STONINGTON — Democratic Town Committee Chairman Scott Bates announced Tuesday that he will step down and that Tim O’Brien, a member of the Board of Finance, would be the committee's choice as his successor.

Bates, who is deputy secretary of state and chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority, was elected as chairman of the committee in December 2014 and re-elected in 2016 and 2018. Bates said he was asked to run for the when Raymond Trebisacci stepped down to became chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners.

O’Brien, who has served on the Democratic committee since about 2005 and as its treasurer since about 2014, was appointed to the finance board in late 2014 and elected to the board in 2017. He also serves on the Mystic River Boathouse Park Implementation Committee and the Pawcatuck River Harbor Management Commission.

O'Brien is president of a company that makes specialty products for oil, gas and military applications. He and his wife, Abby, moved to Pawcatuck in 2004 and they have three children: Teague, Cade and Keira.

Bates said when he became chairman, the committee had vacancies in its 40-person membership but now has a full complement of elected members plus a number of associate members.

“It’s partly a reflection of the times. People are really engaged in politics and engaged in public service,” he said Tuesday. “We also actively recruited people to join the Democratic Town Committee, to the point now where we have a lot of people who come to the meetings who are not formally elected members and are very active.”

Since he became the chair, several committee members have been elected to town offices, including June Strunk as the first woman to chair the Board of Finance, and Candace Anderson to the Board of Education. Members Chris Donahue, Joe Trelli, Deb Norman and Karen O’Keefe were elected as constables. Committee member Farouk Rajab was also appointed to the Stonington Board of Education.

He also pointed out that Kate Rotella, now a state representative, became the first Democratic selectwoman in Stonington in 2015, and was re-elected two years later.

O’Brien said he planned to continue Bates’ efforts to keep town Democrats energized.

“I think the variety of personalities and backgrounds that we have representing the Democrats in Stonington is a real testament to the lifeblood that we’re enjoying right now of different people bringing good talents to the town committee,” he said.

The committee will meet on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stonington Borough Fire Station to formally elect its new chairman.

chewitt@thewesterlysun.com

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