Incumbent Democrat Peggy Lyons Seeks Re-election to First Selectman Seat
Peggy Lyons was elected Madison’s first selectman in 2019. She has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to moving to Madison, Lyons spent more than seventeen years working in various roles in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning for several global companies. This included eleven years in New York and London at major investment banks Merrill Lynch and UBS, and more recently, executive positions at Deloitte and GE.
Since making Madison her home in 2007, she has been a volunteer in many community and town government positions, an active school mom with two kids in the Madison Public schools, and has served on Madison’s Police Commission, Board of Finance, and Economic Development Commission.
Why Lyons is running:
“I ran two years ago on a message of progress and change in Madison and I want to continue to carry that forward for another two years. I want to continue on with different policies and vision that I brought to the office two years ago and I want to also guide the town further in its post-COVID recovery.
“During my term, my mission went from a change maker to a crisis leader. By that, I mean we could not think long-term, we had to think day-to-day. The basic way government functioned had to be re-thought: How do people pay their taxes, how do you help a senior apply for a benefit, how do we get residents access to our amenities, how do you do inspections, just paying bills? So many things had to really be thought through in a different way to protect the staff and protect the public. That required a lot of thought and leadership.
“The community looked to us to guide them through that and make good decisions, so we worked through and worked up good processes and great communication to provide these essentials to the community. I think this reflects well on my ability to manage. I think we did well in serving the community and getting the town through it while still ensuring that town government was functioning properly.
“It also allows me to put things in perspective. When you go through these life-and-death type of crises, it allows you to not get too bogged down into the minutiae and instead focus on simply what is needed.”
Why residents should consider voting Democrat:
“We have gotten a tremendous amount done despite the pandemic. I would put my record up against my predecessor [Republican Tom Banisch], who had the job for four years. I have accomplished significantly more than my predecessor all while going through a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic. We have moved forward on a number of things in terms of initiatives, whether its engaging citizens in more decision making in town, the different committees we have set up, affordable housing, the ethics committee, charter review—these are all things that had been talked about but never really happened and now they are.
“We merged Beach & Recreation with Senior Services, so we reorganized one of the key departments that serves the community in order to make it more effective and I think that is a huge win. I also cleaned up the situation at the beaches in order to make it a better at the beach pass system and got the state to deliver on their end to help with the Hammonasset situation. We also completed a town-wide facilities study, which is incredibly important for our future.
“I have also gotten the dog park done, which had been talked about for 10 years. I have actually gotten quite a bit done. All the things that I talked about during my original campaign we have actually made significant progress on. I was the only first selectman in the town’s history to lead through a double catastrophe, COVID and storm Isaias, which had a devastating effect on many residents here in town. I am very proud of what we accomplished. I would compare it hands down to any other administration in the last 25 years, in terms of what we’ve done, especially considering the circumstances.
“My priority is to continue to protect and preserve those assets that make Madison so special. If residents want to continue to see progress, I have a record of accomplishments and I want to keep getting things done.”
The biggest challenges:
“First, getting through these three referendums (Academy, Island Avenue School, and the School Renewal plans). They are critical to our long-term plan.
“I think affordable housing is important, and it’s really not just affordable but ‘housing’ in general, looking at our housing market and what we want to see here and how can we help people stay here. We need to balance between adapting and changing but also preserving what we love about our community.
“Protecting our shoreline and coordinating with the Coastal Resiliency Commission is also a looming issue. I have actually put some plans and ideas into our capital process, this is a top priority that we can’t let fall off the radar. We have to recognize that there are some problems with climate change and we need to start planning for that.”