Sunday, November 28, 2021

Local News

Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. Unoppsed for Third Full Term as First Selectman

Democrat Angus McDonald, Jr., is seeking a third full term as first selectman of Deep River in the upcoming Nov. 2 municipal election. He is unopposed. He served as interim first selectman after the death of Democrat First Selectman Richard Smith in 2016.

McDonald is co-owner of a land surveying company based in Old Saybrook. He also is co-owner of the Lace Factory, a wedding venue near Deep River Landing. He moved to Deep River from Westbrook in 2005.

“I love being in Deep River,” said McDonald in a phone interview. “We came here 17 or 18 years ago now…[and] over that time, it’s just [been] such an honor for me to be able to serve the town in this capacity.

“I’m just really grateful to the community to allow me to continue that role and to continue to serve the town. That’s really what my job is—service to the town—and that’s what I’m trying to do as well as I can,” he continued.

Infrastructure-related improvements for the Fire Department provides an example of a project that he would like to see completed as first selectman.

“We have got projects like the Fire Department, the new Fire House, that needs to be completed or at least brought to the town and that has been ongoing for 15 years, maybe more, and I’d like to get that done,” he said.

McDonald has also been working on a project to upgrade the energy efficiency for all municipal buildings.

“We’re continuing with that and we’re finding not only is it the right thing to do environmentally, but we are seeing some savings,” he said.

He also is now contracting with a firm to implement a geographic information system (GIS) in the Land Use Department, using grant funds provided by the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP).

“We’ll have GIS implemented [over] a six month [timeframe],” said McDonald. “…So, that’ll be a big assistance to the public, the updating of the computer system technology in Deep River.”

Another project is working with the town’s Sustainable CT committee, to help implement and document various environmentally and socially conscious activities, potentially including a food scrap recycling program at the landfill.

McDonald said managing the town during the COVID-19 pandemic was a “remarkable experience.”

“I’m proud of how Deep River handled it thus far,” said McDonald. “Our cases were very low. Our vaccination rates were very high. It certainly was a difficult time to try and keep up with what was happening.”

He pointed to the efforts of volunteers in town at the height of the pandemic in 2020, especially helping at the food pantry and supporting students at the elementary school who were learning remotely for parts of the school years in 2020 and 2021.

“The needs increased, and the Community Health Committee stepped up and answered all of the needs that I’m aware of,” said McDonald. “What we need to do as we move forward is to just increase awareness that the pantry and Community Health Committee and our Social Services are here and we’re here to help.”

McDonald said that the town’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act grant funding will help the town recover from the pandemic, although it is already in solid fiscal condition.

“The town is in good shape,” said McDonald. “We’re going to be in better shape as we continue to move forward.

“We don’t aspire to be Chester. We don’t aspire to be Essex. We are Deep River and we are proud of who we are. We’re happy with who we are and there is plenty of room to grow and we’ll grow at our rate and be a better Deep River,” he said.


Elizabeth Reinhart covers news for Chester, Deep River, and Essex for Zip06. Email Elizabeth at e.reinhart@shorepublishing.com.

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