For the first time in many years, Granby will have multiple contested races in the local election.
Indeed, five local Democrats this year are vying for five seats on municipal boards - three for the Board of Education, one for the Board of Finance and, most visibly, one for first selectman.
Jim Lofink is the the Democratic candidate for first selectman, the top post on the Board of Selectmen. In an interview on Tuesday, Lofink said that he felt the pull of civic duty to run for the post, which is open after Republican John Adams announced that he was not running for re-election after serving 10 years as first selectman.
“I gave it some measured thought, and once I committed, I’m in for a penny, in for a couple hundred pounds,” Lofink quipped. “It will be a challenge.”
Lofink will face off against Republican Scott Kuhnly, who is currently serving on the board of selectmen.
“John Adams served the town well,” Lofink said. “He was very capable and nonpartisan. He’s a great leader and it was reflected in the people’s support for him was widespread. Now we’re in transition, there are two good choices.”
Lofink said that, whatever the outcome, the contested election will be good for the town.
Specifically, Lofink said that in terms of registered voters, Republicans and Democrats are relatively close in number in town - with unaffiliated voters being the largest group.
But despite the relatively even split, the four most recent local elections have featured a combined three contested races: one each in 2005 (a school board seat), 2007 (a planning and zoning commission seat) and 2009 (a school board seat) and none in 2011.
Lofink said that the town has been well-run and blessed with great volunteers and staff, everyone will benefit.
“By having contested elections and people volunteering to run, that will get voters re-engaged in the process,” Lofink said. “Hopefully we get some energy out of the voter base. Whatever the outcome [of the election], it will be good for Granby.”
Lofink was endorsed by the Granby Democratic Town Committee in July. He’s no stranger to community service, having served as the chairman of the Storage and Wash Bay Study Committee in 2007. He then served on the Town Charter Revision Commission and is currently on the Athletic Field Building Committee.
In addition, he joined Granby’s Holcomb Farm Board in 2007 and shortly thereafter became the farm’s executive director, leading the non-profit for three years. He currently serves as Holcomb Farm treasurer and on the Stewardship Committee that helps the town to maintain and improve the farm.
While he is quick to compliment Kuhnly, stating that Kuhnly has been “a great asset to the town,” Lofink said that he believes that his leadership experience sets him apart from his Republican counterpart.“Let the people of Granby decide,” Lofink said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get out [among the people] and create a discussion of what the needs of Granby are for the future. Absent the competition, you don’t have as robust a discussion about what’s important.”