst spoke Tuesday night of how his late grandmother asked him to promise that he’d run for governor the night before she died, and how he gave her his word.
Despite an eye on Hartford, he said he wears his love of Trumbull on his sleeve.
”I want every Trumbull kid to have the same opportunities that I had in the Trumbull public school system,” Herbst said. “I couldn’t do this, this job and I couldn’t run for governor, if it wasn’t for the town of Trumbull.”
Among the highlights of his stewardship was the institution of full-day kindergarten and having the town’s school system and quality of life nationally recognized, Herbst said.
Beside not sleeping enough over the past eight years, Herbst pointed to the proposed community center as a regret.
The proposed multi-million dollar project to build a community center has drawn controversy over timing, cost and planning.
“My biggest regret is that we didn’t start the community center sooner,” Herbst said. “I’m a little concerned about how that was politicized and I think that had we started sooner, the state budget wouldn’t have become such an issue. We were trying to do it, but look, we’ve laid a good foundation, the new first selectman will have a really good plan and a really good location, and I hope she’ll go out there and sell it to the voters because it’s a good plan for our town.”