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John McKenna

Sep 29, 2021

Litchfield’s candidates for first selectman took the stage at Litchfield Intermediate School for an hour-long debate Tuesday that was sanctioned by the Democratic and Republican town committees.

First Selectman Denise Raap, a Democrat bidding for a second term, and Daniel Martineau, a Republican running for office for the first time, had an opportunity to answer questions from the public that were forwarded through a pair of moderators.

Questions touched on a variety of issues, from town finance and taxes and the fate of Town Hall and the Town Hall Annex in Bantam to crime and small business. Raap and Martineau agreed on most of the matters, allowing the debate to move forward without any contention.

Raap said she’s anxious to continue an agenda she started two years ago, one focusing on helping senior citizens and young families, supporting veterans, ensuring community safety and wellness in the era of COVID-19, and enhancing communication with the public through the use of social media and virtual meetings. She added that she supports the Litchfield Land Trust, the Litchfield Community Greenway and other environmental advocates in town.

“People come here because of our natural resources,” Raap said, adding that she restored $10,000 in annual funding for the improvement of Bantam Lake.

Martineau, a longtime leader with Boy Scout Troop 29 in town, said he too supports steps taken to enhance the environment in town and would support devoting more than $10,000 to Bantam Lake.

Raap cited efforts to reduce municipal trash volume through steps such as a food waste program at the recycling center, taking steps to address traffic and speeding problems in town, having an open-door policy and being transparent as hallmarks of her administration.

Martineau, a retired state probation officer who has spent most of his life in Litchfield, said his strengths of being able to network with people, build relationships and listen are a fit for the first selectman’s job.

In his closing remarks, Martineau said he’s running because he doesn’t want the Litchfield he knows to change in character, is comfortable making decisions once he has enough information, and would hasten the approach to resolving the Town Hall and Town Hall Annex issues.

Raap, who said she expects the fate of the two buildings to be determined over the next year or so, vowed to make constituent service a top priority.

“I am committed to the well-being of the town and when re-elected will serve to the best of my ability,” she said.

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