From the News-Times
He's a painting contractor who doesn't campaign during the day because he has to work.
His campaign is running on a bare-bones budget — roughly $4,000 to his opponent's $40,000.
His wife and two kids live 950 miles away.
He's a Democrat, yet he shares a house with a Common Council Republican.
Yes, mayoral candidate Dean Esposito admits, his candidacy has some rough edges — but friends say if you see him face-to-face, he'll quickly win you over.
"Dean's strength is clearly one-on-one. Who you see is who you get," said former Mayor Gene Eriquez. "He is an honest, forthright individual of great integrity — and he is extremely personable."
Eriquez also pointed out that anyone who thinks Esposito is a political neophyte better look twice. He has won five elections, which isn't easy.Esposito served on the Common Council from 1989 to 1991 and then from 1993 to 2003. He also served briefly as town clerk, filling out the term of Michael Seri, who retired.
His grandfather was president of the Danbury Hatter's Union. His father was a state representative. Esposito caught the political bug early, when his family would pile into a station wagon and go door-to-door, passing out political flyers to neighbors.
"If you ask any politician why they do it, I don't think they'll have an answer. It's just been in my system to do it," said Esposito, 45. "I guess it's just in my blood."
Esposito grew up on Mountainville Road, the middle child of eight children.
He graduated from Danbury High School in 1979, where he was voted class clown.
The News-Times/Chris Ware
Mayoral candidate and painting contractor Dean Esposito works on a business in New Milford.
Friends used two words again and again to describe Esposito — loyal and honest.
Just how committed is he to Danbury?
Esposito wakes up each day at 6 a.m. Joe DaSilva Jr., his 35-year-old campaign manager, usually calls a half-hour later to talk about the day's campaign events.
Like Esposito, DaSilva is a political junkie having been raised in a political family.
Esposito, however, has to put in eight hours of work each day before he campaigns.
At debates, he is at a clear disadvantage to Boughton, a former school teacher who prepares methodically for each appearance.
"This guy (Boughton) has all day to prepare. He shows up with a white binder that looks like the Bible," Esposito said. "He flips open the book, he's got things highlighted. Half the time I'm yabba dabba dooin' it," he said, jokingly. "But I know the issues — and I've seen the city run better."
For the past few weeks, Esposito has been painting a 22,000-square-foot, two-story wooden office building on Route 7 in New Milford.
He often keeps a suit in a spare room in the building in case he has to change clothes to go to a political event, such as a luncheon at the Rotary Club.
"If he's up on a ladder painting a house and you stop by to ask him a question, he'll get down off the ladder and talk politics," said Prybylski, a long-time buddy.
In fact, that happened as Esposito was painting Thursday. A volunteer fireman from Germantown drove up to chat with Esposito just before lunch.
Esposito and the man talked for 10 minutes. They finalized a time for Esposito to visit the volunteers this week.
Esposito has some history with the volunteer firefighters in the city. He took lots of heat from them when he was on the Common Council, after asking for more detailed accounts of how the volunteer departments use city funds.
At one parade, a firefighter refused to shake Esposito's hand, he recalled.
"They thought I was out to shut down firehouses, which wasn't true," Esposito said. "It was all right, though. It's part of the job."
During his time on the Common Council, Esposito chaired a number of budget committees, including the group that analyzed money going to the police and fire departments.
"He has a passion about certain issues," said Eriquez, the former mayor. "He's someone you can hand things off to and you know he will follow through."
Eriquez is Esposito's political mentor. He offers advice when asked and has helped the candidate write a speech or two.
Esposito said he's not the most polished politician — and he doesn't want to be.
He recently stuttered and stammered his way through an appearance sponsored by the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.
"I bombed at that appearance, in my opinion," Esposito said. The problem was working from a prepared statement. Esposito said he prefers to talk from the heart.
"If I know the issue, I'd rather just talk to people, not at people," Esposito said. "I started talking at that group, and I got rocky."
It's that kind of honesty — combined with his popularity — that will win over the average Joe, DaSilva said.
"He's not somebody who makes a distinction between who he's talking to. He's going to tell people what he thinks, whether it's a waiter or a doctor," DaSilva said. "He's just a regular guy."