Rich Straiton was elected to the Board of Selectmen eight years ago, and previously served as chairman or as a committee member of many of Bethel’s major building projects over the past 20+ years.
He began using his expertise for the good of Bethel during the storied administration of Clifford Hurgin, when he served on the Permanent Building Committee as additions were made to the Stony Hill Fire Department and the Bethel Police Department. Since then, Rich has been instrumental in many other town projects, including the construction of the Bethel Middle School, renovations to the Clifford J. Hurgin Municipal Center, Frank A. Berry School, and the Bethel High School.
He presently serves as the selectmen’s representative to the building committee of the new police station and is reviewing the Board of Education’s proposal for renovations to two of Bethel’s elementary schools. Rich is an alternate on two regional commissions, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments and the Housatonic Resource Recovery Agency. He has been designated, and served as, the acting first selectman during the past eight years when the first selectman has been out of town.
Rich is a justice of the peace, a constable, and a member of the Danbury Exchange Club. In 2011 he received the Bethel Board of Education’s CHAMP Award for his dedicated service to Bethel. He is a member of Ridgebury Congregational Church in Ridgefield.
Rich is a lifelong resident of Bethel, attended Bethel elementary schools, and graduated from Henry Abbot Technical High School. After graduation, he joined his father’s construction business. When his father retired, Rich ran the business for the next 16 years. During this period, he represented the U.S. as a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard. Today, Rich is retired, but finds time to drive around Bethel and observe the town’s various building, public works, and road projects.
Rich and his wife, Sharon, have been married for 23 years, and have a blended family of seven children (all of whom graduated from Bethel Public Schools), eight grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.