Blake to seek 5th term; German plans challenge

Mayor Ben Blake, Democrat, announces his intentions to run for a fifth term during a fundraising event Thursday, May 23, at the Stonebridge Restaurant.

Milford’s race for mayor has begun.

Four-term Democratic Mayor Ben Blake announced Thursday night his plans to seek a fifth term, and Republican Alderman Dan German announced his intentions to challenge Blake for the seat.

“The job of mayor is all-consuming,” Blake said prior to a fundraising event at Stonebridge Restaurant Thursday. “It’s all Milford all the time, but it’s a job that I love.”

Blake said he believes his administration has accomplished a great deal, from economic development to infrastructure and recreation improvements throughout the city, all while keeping taxes down.

Pointing out that with the 2019-20 city budget taxes will go down slightly for the fourth year in a row, Blake said, “We’ve had back to back to back-to-back tax decreases, and I think that might be the first time in the State of Connecticut.”

The city has a AAA bond rating and the largest grand list in New Haven County, said Blake, 41, adding that all these things make Milford an attractive place to live.

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith said he is certain Blake will get the party’s backing at the July convention, when the party officially endorses its candidates for the November election.

“I have every confidence,” Smith said. “Milford has become the envy of all the cities in Connecticut. And I have every confidence that the people in Milford will endorse the job he’s done in November.”

A number of well-wishers showed up to cheer the mayor on. Dan Worroll, chairman of the Park, Beach and Recreation Commission, said the mayor has done a good job.

“He’s kept the taxes low once again and really that’s all you can ask for. If services are up and taxes are not, I think he’s doing a good job.”

Local historian Timothy Chaucer said, “Ben does a good job, and there’s no question how devoted he is to Milford.”

Nearby at the Parsons Government Center Thursday night, German discussed his plans to challenge Blake for the post in November. German had announced Saturday on Facebook that he will seek his party’s nomination to run for mayor, and more formally announced his plans Thursday during a Republican Town Committee meeting.

An alderman for 10 years, German, 58, talked about his years as a local business owner, and his family’s history owning businesses in Milford. German owned a Milford-based gym and now is a financial advisor.

Fellow Republican Alderman Anthony Giannattasio said German’s experiences are key to winning the election.

“I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised at the response we’re going to get come November,” said Giannattasio. “It’s a long time waiting. We’re in the game and we have someone amongst us who has an MBA in business. He has a business background, he has 10 years government experience. He knows the environmental issues, he’s very passionate about the environment, and he’s also well versed in health care. And that’s going to go a long way this campaign.”

Republican Town Committee Chairman Ray Kirmaier said he won’t speculate as to whether other Republicans may step up before the July convention to also throw their hat in the ring for mayor, but he said he is pleased to see German announcing his intentions to run.

“We’re happy for it,” Kirmaier said. “Fred Lisman was an alderman before he became mayor, and Jim Richetelli was an alderman who went on to become mayor, and now Dan German is going on to follow in those footsteps.”

Kirmaier said German will make a more formal announcement June 11 at Stonebridge Restaurant.

Republican Alderman Dan German holds up a campaign donation during a meeting of the Republican Town Committee Thursday, May 23 at the Parsons Government Center, where German told the town committee he plans to run for mayor.

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