Borjeson Seeks Democratic Mayoral Nomination
NEWINGTON - Former Democratic Majority Leader Terry Borjeson has announced his bid for the Democratic Town Committee’s nomination for Mayor, two years after he last served on Town Council.

       Borjeson said that the Town Committee’s decision is less than certain, but that he likes his chances.

       Borjeson said that if he is elected Mayor, he will give up his seat on the State’s Board of Pardons and Parole-a position he was appointed to by Governor Malloy in 2014.

       "It's early in the process," said Democratic Town Committee Chair John Kelly. "We're talking to a number of candidates for all available positions."

       By state statute, committees do not have to have their slate officially announced until July.

       In a phone conversation Monday, Borjeson set unity among community stakeholders-he thinks that political discourse has become “divisive” in recent years-as his guiding objective, while setting his sights on a slew of impending building projects, a more “business friendly” environment, and the issue of school funding levels.

       While his first priority on the building side is Town Hall, he indicated that Anna Reynolds Elementary School and the Lucy Robbins Welles Library are close behind. A campaign flier he released this week also highlighted preservation of the historic Deming-Young Farm among his key projects.

       “All in all, we’ve been fiscally prudent for the past 25 years-I want to maintain that,” Borjeson said. “But we also have to get things done.”

       It’s a tight line to walk, particularly when it comes to the area of school spending, Borjeson said. He thinks the Board of Education-coming off this year’s 0.3 percent increase and working now to avert staff reductions-has not been funded at the level necessary to maintain the quality of district programs and, subsequently, local property values.

       Members of the Republican Majority have cited state budget deficit-driven uncertainty regarding municipal aid levels, along with the possibility of more dramatic costs-such as teachers pensions-to fall to the towns, but proponents of this year’s Board requested 2.49 percent increase-a stated baseline-said that funding quality schools is a long term and necessary investment.

       “We need to give people a reason to come to Newington,” Borjeson said.

       On the business side, Borjeson said that the town could give businesses a bit more latitude in certain areas, such as signage.

       “I think we need to be more business friendly,” Borjeson said. “We can do better.”

       On May 4 he’s holding a forum with 16 local business owners in order to solicit feedback as to how.

       Then there’s the Grand List, which took a dip this year with an occupancy change at the Hartford Hospital property. With open space limited, the town will have to find creative ways to capitalize on development opportunities-particularly in the Cedar Street/Fenn Road and Newington Junction areas, Borjeson said.

       “We need strong economic development-particularly around long-term growth,” he said. “And we need to preserve our character, but we need growth.”

       He said that he can understand why some residents might be skeptical about a possible railway station in Newington Junction, noting that it would be well away from the downtown center.

       “Maybe it’s not the best idea. Maybe we should look at other alternatives,” Borjeson said.

       He hopes to make use of the area’s unused industrial properties-hopefully filling them with businesses geared toward the kind of STEM and advanced manufacturing professions that the school district is working to prepare students for.

       “It kind of all ties together,” Borjeson said.

       Two years ago, Borjeson came under fire for a testimony-before CROCOG, which he then served on-in support of a controversial House bill that would have established a Transit Corridor Authority for the purpose of providing advisory and facilitation support for communities pursuing transit oriented development projects.

       An early provision-later stripped from the legislation-granting eminent domain rights to what would have been a quasi-public agency prompted widespread concerns regarding local control, but Borjeson said at the time that the bill’s intent was to make the Authority a support entity enlisted only by a municipality’s choice.

       Speaking about it Monday, he maintained that position.

       He admitted that the controversy at the time prompted him to “walk away” from the political scene and “regroup”.

       Borjeson is a retired criminal justice professional who began his 29 year career as a parole officer, going on to hold numerous managerial and coordinator positions with public, private, and nonprofit entities.