Mattson gets the endorsement for Lyme 1st selectman

For the first time in 16 years voters in Lyme will have a choice for first selectman.

Ralph F. Eno Jr. had served term after term without facing a competitor for re-election, a testament to his ability to lead the town effectively and free of controversy.

In retiring last July, Eno, a Republican, handed off the first selectman position to the man who had served beside him for 12 years as selectman, in the process helping with some of the responsibilities — Steven Mattson, a Democrat. It was a testament to the confidence the board had in Mattson that the two Republicans in control of the three-person Board of Selectmen supported his elevation to the top spot.

The Republican appointed to fill Mattson’s selectman’s spot, Mark Wayland, decided voters deserved a choice for first selectman and is challenging him. Competition is a good thing.

Yet the two candidates agree that there are no real issues to debate in this residential and rural community of about 2,500 people. Both agree that finding more volunteers for the fire department and other civic needs is a challenge, as it is in many small towns. But beyond proposing more aggressive recruiting efforts, neither has an easy solution.

Wayland pointed to the scarcity of issues as the reason he rejected The Day’s offer to sponsor a debate for first selectman. That was disappointing. In a debate, both candidates could have talked about how their experiences prepared them to lead and their visions for the town.

On experience, Mattson, retired after a career in business logistics, is the clear front-runner. In addition to his years of service as a selectman, Mattson has served on most every board in town, including land use commissions, Park and Recreation, and the Board of Finance.

Wayland, a carpenter who runs his own business, has been active with the Lyme Fire Co. but cannot match Mattson’s experience in governance.

It is worth noting that Eno gave his endorsement to Mattson, calling him the “candidate most qualified to lead Lyme for the next two years” whose “experience will be key to preserving Lyme’s cherished rural character and quality of life.”

The Day agrees and gives its endorsement to Steven Mattson for first selectman of 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.

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