Norwich — Democratic alderman and former Board of Education chairman Charles Jaskiewicz officially announced his bid for the party nomination for mayor at the Comfort Suites Wednesday in front of more than 40 supporters, family members and observers.
Jaskiewicz, on his 55th birthday, touted a broad range of achievements during his nine years in politics that included eight years on the Board of Education — six years as chairman — one term on the City Council and two years on the State Board of Education.
Jaskiewicz left the Norwich school board in 2011 when he was appointed to the State Board of Education. He ran successfully for City Council that year.
Jaskiewicz also touted among his achievements obtaining $2 million in interest-free loans for the $40 million Kelly Middle School renovation project and reducing the number of city polling places and moving them back into city schools.
Jaskiewicz chaired the Kelly Middle School building project. Among supporters in the audience Wednesday was project architect Jim Lawler and fellow Democratic Alderman Mark Bettencourt, who also served on the committee.
Bettencourt called Jaskiewicz "a bull in a China shop," referring to his energy and excitement about his ideas and projects.
"Sometimes you need a bull in a China shop," Bettencourt said, "to bust things up and turn things around. I look at the city now as stagnant."
Bettencourt, a 2009 mayoral candidate, said he would not run for mayor this year.
Jaskiewicz said he would bring projects to Norwich residents, the City Council and other agencies and would set "action plans" with time tables and deadlines. He said the city also needs to promote its assets, including the city-owned Norwich Public Utilities, the city's waterfront historical and cultural assets.
"With the relationships that I have established with state and federal elected officials, I will be energetic as your mayor, exploring many opportunities for growth and economic development," Jaskiewicz said.
Jaskiewicz, a regulatory manager at Pfizer Inc., said he would keep his Pfizer position but would set aside all other civic positions — including volunteer work at United Way and his position on the state school board — if elected mayor. He said Pfizer allows time for community service.
Jaskiewicz is the second Democratic alderman to enter the race. Alderwoman Deberey Hinchey announced last month that she would seek the party nomination.
Republican Mayor Peter Nystrom has yet to announce whether he will seek a second four-year term.