Scarpati announces intention to run again for Meriden Mayor

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MERIDEN — Mayor Kevin Scarpati will seek a fifth term in that role in the November election. 

Scarpati confirmed as much with WTNH newscaster Dennis House during an interview the news station aired over the weekend. 

Leading into the interview, House introduced Scarpati as a mayor who “wants to stay above the fray” during a time in which statewide and national politics has been characterized by bitter partisan battles.

The politically unaffiliated Scarpati was first elected mayor in 2015, when he defeated then-incumbent Republican Mayor Manny Santos. Prior to Scarpati’s mayoral victory, he served a term on the City Council, and before that a term on the Board of Education. 

Scarpati told House that being an unaffiliated candidate allows one to “be true to yourself and your values. That’s what I’ve done.”

Scarpati’s announcement comes several months before the city’s political town committees are scheduled to endorse their slate of candidates in the November race, in which voters will determine the next mayor, as well as the makeup of the City Council and Board of Education. City councilors and the board members serve four-year terms, with elections staggered every two years, representing about half of each body’s total seats. 

Scarpati, reached by the Record-Journal on Wednesday, reflected on his tenure in public office, stating, “the only way you can move forward is to also look back — at what we’ve done successfully and not.”

Scarpati noted there had been a lot of change during his tenure, including a new city manager as well as new department heads. 

“All of them I’ve learned something from and many of them have been mentors along the way,” Scarpati said, adding that it’s been a privilege to work with people who are experts in their fields and to work with other municipal leaders in communities outside of Meriden. 

Scarpati said his priority is to continue Meriden’s momentum building upon its economic redevelopment efforts, including growing existing businesses and attracting new ones. 

“That needs to be a priority,” he said. 

The mayor noted the city had focused on housing over the past decade. Now the city needs to refocus those efforts. In addition to economic development, Scarpati discussed the ongoing senior center review and Board of Education funding and education as areas that will continue to be priorities for him. 

Another area is public safety. Both the Emergency Communications Center and Fire Department, for example, have experienced increased overtime expenses. The Emergency Communications Center’s staffing challenges have been ongoing for several years now. 

“We need to invest some time, money, and data in determining what the future of public safety looks like in Meriden,” Scarpati said. “It’s glaring what happened over the last several years in the Emergency Communications Center.” However, the recently revealed overtime increases in the Fire Department require a closer look at staffing challenges there, the mayor said. 

Elain Cariati, chairwoman of the Meriden Republican Town Committee, said she was “shocked” by Scarpati’s announcement this week, “because it’s extremely early.” In 2021, Scarpati defeated Cariati en route to his fourth term as mayor. 

The RTC has just put together its election committee, which will be tasked with reviewing voter rolls and interviewing potential nominees for elected office. 

“I want to make sure I can get the best candidates for this election,” Cariati said. 

Cariati said even though Scarpati is unaffiliated “on paper,” the mayor has “never endorsed a Republican. So I’d like to know who he’s working with — because he’s never come to us. As far as I know, he’s only shown he’s on the Democratic side.”

Meriden Democratic Town Chairwoman Mildred Torres-Ferguson similarly indicated her party is following a deliberate process to nominate candidates for the upcoming election. Torres-Ferguson indicated she previously was made aware of Scarpati’s intention to run again, but did not say whether he would receive the party’s endorsement in July, when the party holds its endorsement caucus. 

Torres-Ferguson said she couldn’t speak for Republicans, but described Scarpati as someone who has “done a good job” during his time in elected office. “He’s been fair. He’s been someone who is very approachable. There haven’t been any issues,” Torres-Ferguson said. 

Torres-Ferguson said while there have been some disagreements policy wise over the course of the last term, those disagreements were approached amicably. “Even when we disagree, we can just agree to disagree,” she said. 



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