Bristol’s mayor not seeking re-election

Bristol Mayor Art Ward announced today that he will not be seeking a fourth term in this year’s November election. Ward has been in office for three terms, totaling almost six years in the city’s top job, and said, in part in a press release, that it “has been an honor, a privilege and a most humbling experience.”

Ward is no stranger to politics, and has been serving in local government for almost 30 years. Before mayor he was a councilman, and said in his press release “community service can often times prove challenging and formidable, but the mission always remains constant – striving for the betterment of the community by insuring that the public safety, security, education and health needs of the people meet the utmost expectations of performance.”

Ward sited what the city has done to work through the last five years of what he calls “economic turmoil,” and said the city “has withstood the economic challenges of this recession through the elimination of nearly fifty positions utilizing the process of attrition, maintaining the practice of fiscal austerity through cooperative budgetary measures between the educational and city components of city government, the consolidation of multiple departments and positions, the presence of commitment of elected and appointed officials, city department heads, staff, employees and most importantly, the backbone of the community – the volunteers and  the citizens of Bristol, all of whom have dedicated themselves for the betterment of the city by collaboratively providing the foundation for the future of our community.”

While Ward has been in office, Bristol has been able to maintain its progress into the future, “with the stabilization of our excellent bond rating, solid city pension funds, construction and presentation of two new K-8 schools, multiple regionalization practices, including regional and local resolutions which address longstanding environmental and flooding concerns along the Pequabuck and Coppermine waterways, combining with neighboring communities in heavy equipment purchases and addressing lower costs associated in the providing of mutual community services, new energy and environmental efficiency provisions, long term commitments such as the new trash-to-energy contract, the proposed new recycling facility and new revenue enhancements such as the ‘pay as you throw’ solid waste program.”

He continued that Bristol remains strong in regards to business development, revitalization of the city’s downtown, and continues to be dedicated to all city residents.

Ward concluded in his release — “To my wife Patricia, our families, our friends, our supporters and campaign staffs – this dream would never have become a reality without you. Thank you for all of your love, guidance and support throughout these years.

I would be remiss if I didn’t express my extreme gratitude for the abundance of support and the dedication of my administrative assistant, Mary Suchopar for her confidence, allegiance and “go the extra mile” spirit over these past five years.

I have relished the opportunity to serve with you and to serve for you, I will forever cherish all of the fond memories and assure you that I will continue to exercise the due diligence deserved of both the Office of the Mayor and the people of Bristol throughout the rest of this term of office.

My longevity as an appointed and elected official has proved most gratifying and will always remain an integral part of my life. My hope is that I have contributed as much to the people of the City of Bristol as I have been blessed to have received as a result of this wonderful experience.

As we move forward as a community, I am confident that the people of Bristol will continue the process of responsibly exercising their right to vote and electing a most worthy candidate in the November election.

God Bless the City of Bristol, the State of Connecticut and the United States of America.”