Jeff Hogan ran for Farmington Town Council chairman unopposed but still worked hard to gain residents’ support. Of the 4,775 total voters who cast ballots for Tuesday's election, Hogan, a Republican, got 3,152 and will be sworn into the office in January.
With the win in hand, Hogan said he had difficulty sleeping on election night because he was too excited. But it wasn’t just his victory he was celebrating. Hogan was also head of the Republican Town Committee’s screening committee and directed the effort to choose candidates for each office in town. All but one candidate on the Republican slate was elected.
“I was really heartened by the success of really the whole slate, particularly after the time and effort that went into it this time,” he said.
Hogan previously served as vice-chair on the Town Council but hadn’t been on the town committee at the time. When his service on the council ended, he sought leadership there.
“When I got off the council I asked to be named screening chair so I could go out into the community and find people who are connected to the community and fit into these positions.”
This year’s candidates are generally fresh faces with impressive credentials.
“We felt we could bring people into our slate that aren’t political but are technically proficient in doing the task,” he said.
An example is the Town Plan and Zoning Commission, which saw longtime chairman Skip Pogson, a farmer who owns a construction company, ousted (Pogson was denied the endorsement by the Republican Town Committee and did not win as an independent candidate). Under Hogan’s direction, Don Doeg, an attorney/licensed engineer and James Leblanc, a landscape architect, won seats.
“Having people with legal, engineering, architectural background allows these people to be exact in the way that they examine an application that comes into town… They’re consistent …and also have a vision for what drives peoples to live in town,” Hogan said.
Excellent schools, police, fire, town services and open space are what motivate people to move to town, he said, and newly-elected officials will help stabilize those things in a time of uncertainty.
“Putting the right people in the right positions gives us security…when there’s all kinds of wackiness going on around us, people in the locales really want that. I think we can deliver that with the folks we put in [Tuesday].”
Ensuring Farmington’s quality of life is not diminished means keeping the town’s priorities and the documents that guide them relevant. He’d like to survey the town again for changes in priorities.
“A lot of things have changed in six years. We owe it to the town to go back out and say ‘what are the things that are still important to you? What are your priorities for the town?’ They likely have changed because of economic and demographic changes in town and focus in various areas – like Unionville and the health center area. There may be some very specific things people are interested in that we as policy makers and the chief financial authorities of the town need to be aware of."
The plan of conservation, which he called heady and well done, might also be updated as a result of the survey, Hogan said.
The only change to the new Town Council is the passing of the baton from current Chairman Mike Clark to Hogan. All the other members — four Republicans and two Democrats — remain the same. When that council convenes, Hogan said he plans to push the state to defer revaluation.
The poor economy also presents an opportunity to catch up on capital projects, particularly roads, at discounted prices, Hogan said.
“We’re always behind in this and this storm has really brought this to the fore."
A sad note in Hogan’s plan is stepping down from the Farmington Volunteer Fire Department, where he is assistant chief. He wants to avoid the possible conflict of interest, but, he said “It’s something I’ve always loved.”