Re-elect Nickerson in East Lyme

We suppose a highly skilled politician might somehow make the case for a change in leadership in East Lyme, where First Selectman Mark Nickerson administers to a town with a healthy and growing tax base, excellent schools, a diverse housing stock and a great little village in Niantic.

But Wesley “Wes” Firmin is not a skilled politician and he has not made the case.

It is race of Republican versus Republican, with Nickerson the party nominee and Firmin challenging him by way of the petition process. While Firmin deserves credit for making this a contested race and giving voters a choice, it is not much of a contest and the choice is clear.

Under Nickerson’s watch, the town recently exited the state trooper program in favor of its own independent police department. The timing was right. And Nickerson is exploring the potential for consolidating police service with neighboring Old Lyme. Firmin said at a recent debate such talk comes too soon after creating the independent police force. We don’t see why.

Things are getting done. Prudent zoning has generated development to broaden the tax base without adversely affecting the quality of residential life. A debate on improving aging elementary schools led to a consensus to renovate them.

Nickerson, who became first selectman in 2015, has overseen the renovation and reopening of the Niantic Boardwalk. It complements a village of Niantic that seems to grow in charm and vibrancy with each passing year.

Soon to add to the village’s appeal is the pending conversion of a centrally located parcel from an outdated service station to a small park overlooking Niantic Bay. Firmin calls it unnecessary given other needs, but voters overwhelmingly approved the purchase. By enhancing the village’s attractiveness, it is well worth the investment.

Nickerson deserves much credit, but certainly not all credit, for this progress. He has kept things moving in the right direction after the successful service of his predecessor as first selectman, Paul Formica, now a state senator.

Firmin tries to make the case that Nickerson, because he has two GEICO offices, cannot give the job his full focus. But anyone bothering to watch knows the incumbent puts in long hours.

The Day endorses Mark Nickerson for re-election as first selectman of East Lyme.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

Editor's Note: This version corrects the year that Mark Nickerson became the first selectman of East Lyme; it was 2015.

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