The Bristol Press – Republican Plymouth town committee chairman, tax collector announces he is running for mayor
PLYMOUTH — Republican Town Committee Chairman and town tax collector Joseph Kilduff has announced he plans to throw his hat in the ring and run for mayor.
Kilduff will be among those hoping to win the local Republican Party’s endorsement of their caucus. He has been chairman of the Republican City Committee since 2016 and a tax collector since 2015.
Kilduff became involved with the local Republican City Committee around 2013, shortly after graduating magna cum laude from Central Connecticut State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology. He said he had always been interested in politics, both national and local issues. He was working in ESPN’s statistics department when he was asked if he was interested in the position of tax collector. He has since obtained his CCMC certification (Certified Connecticut Municipal Collector).
“ESPN was a great job and I loved it, but I was looking for a day job and a chance to serve the community I grew up in,” he said. “I am pleased to offer my services to the constituents of the city and look forward to taking on this next challenge.”
Kilduff said he has worked closely with Mayor David Merchant for the past five years. He said Merchant’s administration had many successes and he looked forward to “continuing the positive momentum.”
Kilduff said he was pleased with this year’s slate of Republican candidates, which he said is a “good mix of experienced and new faces.”
“Everyone who comes forward is involved in the city on some level, but some will be new to the political scene,” he said. “I think it’s important to have that balance. We have people in town who sit on several boards and commissions and we need to bring in some new blood so that when people retire they can pick up the ball and run with it.
Some of the issues Kilduff hopes to solve if elected mayor are repairing local roads and sports fields and securing funding for a new police station. Merchant worked with local lawmakers to try to secure funding for a new, modern station because the current station is too small to meet the needs of local agents.
“Anyone who has passed through our police station knows this is an issue we need to address,” he said. “Mayor Merchant and our local legislators have worked tirelessly to get things done. Our police deserve a place where they can do their job safely and efficiently and that is something they currently do not have.
Overall, Kilduff said he wants to be a mayor who comes up with plans to use the resources available to the city wisely without affecting the tax rate negatively.
“There are a lot of things that we need to do and we need to start prioritizing those things and weeding out the list,” he said. “The number one issue when you go to talk to citizens is the state of the roads, which is not a problem unique to Plymouth. This is something I will talk about a lot during the campaign.
While working on these projects, Kilduff wants to ensure that Plymouth retains its “small town feel”.
“I grew up here and although I went to college, this has always been my hometown,” he said. “I grew up in city sports programs with great coaches and a great atmosphere. My wife and I just had our first baby in December and we want to put down our roots here. One thing that stood out to me about our city was our volunteers. Members of our fire department and our ambulance corps are always ready to go the extra mile. Our police officers are also very involved in our community, volunteering their time off for things like backpacking. Plymouth is a great community, but I want to raise the bar even higher.
While adjusting to being a new dad, Kilduff said he enjoys getting out and enjoying some of the city’s “great parks”.
“I love walking at Lake Winfield,” he said. “We have some really great parks and I want to make sure they continue to be looked after and properly cared for.”
Kilduff said he wanted voters to know he grew up in the city and has no plans to go anywhere else.
“I live in the community, I want to see progress, and I want to move forward without losing our small-town feel,” he said. “I plan to meet the challenges head on and look forward to speaking with voters during my campaign in the months ahead.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or [email protected]