Meet the Republican Candidate: Kevin Cleary
Meet the Republican Candidate: Kevin Cleary ~ By Wendy Mitchell
To locals, Cleary is a familiar name. That is because the Cleary family has had roots in Bethel since 1874, according to the Republican candidate for First Selectman, Kevin Cleary.
“My Great-grandparents are both from County Claire in Ireland, Katherine Quealy and John Cleary. They met in Bethel and married at St. Mary’s Church in 1887,” Cleary said.
Standing on the steps of Town Hall, Cleary spoke about his strong roots in the community. He attended 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades at Grassy Plain School, attended school from 7th-12th grade at Town Hall and was the last graduating class of Bethel High School when it was at the Town Hall in 1969. That, coupled with his love of Bethel and experience in town government, made him a natural choice for endorsement by the Bethel Republican Town Committee (RTC) on June 22.
Cleary served on the Board of Finance for eight years and was the chairman for three years. He was also a selectman under the former First Selectman Robert Burke. Current Selectman Paul Szatkowski was endorsed by the RTC as Cleary’s running mate. The two worked together as selectmen under Burke.
Future plans Cleary has for the town if he is elected include working on bringing more businesses to town, working on the “economic environment” and making the library more of a community center. He also has a strong desire to bring more arts into the town and to use the facilities the Municipal Center already has in place to facilitate growth in the creative community that is already established in Bethel.
Cleary is currently on the Board of Directors and Board of Finance at St. Mary’s Church, is involved with the alumni association for Bethel High School and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.
If he is elected as First Selectman in the fall, Cleary said he aims to work together with both parties for the good of the town.
“Parties don’t mean as much to me as what is right for the town. I’m a facilitator and I think it is so important that we ‘Think Bethel First.’”
Kevin Cleary will speak on the Bethel GOP’s “Eye on Bethel” cable TV show, which is hosted by Paul Szatkowski. Cleary will discuss his Bethel history and his candidacy for First Selectman. The show can be viewed on Comcast Community Access Channel 23 on July 13 at 7:30 p.m. and July 14 at 11:30 a.m. The show will be rebroadcast on July 20th at 7:30 p.m. and July 21st at 11:30 a.m.
The Republican Party’s official caucus to elect a candidate for First Selectman is on Monday, July 25 at 7:00 p.m. at the Bethel Middle School.
For more information on the Republican Town Committee visit their website, www.bethelrepublicans.org.