It’s hard to believe nearly two years have passed since Jim Zeoli was nominated to serve his seventh term as First Selectman and it’s time to start the process again.
Zeoli announced his plan to run for an eighth term, which, if he wins, will start his 15th year holding the town’s top job. He already has the distinction of being the longest serving First Selectman to serve the town in a full-time capacity. His predecessors, Walter S. Hine and Ralph Capecelatro held the position for 20 years and 18 years respectively, but during their tenures, the job was part-time. “These men served the town well, but they were part-time. The demands of this position have grown by leaps and bounds,” Zeoli said of the job. “I am truly honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to continue to be the First Selectman of the Town of Orange. Orange has been and continues to be the most wonderful place in Connecticut to me and I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of my job.”
As he plans for his upcoming campaign, Zeoli is wrapping up many of the projects he championed during his last bid for re-election, such as the refurbishment of the south wing of High Plains Community Center, rebuilding the Derby Milford Road bridge, aggressive road work and paving projects and upgrades to all the town’s elementary schools. Under his leadership several large-scale economic development projects are currently underway in the town’s industrial and commercial districts, including the construction of the Veteran Administration Hospital’s Outpatient Services facility, a FEDEX distribution terminal, a new hotel, and the redevelopment of a long-time vacant, “eyesore” property on the Boston Post Road by U-Haul. “I was also extremely involved in bringing The Urban Air Recreation Center to a long vacant building formerly held hostage by Stop and Shop,” he said.
Zeoli still has a growing “to-do” list to continue to improve the town’s commercial tax base and make it an even better place to live. “There’s still much to be done,” he said.
The Democrats have yet to announce a challenger. Democratic Town Committee Chairman Jody Dietch, said the committee is not ready to announce a candidate at this time.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent