It’s been 46 years. Greenwich is ready for a First Selectperson

It’s been 46 years. Greenwich is ready for a First Selectperson

As part of my campaign preparation, I read the oral history of Ruth Sims, a Democrat, and the first woman elected first selectman in 1977. The interviewer asks Ruth Sims if she prefers to be called first selectwoman or first selectperson. Sims replies, “Well, the charter calls it the office of the first selectman so that’s what I used.”

It’s 2023 and three women have been elected to this office: Ruth Sims; her successor Rebecca Breed, a Republican; and Lolly Prince, also a Republican who was elected in 2001.

Photographs of past Greenwich first selectmen in the Gisborne Room at Greenwich Town Hall. Source: Laura Erickson

I’m on the ballot as first selectman because that’s what the Town Charter still says. Ruth Sims won as a Democrat in 1977 when the town’s voter affiliation was overwhelmingly Republican per her New York Times obituary. Today the voters have shifted: 39 percent are Unaffiliated, 30 percent are Democrats, 29 percent are Republican and 2 percent are Other.

Republicans should not be handed this election. Voters need to educate themselves and vote for leadership that represents the values of the community up and down the ballot, including the RTM. 

Residents have a lot on their minds and there are many concerns. Republicans have been in control of the Town of Greenwich for the last century, with only a couple of exceptions and they are not delivering in this administration. There’s been a complete breakdown in the local Republican party town committee which is domineered by extremists and candidates blatantly promoting misinformation. I’ve been in town government for more than 20 years, and am currently serving in my fourth year on the Board of Estimate and Taxation. I am seeing first-hand a lot of issues that aren’t being addressed proactively or in a fiscally responsible manner. It’s time to be forward thinking and to plan for our future.  Greenwich needs a reset. 

Ruth Sims was a remarkable woman. Recently, I attended a campaign gathering and chatted with a woman who knew Ruth personally. She remarked that Ruth was a deep thinker and a woman of action. I surely got a sense of that from reading the oral history, and also the oral history of Peter Bloch, which detailed the close election of 1977, the recounts that resulted in an ultimate declaration of a tie and the special election held Dec. 29 which Ruth Sims won handily. It’s a gripping story. 

Ruth was the first full-time first selectman and she oversaw the move to the current Town Hall. She implemented a five-year capital plan. She got Gov. Ella Grasso down for a visit to see first-hand the pollution emanating from the Cos Cob power plant which was later closed down. She oversaw the Commission on Aging’s plan to convert the Town Hall Annex to elderly housing and repurpose the old Town Hall into a Senior Center and Arts Center. She addressed affirmative action in the town’s work force. She created the fire training center and our own police shooting range so our first responders didn’t have to travel out of town. Some of the issues she faced are ones we are still talking about almost 50 years later such as increasing rents, overdevelopment, congestion, parking and open space. 

I am asking for your vote because I believe I am the most qualified candidate for the position, not because I’m a woman. It’s time to fix our schools, fund public safety measures and focus on the real concerns that residents care about. 

Vote Row A on Nov. 7 for a better Greenwich. It’s been 46 years, and it’s time for a change.

Governor Lamont: “Laura is exactly the right kind of person to lead Greenwich”

“A successful leader guides, inspires, listens and hears all voices, pragmatically solves problems, builds consensus toward common goals, presents an organized well developed strategic direction with humor, humility and grace. Laura Erickson has demonstrated these leadership skills time and time again over the past 21 years she has served the people of Greenwich on PTAs, the RTM (13 years), the Board of Education (four years) or the Board of Estimate and Taxation (four years). This is the type of leader we need now in Greenwich.” Debbie Appelbaum, Greenwich

Laura Erickson

Candidate for First Selectperson

Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.Greenwich Democratic Town Committee • P.O. Box 126 • Greenwich, CT 06836
Copyright (C) 2023 Greenwich Democratic Town Committee. All rights reserved.
Volume L1, Number 3 • October 30, 2023
Paid for by the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee.
Greenwich Democratic Town Committee P.O. Box 126 Greenwich, CT 06836