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Hedrick decision gives all voters a choice in City of Groton

City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick confirmed Friday he will wage a write-in campaign in the May 3 election against the man who narrowly defeated him in the March 8 Democratic primary, Town Councilor Aundré Bumgardner. That’s good news for city voters.

If Hedrick − or some other candidate − did not choose the write-in path, then Bumgardner would have strode into this important and demanding office. Unaffiliated and Republican voters would never have had the chance to weigh in on the decision as to who would lead their city. The primary was only open to registered Democrats. Bumgardner won 335-330, hardly a mandate.

That does not mean Bumgardner’s victory was meaningless. His name will be on the ballot, Hedrick’s will not. That’s a big advantage. Voters who want to return the mayor to office will have to find the write-in box on the ballot, enter Hedrick’s name and fill-in the accompanying oval.

The Day Editorial Board considers Hedrick the better candidate. It is why we endorsed him in the primary. During two terms Hedrick has effectively run the city as its chief executive, pushing budgets through the council that lowered property taxes.

This is not a ceremonial job. The City of Groton mayor is responsible for managing the $20 million municipal budget and $70 million Groton Utilities operation. The political subdivision, located within the boundaries of the Town of Groton, is home to the Pfizer research campus and the Electric Boat submarine manufacturing facility.

In addition to the experience of managing the city for the last four years, Hedrick, 61, is a veteran of 20 years of Naval service and, prior to becoming mayor, was an operations manager at URS, later acquired by AECOM, a major infrastructure consulting firm. He holds an MBA from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Bumgardner, 26, would face a steep learning curve as mayor. He has the town council experience and served one term as a state representative, elected at age 20, but legislating is far different than serving as an elected chief executive. Bumgardner has no degrees beyond a high school diploma.

Yet Bumgardner is a strong campaigner and, with his door-to-door effort, outworked Hedrick in the primary. He wants to see the city more focused on battling climate change and on social issues of equality and opportunity.

We look forward to a general election campaign focused on the issues, happy there is a choice.

 

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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