Jennifer Tooker announces bid for Westport first selectman

WESTPORT — Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker announced her candidacy for first selectman at Westport Town Hall’s front entrance on Friday morning.

First Selectman Jim Marpe said he will not seek reelection this fall.

A Republican, Tooker is a retired executive from Gen Re who had a 22-year career in various leadership and management positions in the marketing and reinsurance business. She’s the current second selectman.

Andrea Moore, the Board of Finance’s vice chairman, will be her running mate.

“The pandemic has changed the way we live and work,” Tooker said. “We have an opportunity to pave a new path forward as a community. Westport deserves local elected officials with leadership skills, management expertise and a strategic perspective, all of which I have brought to Town Hall for years in my previous roles.”

She now spends her time in public service, serving as a member of the Westport Board of Finance from 2013 until 2017 and as chairwoman of the audit subcommittee from 2015 until 2017.

Her service began in Westport when she was appointed to the Conservation Commission from 2009 to 2011 and then was an elected official on the Westport Board of Education from 2011 until 2013.

Tooker focuses on education, serving as a member of the board of directors for the State Education Resource Center from 2014 until 2018 and on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Education Commission for the Diocese of Bridgeport from 2015 until 2019.

She is a board member of the Adam J. Lewis Academy in Bridgeport.

Tooker was a longtime member of the board of directors for the Women’s Business Development Council from 2013 to 2018.

Marpe, a Republican, was elected first selectman in 2013 and reelected in 2017 when he ran with Tooker on the same ticket.

Tooker said her top priorities if elected include strengthening Westport’s local economy by reopening businesses safely and promoting Westport as the best place to work, live and play in the region, as well as enhancing Westport's treasured amenities, including Longshore, Baron's South, and other public parks and recreational facilities.

She also wants to prioritize building a community of belonging, safety and well-being for all of Westport’s residents and business owners; bolstering property values by ensuring steady tax rates, financial discipline, world-class schools, and excellent amenities and services; and establishing Westport as the regional leader for sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Tooker is the first major party candidate to announce her candidacy for the top elected position in town. TJ Elgin filed to run for first selectman as an Independent and as a Libertarian.

“I will continue to work diligently to ensure Westport remains a great place to live and work and to foster an even greater sense of community and belonging for all our residents and business owners,” Tooker said.

gmarku@darientimes.com