Mayor Marcia Leclerc elected to second term
By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Nov. 8, 2013
Marcia Leclerc will return to her seat in the mayor’s office after defeating Republican challenger Jack Jacobs in last week’s election.
Leclerc defeated Jacobs by a vote total of 2,705 to 2,061 to earn her second two-year term. She was sworn into office on Friday, Nov. 8, during a ceremony in the mayor’s office at Town Hall.
Although this is Leclerc’s second elected term as mayor, she has been in the top seat since Jan. 10, 2011, after she was sworn into office to fill the unexpired term of former mayor Melody Currey. With one elected term of experience behind her, Leclerc said she will look to “stay vigilant in keeping my focus on what really is my focus and not be distracted,” as she transitions into her second term.
“Someone said to me, 'How can you tolerate some of what you tolerate?' and I said because I know I’m doing the right thing and being true to myself in knowing that the end product is going to be better for East Hartford – that’s important,” said Leclerc. “I look back over my term and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” she said. “We had over 40 new or expanded businesses in the town [during] that two years and we’re reshaping what we’re doing and where we’re going.”
Leclerc has also reshaped how business is done by replacing almost all of her directors during her first term and, “getting those that are better equipped to handle the challenges and to carry out my vision for the town of East Hartford,” she said. She also completed a re-evaluation of property values in town that resulted in a slight decline in taxes for some residents and, “about 40 percent that saw in some cases significant increases in their property values,” said Leclerc.
“When you have a fluctuating economy, of course it’s a difficult thing sometimes for a seated mayor to go through,” said Leclerc.
She also addressed the aesthetics of town and implemented the benches, bike racks and barrels project. “As a new mayor and someone that really takes pride in our property and painting a new face on East Hartford, putting out best face forward was absolute in addressing and bringing in new development into our community.”
New development is a priority for Leclerc as she begins her second term, and she remains committed to attracting new business to town. “I’ve met with every major developer,” said Leclerc. “We still have significant hurdles in the town of East Hartford to get over and we need to bring the people to the right place.”
The mayor said one major hurdle facing the town is the fact that East Hartford has “limited to no raw land to develop,” so instead she is exploring the possibility of, “redevelopment and development of private property to work hand-in-hand to help facilitate growing our grand list.”
One potential new business considering East Hartford is a medical marijuana production and dispensary facility. The Planning and Zoning Commission is working on draft regulations to address the possibility of such a facility. Leclerc said the production and dispensing of medical marijuana is “strict” and “very closely regulated” and that she would have no problem with that type of production in the town of East Hartford.
“It will be run as if it were a pharmaceutical company,” said Leclerc, “very tightly regulated by the State of Connecticut, and so from that perspective it’s no different than welcoming a pharmaceutical company into your community.”
Leclerc said Gov. Dannel Malloy has been a huge supporter of East Hartford and “has really made a difference in our community.”
One project that the governor’s office is supporting is the reconstruction of the Burnside Avenue area from Main Street to Manchester. Leclerc said the road will be reconfigured from two lanes into one lane and “bump outs” for buses will be added. There are also plans for areas for bike safety and pedestrian safety. Leclerc said work is scheduled to begin in the spring.
She is also asking the governor's office to look at Main Street and Silver Lane and, “where they can, they are providing us funding so that we can get the infrastructure issues in our community under control,” said Leclerc.
Another agenda item for the beginning of her second term is finding a new police chief. Leclerc said that Mark Sirois, the current police chief submitted a letter of resignation effective Dec. 31, 2013. “That’s a top priority to ensure that the person we place in there carries forward the vision and protection and the quality of life that we want here in the town of East Hartford,” said Leclerc.