Matt Knickerbocker and Richard Straiton Announce Run for Re-election in Bethel
On July 19th, 2021, Bethel’s First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker and Selectman Richard Straiton announced their intentions on to run for re-election in the upcoming municipal election on November 2nd. A successful reelection bid would win their seventh term of office since first gaining the positions in 2009.
In announcing their campaign, the pair pointed to their notable track record during their time in office. “Since our first day in office, we have dedicated ourselves to achieving bipartisan support for the betterment of our community,” Knickerbocker said in the announcement. “We have made it a point to leave politics at the door and work for every resident of our town.”
Selectman Rich Straiton concurred. “During our time in office, we have concentrated our efforts on improving our town’s finances, budget control and infrastructure. Our aggressive road construction program has just passed its tenth year and is still going strong, and our high AAA bond rating was just reaffirmed for the fifth consecutive year,” Straiton said.
The pair listed other notable accomplishments, include an effective response to last year’s COVID-19 crisis and operating a best-in-class public vaccine clinic, successful full scale “renovate as new” projects at Johnson and Rockwell elementary schools, completion of one of the state’s first municipal solar farms to reduce energy costs, completion of major upgrades to Bethel’s public water system and land purchases to increase “open space” holdings and preserve the town’s rural areas.
Knickerbocker and Straiton also spoke of upcoming plans. “We need to do more to improve sustainability,” Knickerbocker said in discussing ideas to expand renewable energy systems in town. His proposal calls for expanding the role of the town’s energy commission to include work in other areas of sustainability, such as reducing solid waste and improving recycling systems. Other projects currently under way include introducing new technologies to improve work efficiencies at town hall. Two ongoing projects include a new online permitting system for the building, land use, public works and health departments, and a complete revamp of the town’s website to provide new online services to residents.
“We are very excited about the future of Bethel.” Knickerbocker said. “Our community has worked together to get through this pandemic, we’ve invested wisely in our schools, and we’re ready to keep our community moving forward. It would be an honor for both of us to continue to serve our town.”