December 15, 2019

Essex Republicans Expected to Nominate Bruce Macmillian for First Selectman with Joel Marzi as Running-Mate

ESSEX— The Essex Republican Town Committee is recommending Bruce MacMillian, a former business executive and member of the Essex Housing Authority, as the party’s candidate for first selectman. Incumbent Selectman Joel Marzi is seeking a second term as his running-mate for board of selectmen in the Nov. 8 town election.

The MacMillian-Marzi ticket will be presented to town Republicans for approval at the party’s 2011 nominating caucus set for Wednesday July 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at the town hall.

MacMillian was presented to the town committee Wednesday as the party’s prospective nominee for the open first selectman seat. MacMillian and one other prospective candidate, former U.S. Coast Guard officer Leigh Rankin, were interviewed in recent weeks by the panel’s nominating committee that was chaired by Terry Stewart, a former chairman of the Region 4 Board of Education. Marzi, who lost to departing Democratic First Selectman Phil Miller by about 400 votes in 2009, had declined a second run for the top spot, choosing instead to seek another term as selectman.

Rankin, who lives in the town’s Centerbrook section, indicated in remarks to the committee that she would accept the nominating committee decision, and not contest MacMillian for the first selectman nomination. Rankin a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, said she would focus on gaining additional experience in town government by serving as an appointed member of the park and recreation commission and water pollution control authority/sanitary waste commission.

MacMillian, 64, is a former executive with the Traveler’s Insurance Company who later founded two smaller companies. He has lived in Essex since 1986. MacMillian was appointed to the Essex Housing Authority by Miller in 2004, serving as vice-chairman and implementing the decision to hire a private management company to run the 36-unit elderly housing complex in the Centerbrook section. MacMillian said he would devote full time to the job of first selectman if elected, and “be at town hall every day.”

Stewart said MacMillian stepped forward as a prospective candidate for first selectman soon after the May 9 annual budget meeting, where a proposed town government budget was defeated by voters for the first time in decades. A reduced budget was later approved in a June 7 referendum.

Other candidates recommended to the July 20 caucus include Keith Crehan and Jeff Wood, both incumbents, for new terms on the board of finance, Judy McCann, a children’s librarian, for a full six-year term on the local board of education, and Adam Conrad for a two-year term on the local board of education. Stewart said the nominating committee is recommending a cross-endorsement of incumbent Democrat Christopher Riley for the Region 4 Board of Education.