DRACUT -- Running for selectman for the third time, Ted Kosiavelon is hoping his recent, highly successful "No $2.9 million override" campaign will prove to be the charm that vaults him onto the board.
Kosiavelon, 61, a lifelong Dracut resident and owner of Ted's Construction & Sons remodeling company for 42 years, has pulled nomination papers to enter the selectman's race.
Besides spearheading last fall's campaign against the override, in which "no" voters trounced "yes" voters by a 3 to 1 ratio, Kosiavelon has served on the Cable-TV Advisory Committee for two years. He is aiming to win election to one of two seats on the Board of Selectmen currently occupied by incumbents Bob Cox and John Zimini, both of whom have indicated they plan to run again.
"I received 1,842 votes the last time I ran (in 2011) from my core voters. If I can get about 400 more votes this time, it should be enough to get elected as a selectman," Kosiavelon said. "The two incumbents have been in office for nine years. It's time for a fresh new face."
Having successfully balanced the books of his business for 42 years, Kosiavelon will bring that same mindset of fiscal responsibility to handling the town's budget as well, he said.
"This campaign will be about responsible spending," Kosiavelon said. "We've got a new police station, a new library, new Town Hall and new high school -- a beautiful building and much needed, but take it from me, I've been in the (construction) business for quite a few years, they just left a few small walls up to call it a 'renovation.'
"But it's time now to stop and look at what we have, and stop spending, and take a good look at where we're at as far as our budget," Kosiavelon said.
In Kosiavelon's first try for selectman in 2008, he spent "about $8,000 of my own money" on the campaign and received 1,642 votes. In 2011, he received 200 more votes, despite having spent only about $2,200, or a quarter as much, he said. This time, Kosiavelon has set a campaign budget ceiling of $3,000 and believes he can win with that, fueled largely by positive name recognition earned in the anti-override campaign last fall.
"I'll always work within the budget and think about the taxpayer first. I will never vote against the taxpayer," Kosiavelon said in an interview at his 54 Vermont Ave. home on Friday.
"Dracut is a great town to live in because we have a great tax base, but 65 percent of that money goes to the school system, which leaves only 35 percent for the rest of the town departments to run on," he added. "So we have to live within our budget. If we don't that would be irresponsible spending, to me."
Kosiavelon said he plans to reach out to the town's voters through phone calls, a mailer, and a campaign website, but not door-to-door campaigning.
"To me, door-to-door campaigning is very invasive," Kosiavelon said. "You need to show some courtesy. I don't want to spook somebody at their own home."
As of Friday, Cox had picked up nomination papers to seek re-election to the Board of Selectmen; Zimini had not yet done so, according to the Town Clerk's office. The filing deadline for candidates to place their names on the spring ballot is March 17.
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