It remains to be seen how long it lasts, but for one night unity and camaraderie took center stage in Trumbull during Monday’s swearing-in ceremony for newly elected officials. The event, which was attended by former First Selectmen Tim Herbst, Ray Baldwin, Dave Wilson, Morag Vance, and Paul Timpanelli, included numerous touches, including students from all the town’s elementary schools leading the Pledge of Allegiance and musical selections from the Trumbull High chamber singers and marching band.
“Today we celebrate unity in the town of Trumbull,” said master of ceremonies David Galla, who added that First Selectman Vicki Tesoro’s leadership would bring the town to new heights of openness and inclusiveness.
“She will not back down, she will not give up,” Galla said.
In a break with tradition, the elected boards and officials were administered the oath of office as groups, rather than by party. Tesoro said this was by design, a symbol of resolve to build a better future.
“We took a small step in that direction tonight when we break with the tradition that only Democrats swear in Democrats and Republicans only swear in Republicans, and replaced it with honored citizens swearing in other citizens who have the responsibility to lead our community,” she said.
Judge Barbara Brazzel-Massaro administered the oath of office to the Town Council, Board of Education and Planning & Zoning Commission. Probate Judge T.R. Rowe did the honors for Town Clerk Suzanne Burr Monaco and Town Treasurer Anthony Musto, with Rose Lodice swearing in the Board of Finance, Board of Assessment Appeals and Zoning Board of Appeals. Former First Selectman Ray Baldwin Jr. administered the oath to the newly elected constables, and Tom Tesoro swore his wife, Vicki, into her new office, reminding her that for the second time in their lives she was standing with him in front of a crowd about to answer a solemn vow with “I do.”
In her inaugural speech (full text here), Tesoro continued the theme of unity, thanking all candidates who ran for office.
“Those who won deserve hearty congratulations for a job well done. However, those that did not win should know that they, too, deserve our thanks,” she said. “Standing for election is not an easy thing but it is an absolutely necessary thing. The strength of our town, our state and our nation rests on the shoulders of those who put themselves forward, exchange in a battle of ideas and give our citizens the opportunity to reinforce, time and time again, the founding principles of our nation.”
Politics is unique in that after Election Day, opponents work together for the next two years.
“Elections, by their nature, are divisive things,” Tesoro said. “You want your team to win, you work for that result, and there is elation if you win and disappointment if you don’t.
“Now the election is over. We have to put aside our elation or disappointment and come together as neighbors working for the common good. That is how Trumbull will prosper and this is how we all will win.”
Tesoro also touched on many of her campaign themes, including the upcoming municipal budget, community safety, and public education, and restated her desire for a referendum on the proposed community center.
“I ran on a platform of giving the people a voice,” she said. “Let’s have a referendum on the community center. If the people want it, we will build it. If not, then we need to start fresh without rancor or recrimination.”
Finally, having asked for, and received, support from the electorate, Tesoro made the same request from the elected officials on the stage with her.
“The hard work has already begun. I ask all those on this stage and everyone here tonight to join me in creating a stronger future for our great town,” she said. “We are better together, and together we will make our wonderful community even better.”