Tom Marsh is working for a big promotion. As first selectman of Chester, a Connecticut River Valley town with a population of less than 4,000, he oversees a workforce of 20, not counting teachers, and a budget of a little more than $12 million.
In his next job, he hopes to take on a workforce of 55,000, a budget of $18.6 billion and a constituency of 3.5 million. Marsh wants to be Connecticut’s governor.
Marsh says his decision to run for governor, first as a Republican and now as the candidate of the Independent Party of Connecticut, arose from the frustrations he experienced as a small-town official trying to cope with local problems and issues, and getting little help from Hartford.
Marsh and his wife moved to Chester 20 years ago, and since then he has been involved in local government in several capacities. He served on the town’s board of education, board of finance, and economic development commission before being elected first selectman; he is currently serving his third term.
Mash also has served on the Governor’s Early Childhood Education Council, , on the executive board of the Workforce Alliance, and as chairman of a 17 town organization of municipal leaders, The Connecticut River Valley Chief Elected Officials.
Marsh said he and other municipal leaders watch with a feeling of helplessness as state officials squabble endlessly without solving problems. He doesn’t give his own party a pass.
“I’m amazed, from our side, that the Republican executive cannot get along with the Republican legislators,” Marsh said. “That’s amazing.”
He started thinking about running when Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced she would not seek another term.
“The first thought was, ‘I’m doing a lot of complaining. Why not give it a shot and get on the podium and say your piece?’ ” Marsh said.
The final push came from his wife. Marsh said she grew tired of hearing him rail about the inefficiencies of state government and the political gridlock at the Capitol.
“Either go talk where it matters,” she told him, “or stop talking to me.”