Meet Tim

A proven reformer and Hartford outsider, Tim Herbst has spent the last eight years as Trumbull’s First Selectman leading a remarkable turnaround. Tim brought Trumbull from a town on the brink of financial ruin to one of the most prosperous, well-managed municipalities in the state. Tim is uniquely positioned to stop the job-crushing, tax-hiking agenda of insiders in Hartford. Tim represents a new generation of leaders for Connecticut. He will take his proven record of reform and fearless outsider perspective to Hartford and end business-as-usual under the Gold Dome.

Elected the youngest first selectman in town history at age 29, Tim led by example. He refused a town pension and reduced the number of political appointees who were pension eligible. All new hires entered a defined contribution plan and health care contributions were increased across the board for all appointees, starting with the first selectman.

The success Tim achieved in Trumbull started with leading by example — something sorely lacking from insiders in Hartford. That’s why as a candidate, Tim has introduced a “Lead-By-Example Pledge,” and is the only candidate for governor to pledge to:

  • Refuse to take a state pension as governor
  • Move all state agency heads, political appointees and their staff to a defined contribution plan and off the state pension system
  • Demand an end to state pensions for part-time citizen legislators in the General Assembly
  • Refuse to accept any political contributions from Hartford lobbyists

Record of Reform

As a chief executive, Tim led a remarkable turnaround that has resulted in Trumbull being rated one of the most desirable communities in Connecticut to live, work and raise a family. Trumbull schools have become one of the top ten most in demand school districts in the entire nation.

Upon taking office in 2009, Tim inherited a town with a broken pension system funded at just 27 percent, a town government bloated with patronage and a chronic spending problem. Bond rating agencies had downgraded Trumbull’s credit rating before Tim took office in 2009 and taxes had increased 54% in the eight years preceding his term, with an average tax increase of 6% per year.

Tim took swift action. He make the tough calls to reform the town’s pension and benefits system, working inclusively but forcefully with labor leaders and stakeholders to tackle the root of the problem. Tim reformed town government, made it more efficient and attracted new businesses to town. The local economy has grown each year he has been in office. During Tim’s first 100 days in office, he identified $1 million in operational savings in the town budget.

Trumbull’s pension system is now fully funded every year. There are fewer town employees now than when he took office. Tim balanced eight budgets and delivered two tax cuts. He undertook badly needed capital improvements to modernize nine Trumbull schools, increased technology in classrooms and enhanced school security.

The Connecticut State Department of Education has ranked the Trumbull Public Schools as the number two public school district in the entire state. Every Trumbull elementary, middle, and high school has been cited as a school of distinction these last three years. Student performance on standardized tests in grades 3-8 and high school are impressive as is the data regarding college acceptances.

These results and record of reform have led to Trumbull being ranked nationally by Realtor.com as one of the 10 most desirable communities to live in the United States – – the only Town in Fairfield County to receive this distinction. In 2011, Family Circle Magazine ranked Trumbull the 7th best Town in the nation to raise a family and in 2013, Coldwell Banker ranked Trumbull the Number 1 booming community in Connecticut.

Tim came in as an outsider committed to reform and it worked.

Fighting for the Next Generation

Tim grew up in Trumbull, the son of two public school teachers. Tim attended Trumbull High School where he was class president and played football under legendary Coach Jerry McDougall. His classmates elected him most likely to succeed. Tim was elected to the Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission when he was only 19 years old and was featured in the New York Times in July of 2001. He would serve there for ten years, four as Chairman. Tim graduated with honors from Trinity College, earning a BA in political science. He would go on to earn a law degree from Pace University School of Law, where he was a member of the Pace Environmental Law Review.

The single person who left the largest mark on Tim’s life was his late grandmother. She was a fighter in every sense of the word and lived a very tough life. She lost her father at the age of six to tuberculosis. She and her two brothers were raised by single mother in the south end of Bridgeport during the Great Depression. Their mother could not read or write in English.

Tim’s grandmother left school to go work in the family market to help put her older brother through college. She would later open a family business with her husband and spent years working behind the counter side-by-side with him. Everything she did was an act of perseverance to build a better future for her family, her children and ultimately her nine grandchildren.

Tim remains inspired every day by the memory of his grandmother to fight for a better future for the next generation in Connecticut. Tim will fight to return our state to the kind of place where the grandson of a woman raised by an immigrant single mother can find success and even run for the highest office in the state.