After announcing his candidacy in late February and defeating Paul Giusti in the Republican Caucus July 19 by a vote of 1,313-907, Rob Mallozzi became the Republican candidate for First Selectman and eventually won an uncontested race in November.

The primary, which included two debates and two early voting dates, had a record number of more than 2,200 Republicans hitting the polls. While a frontrunner never emerged during the campaigns, Mallozzi said he was more comfortable during the last few days of the race.

"I will tell you that I felt extremely comfortable the last three or four days going into the election," Mallozzi said. "I was just getting a feeling from the way people were approaching me and kind of looking at the faces that had come to those first two voting events that I was in really good shape."

During the debates in July, Giusti and Mallozzi touched on many topics but most of them had to do with fiscal responsibility.

Regarding debt and the budget process, the two candidates discussed the past and future. Giusti focused on changes brought about over the past few years which he believes has improved the process.

More Information

Fact box

Additionally, Giusti discussed how those changes transformed the budget discussions into ongoing project rather than a once-a-year endeavor after learning from the example of the Board of Education.

While Mallozzi agreed with many of these adjustments, he still believes more partnership during the actual approval process, among other things, would be helpful.

"I think it would be nice to get the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance in the same room and here some of the budget presentations at the same time so we can ask and feed off of other people's ideas when we ask questions of the department managers," Mallozzi said.

When it came to the sensitive issue of collective bargaining agreements and unions, Mallozzi called it an issue "near and dear to (his) heart." He discussed how New Canaan is in the middle of arbitration with two public safety unions for the first time in the town's history.

"We need to rebuild relations with those folks. We'll have to jump start the whole process. But we must understand there is a new world out there," Mallozzi said. "We need to have a respectful dialogue with our unions and believe it or not, I'm very close to some of these folks, they recognize it also. This is a new world."