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Hedrick sworn in to third term as Groton City mayor

Groton — City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick, who was sworn in Monday evening to his third term, gave a speech calling for unity and promoting initiatives in the city.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz administered the oath of office to Hedrick, City Councilors Rashaad Carter, Gweneviere Depot, Lisa McCabe, Richard Norris, Christine Piazza and Stephen Sheffield and City Clerk Megan Peters during a ceremony in the auditorium of the Municipal Building. It was broadcast via Zoom.

Hedrick recognized Deb Patrick, who retired as city clerk after 22 years of service, for her contributions to the city.

During her speech, Bysiewicz thanked everybody who ran in the last election for engaging voters, the newly elected officials for stepping forward to serve, and Hedrick and the councilors for serving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the pandemic has underscored the importance of municipal leadership working with state leadership and the legislative delegation, and “it’s why we are one of the best states in the country to fight COVID.”

Bysiewicz noted the diversity on the council: “Government is at its best when it is inclusive and diverse, and I’m very happy to see that half our councilors are women and half of them are people of color, so you have a council that looks like the City of Groton,” she said. “Congratulations.”

Hedrick, who won the May 3 general election as a write-in candidate after losing a March primary to Town Councilor Aundre Bumgardner, said the past four months have been historic. He said it has been 30 years since the city had a primary against an incumbent mayor, the city never had a write-in candidate, and the only other successful write-in candidacy in Connecticut was the Waterbury mayor who won in 2005. He also pointed out that “there was tremendous voter turnout for both candidates.”

Hedrick thanked his supporters and “the grassroots efforts of the voters” and said, “this election revealed some differences in vision and in the fundamental governance of this city.”

“This election does not have to be one ideology over the other,” he said. “We can embrace green initiatives and still balance the budget through a phased approach and the use of federal and state resources to help us meet goals. I hear the cries for equity and parity in our community. I am committed to the healing of our community to make us stronger and, in the end, I ask for your help in bringing our diverse community together.”

Hedrick congratulated first-time voters and encouraged them to stay involved in the community, whether by joining a board or commission, tutoring or mentoring youths, volunteering at the library or coaching youth sports.

“Be the one who brings unity to our community,” he said. “Let your passion for our neighborhoods bring the City of Groton together. I serve all residents of the City of Groton: those who voted for me, those who voted for my opponent, and those who did not vote.”

Looking ahead, Hedrick said the city will continue COVID-19 protocols, with the municipal building and Groton Utilities being open, many restrictions at Eastern Point Beach being lifted this summer, Concerts in the Park and other events being continued, along with expanding vaccines to all populations. The city also is working on economic development in the Five Corners area and on Thames Street, and continuing community policing and its Police and Community Together Committee. The city also is evaluating sea-level rise and plans to install its second electric car charging station later this year. He also said the city will continue to strengthen its relationship with Electric Boat and Pfizer, with growth projected in the future.

After the swearing-in of the elected officials, Depot, who has been serving as deputy mayor for the past six months after the previous deputy mayor, Jamal Beckford, moved to another part of Groton, was chosen as deputy mayor for the upcoming term.

k.drelich@theday.com

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