Lauretti will run — but to where?
Mark Lauretti will be running for mayor — the question is, which city?
Lauretti told The Herald Tuesday that all should assume he is running for re-election as Shelton’s mayor, a post he has held for the past 28 years. But the longtime city leader did not rule out a run for Bridgeport’s top job, a topic he first broached last year.
“There is a lot of interest in this,” said Lauretti, referring to numerous people in Bridgeport who have asked him to ring his leadership skills to Bridgeport. “I don’t know where this is going, but I have been asked about this a lot. It would be a challenge to be sure.”
Lauretti said he is definitely considering the move — which would also require a physical move from his home in Shelton to new digs in Bridgeport.
“It’s been 28 years here … I think I have done my job, and I think it has been recognized by a lot of people,” said Lauretti.
Lauretti, currently Fairfield County’s longest-serving mayor or first selectman, is up for re-election in Shelton this year and plans to make a decision on his political future in March or April.
“I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done my job in Shelton and gotten tremendous results,” said Lauretti. “I think I could bring about a change that is necessary and is required for a city that was once great to be on the track to returning to that greatness.”
“Bridgeport has tremendous potential,” said Lauretti. “For the state of Connecticut to be successful, our big cities have to do better. The big cities become a drag on the rest of the state.”
Lauretti said a key is changing the city’s image and getting people interested in developing within its borders again.
“People in Bridgeport need a break. Every year, their taxes go up. Every year people walk away from properties because can’t pay taxes and feed their families. This is where government fails us,” said Lauretti.
And the longtime Shelton mayor says his record speaks for itself — specifically keeping taxes in check while shepherding the economic and development progress in downtown and along Bridgeport Avenue.
“I think I’ve always been very open, and I think no one manages money in this job better than me,” said Lauretti. “I’ve said no to a lot of things over the years, people don’t like that, but it’s ok.”
Lauretti said his toughest decisions have always been financial, with so many people coming in seeking funding for various projects, he stated that he has had to hold a hard line on such requests. Lauretti said some of these requests have been necessary, but the key is finding a less expensive way to complete the task.
“I have always pushed people to be on time and on budget,” said Lauretti.
Lauretti, who, like present Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, ran unsuccessfully for the governor’s seat, said he has no immediate plans to move to Bridgeport, where he taught science and coached basketball at Central High School during the 1980s.
“The biggest issue will be my wife,” joked Lauretti.