STONINGTON – One of Connecticut’s most experienced public servants is retiring.
Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons confirmed Thursday night that he would not be seeking a third term. The selectman’s position is only the most recent public post for Simmons, who served in the United States Army, in the CIA, as a U.S. Senate staffer, for a decade in the Connecticut General Assembly, and for three terms as a U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District, among various other positions in Stonington and with the state.
Simmons lost his congressional seat to Rep. Joe Courtney by just 83 votes in 2006. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2010, but lost the nomination to Linda McMahon. He was elected First Selectman in 2015.
On Friday the 76-year-old Republican told FOX61 that he had planned for this to be his last term. “It’s better to get out when you’re healthy and you can turn it over to good people.” Simmons says when he asked John Prue to run with him for Board of Selectman in 2017, he planned for Prue “to prepare to take up the flag.” Prue was nominated to run by the Republican Town Committee last night.
Simmons said the issues that prompted him to run ‘have been resolved. We’ve solved some personnel issues in the town hall, we’re growing the grand list. It’s time for new blood.”
Even as the selectman of the small shoreline town on the Rhode Island border, Simmons was active in high-level politics. He said on Tuesday he was in the Oval Office, talking to President Trump about fisherman’s rights and wind farms buying up areas of seabed.
Asked if this was a bona fide retirement, Simmons said “Well a lot of people say I should be a Walmart greeter, because everybody knows me. But my wife has a ‘Honey-Do’ list, and I’ve got a lot of yardwork.”