Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield believes she has a good case to make to voters as they decide whether the Democrat deserves a fifth term.
“I pride myself on achieving, and we have achieved quite a bit,” Bransfield said. "And I feel that I still have quite a bit to contribute.”
Bransfield said taxes have remained “very stable” during her time in office, while town services were preserved.
Also, the first selectman said town crews and departments are sound, and infrastructure has improved.
Bransfield pointed out that certain infrastructure work made it possible for Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park — “a major employer and a supplier of revenue to the town” — to open.
The first selectman went on to tout Portland’s “excellent” school system.
“It’s the number one job that we must accomplish, and that is to educate our children to the best of our ability,” she said.
Brownstone Intermediate recently was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
Just weeks before the Blue Ribbon honor was announced, Money magazine included Portland on its list of the Top 100 best small towns in America for 2011.
Speaking of the Money magazine honor, Bransfield said, “In order to get that we needed to have a quality place to live, good schools, the opportunity for people to get to their jobs; a transportation system, an employment area. And there are a number of other characteristics that Portland has that allowed us to acquire that [distinction].”
Down the road, Bransfield sees the town only getting better. She looks forward to seeing plans through to improve upon Main Street, Route 66, and the riverfront.
On the topic of business, the first selectman said, “My last eight years have been geared toward priming, making sure that the town is ready for appropriate businesses, and at the same time, making this a quality place to live.
“I understand that we have a number of new businesses that are choosing to expand and/or locate within our town. There are a lot of exciting things that are coming.”
Bransfield first became interested in politics while in high school. Her sophomore year history teacher made an impression on her.
“She taught us how important it is to be a part of your community and make sure that you are contributing to it,” said Bransfield, who holds a masters degree in public administration.
“We’re very, very fortunate to live in the United States. But you’re only fortunate if people are contributing to it, assuring that the quality of life we have continues.”
Bransfield’s first foray into public life was as a member of the Portland Board of Education. She then served on the Board of Selectmen. From there, Bransfield went after the town’s top job, and has held the post since 2003.
“You have to run for this office," she said. "It’s the way that it’s set up. But the day after I’m elected, it’s no longer politics. It’s being a manager and an administrator and a legislator, depending on what role I’m in. The politics are left at the door. Your job is to make sure the town is run well. The minute you’re elected, you’re now serving everyone.
“I thoroughly enjoy every day that I go to work. It’s the most stimulating job that I’ve ever had, and the most challenging job that I’ve ever had. I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to serve, and I know that I have much more to contribute.”
Name: Susan Bransfield
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Office Sought: First Selectman
Family: Husband, Tom; three children, sons Eamonn 28, Thomas 26, daughter Meara, 22; grandaughter Samantha, 2 months.
Education: Master's Public Administration, MPA, University of Hartford; M.S. University of Connecticut.
Offices Held: First Selectman, 2003 to present; Selectman,1995-2003; Board of Education, 1994-95.
Past Occupations: Education Service Specialist, State of Connecticut; Nutrition Service Manager for non-profit, New Britain.
Civic Associations: Exchange Club.
Government Associations: Member Board of Directors, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities; Member Board of Directors, Council of Small Governments.