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Intrepid first-grade reporter gets scoop on Laytonsville mayor’s plans

by Judith Hruz


Laytonsville Mayor Jim Ruspi will not seek re-election when his term expires in the spring.

Ruspi made the official announcement during the Nov. 1 meeting of the Laytonsville Town Council, but he first broke the news when a first-grader from Laytonsville Elementary School asked the mayor about his political plans during a visit to Town Hall on Oct. 25.

Ruspi said he loves when the students visit Town Hall, which has become an annual event, except for the past two years during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is such a joy to have them come,” he said, adding the 54 students got a history lesson and then spent time asking him questions.

Most of the questions were what anyone might expect.

Then came the zinger: “Are you going to run again for mayor?”

Ruspi said he had wanted to wait on making the announcement but could not lie or even evade the answer.

“No, I am not running for mayor again next year,” he told the youngster.

Ruspi was first elected mayor of Laytonsville in 2016, filling the vacancy created when former Mayor Dan Prats moved to Connecticut that year.

Ruspi was appointed as the town’s interim mayor on Aug. 2, 2016, and officially elected the next month to serve the remainder of Prats’ term, which would have expired in May 2017. He was elected for his first full two-year term in 2017 and has won re-election every two years since then.

But this will be his last term, he said, and the upside of having the news out earlier than he had planned is that others can decide if they might run for mayor.

    “It will give everyone a chance to decide on their role in Laytonsville,” he said.

Ruspi suffers from a degenerative vision condition that has left him legally blind. His vision has gradually deteriorated over the years, forcing him to stop driving over 20 years ago.

After his initial reservation to accept the mayor’s seat in 2016, his can-do attitude and the encouragement of his wife, Jill, propelled him to give it a try.

Despite some health challenges late last year and in recent months, Ruspi has forged ahead, continued his duties and drawn praise from his Town Council members.

Councilman Tom Burke said he and fellow council members are “tremendously impressed” at how Ruspi has continued to serve.

“We’re very grateful you came back the way you did,” he said.


Other Laytonsville News


The Laytonsville Lions Club is moving ahead with plans to build a community center.

President Jim Flood told the Laytonsville Town Council that plans are back on track and although costs for the project could be higher than $4 million, “We know we’re going to do it.”

The Lions Club has some $250,000 in seed money in hand.

He said the community center would be “a great option for the town” and be designed to keep the small-town feel.

Plans call for it to be 10,000 square feet, with quiet rooms, meeting rooms, a gymnasium area that could be used as a wedding venue and “a country look that will fit in with the area.” The club would also like to include a commercial kitchen.


Tree Lighting set for Dec. 2


The annual Laytonsville Tree Lighting will be held Dec. 2 at Town Hall.

Mayor Jim Ruspi said last year’s event drew the biggest turnout and he welcomes and encourages the community to attend.

Sponsored by the Laytonsville Lions Club, the lighting will begin about 6:30 p.m.

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