John Hartwell has stepped down as the chairman of the Democratic Town Committee to focus more time on his campaign to win a Board of Finance seat this fall.

“I need to focus my energy on that,” Hartwell said. “Running for the Board of Finance is such an important position in town and I need to give it all my attention.”

The Democratic Town Committee in late July unanimously endorsed Hartwell for its slate of candidates in the Nov. 3 municipal election. His running mate for the finance panel is Sheri Gordon, currently a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Incumbent Democrat Janis Collins decided not to seek re-election to the board.

Hartwell, at nominating session, said the Democrats hope to hold their majority on the Board of Education and “take back the Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Finance.”

”We have to be smart and focused,” he told several dozen committee members assembled for the session in Town Hall. He added they have a “terrific group of people, but we need to be all in.”

Hartwell last week said there are several things he would push if elected to the finance board.

One issue is implementing the recently completed Downtown Master Plan. “I think they did a terrific job with it and I like the idea and want to move it along,” he said. “We should look at the individual projects. They have to stand on their own merits.”

He said that he’s been a supporter of funding for public transit. “I want to continue to look at that as a way to ease traffic problems in town,” he said.

Hartwell said he thinks there can be “more efficient and effective ways to improve the way the town is run,” and the Board of Finance could be instrumental in doing that.

Keith Stein, who was the town committee’s vice chairman, has replaced Hartwell as chairman.