Blake talks of love for Milford as he accepts bid to run for re-election

Mayor Ben Blake at the Democratic caucus Thursday night, after accepting his Party's nomination to run for re-election.
Mayor Ben Blake at the Democratic caucus Thursday night, after accepting his Party’s nomination to run for re-election.

UPDATED: Ted Blake said his older brother, Ben, has always loved Milford.

When they were younger, Ted asked Ben if he’d ever consider getting a tattoo.

Ben said “no,” according to Ted, who made a speech last week at the Democratic convention, nominating Ben Blake to run for second term as mayor.

But Ben said that if he were to get a tattoo, it would be of Charles Island or Milford’s landmark memorial tower.

Those words were shared between the two brothers years before Ben Blake stepped in two years ago as Milford’s youngest mayor at age 33, a job that Ben said “is, without a doubt, the best job on Earth.”

Two years ago, Blake said he wanted to run for mayor because he loves Milford and all it offered him growing up here, and he wanted to make sure the same opportunities exist for his children.

That hasn’t changed, Blake said in accepting his party’s nomination to seek a second term.

With new efficiencies created, new sources of revenue bringing in additional tax dollars and with lessons learned from several major storms since he took office, Blake said he is ready to start moving the city forward even more.

“I can say Milford is even better than it was two years ago,” Blake said. “Two years from now, I hope to say our community is even sturdier.”

After two years, Blake said he understands the myriad tasks associated with being mayor.

Former Democratic Mayor Alberta Jagoe seconded the nomination for Blake, as did Alderman Frank Smith.

Jagoe praised Blake for being “calm and reassuring” during hurricanes and a blizzard that were experienced in the past two years. Jagoe said Blake has done an “outstanding job” trying to hold down taxes. She also said he leads an open and honest government, and she said that with his family values, work ethic and love of the community, he is “one of the truly good guys.”

Smith continued on that theme when he described Blake as a solid family man, recalling the many times Blake attended community events with his wife, Sandy, and two children, Carter and Caroline.

Smith said Blake has brought “new energy and enthusiasm,” plus efficiencies, to the mayor’s office, and cited some of his accomplishments, including renovations at East Shore Middle School, renegotiated health care insurance that “leveraged more than $1 million a year in savings,” infrastructure improvements, and new city revenue generated by bringing EMS billing in-house.

During his term, Blake also renegotiated the city’s recycling contract, refinanced city bonds to get lower interest rates, expanded the senior tax relief program and streamlined operations in city departments, party members pointed out.

Smith praised Blake for his handling of storm issues and following up with government assistance to help dislocated homeowners. He pointed out that Blake toured damaged parts of the city after Storm Sandy to talk to residents most impacted by the storm, and after Nemo, he grabbed a shovel as part of a city wide effort to help clear snow from sidewalks in front of homes of elderly residents.

“If ever a mayor was tested, these confirm his stature and his mettle,” Smith said, adding that Blake handled the devastating storms with “poise and skill.”

Blake was born, raised and educated in Milford, and then want on to become a lawyer, before taking the job as Milford’s mayor. His parents, Bruce and Ann, are retired Milford educators.

The Democratic Town Committee approved its slate of candidates for the November elections last week in a City Hall ceremony highlighted by red carnations on the lapel of every candidate, and patriotic tunes sung by the Coastal Chordsmen.

Charles Montalbano accepted his party’s nomination to run for city clerk against incumbent Republican Linda Stock.

Party members pointed out that the city clerk’s office is the place where much city business takes place, especially business that involves interaction with residents.

“It is a place where people meet their government,” Ben Blake said.

Montalbano said he wants to bring the same efficiencies to the city clerk’s office that Blake brought to the mayor’s office.

“I will continue to ask ‘how can we improve, how can we do the job better’,” Montalbano said.

Montalbano is a commissioner on the Milford Redevelopment and Housing Authority and a member of the board of directors at Bridges, where he also served as a mentor with the Bridges Across Ages program.

He is a small business owner, a furniture designer and he works for Verizon Wireless.

Former City Clerk Alan Jepson sent a note to the convention, stating his support for Montalbano.

“Charlie has demonstrated his ability to lead, inspire and manage effectively,” Jepson’s note said.

Alderman Bryan Anderson also spoke on behalf of Montalbano, saying that Montalbano loves the city of Milford and often advocates on behalf of its citizens. He added that he believes the Democrats can win the city clerk seat by boosting their party’s voter turnout in November.

The rest of the Democratic slate is as follows:

Running for Board of Aldermen are Greta Stanford and James Patterson in the first district; Nick Veccharelli and Janet Golden in the second district; Frank Smith and Robbie Long in the third district; Susan Shaw and Phil Vetro in the fourth district, and Bryan Anderson and Dora Kubek in the fifth district.

Running for the Board of Education are Mark Ahern and Laura Fetter in the first district; Tracy Casey and Susan Glennon in the second district; Chris Saley and George Gensure in the third district; Earl Whiskeyman and Heidi Gold-Dworkin in the fourth district, and Laura Fucci and Sarah Ferrante in the fifth district.

Running for Planning and Zoning are Raymond Arnold in the first district, Mike Dolan in the second district, Jim Quish in the third district; Carl Moore in the fourth district, and Terrance Copeland in the fifth district.

The following are running for constable: Linda Hardiman, Joan Rousseau, Scott Barnett and Dennis Slavin.

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