STRATFORD, Conn. — Democrat Joe Paul will make another run to become the Mayor of Stratford.
Paul lost to current Mayor John Harkins in 2013 by a vote of 5,693 to 4,346.
“When I ran four years ago, I said that it would take an outsider’s perspective to find solutions to the challenges facing Stratford,” Paul said Wednesday in declaring his candidacy. “Since then, it’s only become more clear that we need to stop electing the same politically motivated insiders to the Mayor’s office. Being from Stratford and raising my own family here, I know what makes this town great and the potential it has. The political gridlock we're seeing now is holding us back, but it doesn't need to."
State Senator Ed Gomes, whose district covers part of Stratford, offered his support to Paul’s announcement. “Connecticut needs more leaders like Joe,” Gomes said. “Joe was born and raised in Stratford and knows what his town needs. The community of Stratford taught him the values that made him both professionally and personally successful. He is motivated to run for Mayor because he feels a deep obligation to give back to the town that gave him and his family so much."
Before retiring in 2007, Paul had a 40-year career in banking. He worked closely with federal, state, and local government offices to achieve greater levels of efficiency for services. He managed 3,000 employees, turning a failing operation into a profitable one in only two years. Paul currently works as a realtor for William Raveis.
In 2016 Paul was elected to the Town of Stratford’s Zoning Commission. He previously served as a Planning Commissioner and on the Board of Assessment Appeals. Paul has also served on the board of numerous community organizations including the Urban League of Greater Hartford, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Child and Family Guidance Center.
Joe and his wife Linda were high school sweethearts at Stratford High School. Their four children all attended Stratford public schools and still live in town.
Other candidates for mayor include Stephanie D. Philips, a three-term former member of the Town Council and chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee. Philips filed papers with the Town Clerk earlier this month to officially enter her name as a Democratic candidate for mayor.
Democrat Len Petruccelli formed an exploratory committee last month to seek a political office in Stratford — either for Mayor or the District 9 Town Council seat.
Stratford's current Mayor John Harkins, a Republican, has not announced yet whether will run again in the fall.