A True Leader, Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo Reflects on His Time in City Hall
On Tuesday November 2, 2021 the residents of Danbury voted to make Dean Esposito their next Mayor.
Dean joins a long and distinguished group of Mayors that have done the Hat City proud. With Esposito moving in, Joe Cavo will be moving out of office and he does it happily as a newly elected City councilman.
Cavo is not new to City Council, he spent years there prior to becoming Mayor. He took over as Mayor for Mark Boughton who exited in the middle of his term to accept a State appointment from CT Governor Ned Lamont.
Cavo stepped up to fulfill his duty as the City charter dictates and he did so in a time of crisis. Joe rose to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and kept Danbury steady in a time of great instability.
Before election season, Cavo decided against running to seek the Mayor's office again, instead endorsing his Chief of Staff Dean Esposito. On Tuesday when Esposito was elected Mayor, Cavo was elected to City council.
I spoke with Cavo on Wednesday (11/3/21) and asked him to reflect on his time as Mayor and to look forward to his future on the City Council. First I wanted to know what would he remember the most from his time in City Hall, he said:
"I think two major things marked my time here. Taking over as the Mayor during the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic was probably the most notable. The logistics of the upcoming vaccine roll-out, coupled with doing anything and everything to keep businesses open and getting our kids back to some sort of a normal life was a daily struggle.
I often say when we were attacked on 9/11, this country united in a way I've never seen in all my many years of life on Earth. Other generations had seen that type of unity from the Revolutionary War through WWII. Korea and Vietnam were divisive, as was this pandemic.
I wish we could unite as a people and help those struggling with pandemic issues, rather than fight over them. Danbury had almost 200 dead from this pandemic and thousands sick.
We're not out of the woods yet, but we are gaining on it. Our Health Department, Health Director Kara Prunty, our Fire, Police, EMS all did incredible work, they are true heroes. Former Mayor Mark was a hero too, his leadership and decisions related to Covid, although not easy, saved hundreds of others too. His early actions were extremely important to the health, safety and welfare of the Greater-Danbury area.
The other thing I'll probably remember is that I was able to convince the City Council to approve the borrowing of the monies needed to build the Career Academy. This will be a game changer for the educational opportunities this program will provide to our youth in the decades to come.
I have been so honored to have these opportunities and look forward to working with Mayor Dean to keep building on all the great stuff happening in and around Danbury."
Cavo had this to say about being elected to City Council again:
"I am so proud of the team here in Danbury. This was a hard fought campaign with folks from both sides of the aisle planning and working for their vision of what the best path will be for Danbury's future.
Tuesday, Danbury chose to continue that leadership provided by the GOP with Dean as their next Mayor. I can't speak for all political figures, but I will say that I always give great thought to any action/decision taken in my 17 years as Councilman and now Mayor.
I would sleep a whole lot better if I could always be 100% certain of all my decisions, but it never quite works out that way. When the public returns you to office on Election Day, there is no greater honor than to have their confidence and support that you are representing them while in office.
My service to this City and its residents has truly been the highest honor of my life."
I think Joe deserves a grateful goodbye from the residents of Danbury. Cavo has been a guest on my show (The Ethan and Lou Show on I-95) since he took over for Mark Boughton and it's been a privilege to get to know him on a personal level.
Cavo takes civic duty very seriously and it shows in everything he does. I've met few people like Joe in my life, he does things for others before himself, but he's no pushover. I don't think anyone else could have kept Danbury prospering during COVID-19 the way Joe did.
His decision to step aside and go back to City Council is a move that I think sums Cavo up. This is not about vanity, his ego or playing politics for the fun of it. It's about what is best for the people of Danbury.
Joe was one of the first people to reach out when my wife got the coronavirus, the first to ask how I was doing after a recent medical test and Joe answered my rambling texts at 4 am, on more than one occasion.
One meeting with Cavo really sticks out to me. I met Joe at Wooster Cemetery to do a story on Memorial Day. Cavo and a small group of volunteers were placing American flags on the graves of fallen heroes. Joe asked that I not mention his name or use photographs of him in the article. He said, "I don't want this to be about me."
He's just that kind of guy.
We were lucky to have him. Thank you Joe, thank you for your leadership, sense of humor and decisive nature.
P.S. Speaking of sense of humor, I was recently talking about former Mayor Mark Boughton on the Ethan and Lou Show. I joked that we should start a photo contest and whoever gets me the funniest picture of Boughton, wins a prize. Joe sent me a text minutes later with this photo.
- Ice cream, what Joe Cavo's food eats.
- Don't miss Penn and Teller at the Palace Theater in Danbury
- When you ask to see the manager at Game Stop