ST. ALBANS TOWN – St. Albans Town selectperson Stan Dukas has decided he will not be running for reelection in March, instead endorsing former educator Bryan DesLauriers to run in his place.
A joint statement from DesLauriers, Dukas and the St. Albans Town selectboard’s chair Brendan Deso released Wednesday announced both DesLauriers’s plans to run in 2021 and Dukas’s endorsement.
Within the same statement, Deso announced his own plans to seek reelection and likewise endorsed DesLauriers’s campaign for the selectboard.
An outgoing selectperson
Reached by phone Thursday morning, Dukas said he felt that, considering his age, it was better for a younger resident of St. Albans Town to have his seat on the selectboard.
“I’m 78 right now… and by the time the election comes around I’ll be almost 79,” Dukas said. “I think this position should be a little bit younger than me, not that I don’t think older people can’t do the job.”
Dukas, who originally joined the selectboard in 2014 amid some controversy around the end of the first term of the town’s contract with the St. Albans Police Department, said he felt good about where St. Albans Town is as his tenure on the board comes to a close.
During his interview with the Messenger, Dukas cited, in particular the recent construction of a new public works garage and progress toward building a new town hall in St. Albans Bay. “I feel good. I helped some of this along,” Dukas said. “I feel accomplished.”
In lieu of a run for selectboard, Dukas said he planned to instead run for town agent, a largely symbolic role Dukas said will still likely see him involved with the town in some way.
“It would probably give them an opportunity to ask me questions about things that’ve happened in the past,” Dukas said. “I would gladly help them.”
Deso, in his joint statement with DesLauriers and Dukas, seemed supportive of having Dukas serve in some advisory role.
“To have Stanley as a town agent would be a symbolic and transparent representation of what will certainly be our reality,” Deso wrote. “I’m positive that Stan will continue to be sought for advice on Town business, at least by myself and Bryan DesLauriers.”
While Dukas, a self-described fiscal conservative, and Deso often sparred politically during selectboard meetings, Deso had only positive words for his outgoing counterpart Wednesday.
“Stanley is an asset to our community and I’ll sorely miss working with him on the selectboard,” Deso said in a statement.
A newcomer to town politics
In his joint statement with Deso and Dukas, DesLauriers is described as a relative newcomer to St. Albans Town running to “help sustain and build on the momentum the town is witnessing.”
A former recreation commissioner and justice of the peace in St. Albans City before moving to St. Albans Town last year, DesLauriers mentions improving relations with St. Albans City as well as improving the town’s two parks and its town forest in his campaign announcement.
“I’m running because I’m excited to see the town working to improve relations with the city [and] to improve our parks and the town forest,” he wrote.
“I’m really thrilled as a lifelong resident of St. Albans to see the selectboard working to address longstanding issues as big as building a new public works facility and a new town hall, and as small as finally addressing issues on roads like French Hill Road,” he added.
“The selectboard is moving forward with common sense-oriented solutions to issues we’ve been discussing for decades,” DesLauriers concluded, “and I’d be honored to be a part of these efforts.”
DesLauriers, previously a teacher at both the Fairfield Center School and St. Albans Town Educational Center, currently works as a personal financial advisor and is on the town’s November ballot to serve as a justice of the peace in St. Albans Town.
Dukas, while speaking with the Messenger, said he was impressed with DesLauriers, having known DesLauriers through his family’s involvement with the school. “He has a lot of life experience, both as a teacher and now as a financial advisor,” Dukas said. “He said he would do his homework.”
Alongside Dukas, Deso has also endorsed DesLauriers in the latter’s run for St. Albans Town selectboard.