RTM members face deadline on election plans
Decision time on how the largest field of candidates on the town’s November ballot will take shape is rapidly approaching.
The 36 incumbent members of the Representative Town Meeting are being asked to indicate by July 28 whether they will seek re-election by Town Clerk Patricia Strauss. All of the seats on the non-partisan legislative body will be on the ballot in the municipal election, the largest number of seats in play.
This year’s town election will lack a contest for first selectman and the other seats on the Board of Selectmen, since all of those incumbents are at the midpoint of four-year terms. Several seats on other boards and commissions, whoever, are up fro grabs.
“The current RTM members have been given a letter of intent,” said Strauss, who noted that as of Wednesday last week only one incumbent from the town’s nine voting districts — Peter Knight of District 8 — had announced that he will not be seeking re-election. Thirteen others who had responded by that time indicated they plan to run again.
“They have until July 28 to simply sign the letter of intent to let me know that they want to run for office,” Strauss said, noting that many might be on vacation and have possibly not seen the letter yet.
Other town residents interested in running for the RTM can obtain a petition from Strauss’s office, and then collect the signatures from at least 25 registered voters in their district to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot. Those petitions have to be submitted by Sept. 8.
“In years past it’s usually about a third of the members, usually eight to 12 members, who do not sign up for another two years,” Strauss said. “That’s usually the turnover.”
“It’s a nonpartisan legislation,” Strauss noted, “which means you do not run on a party line. You can be a member of a party, but when you run for Representative Town Meeting in the town of Westport you are not representing a party.”