Trumbull GOP seeks new direction, Democrats stick with Kelly in choosing leaders

TRUMBULL — Local Republicans said they are hoping some new faces and a modern approach to politics will lead the party back to prominence in town.

Trumbull’s Democrats, on the other hand, elected to mostly stand pat as both parties used remote meetings to select their leadership for the next two years.

“We are truly in a unique position to begin anew,” said newly elected Republican Chairman Chris Bandecchi in his acceptance speech. “It is time to modernize both the operation of our organization and how we campaign. Doing so will help to grow our ranks, improve our fundraising, recruit great candidates for elected office, and lead us to victory this year and beyond. I am confident that we will achieve many victories in the years to come.”

In nominating Bandecchi, Town Councilman Lori Rosasco-Schwartz said he was the ideal candidate “to take the helm of the TRTC to help it grow, to strengthen the ranks by bringing new, fresh faces into the party, and to get Trumbull Republicans elected.”

Bandecchi, community development administrator for the Town of Stratford, moved into town in 2017. He ran unsuccessfully for Town Council in District 3 in November. He replaces outgoing GOP leader Joseph Pifko.

Trumbull’s Democrats, coming off a historic 2019 election in which the party came within one Town Council seat of sweeping every contested race, voted Democratic Registrar of Voters Tom Kelly to a fourth term as chairman.

Kelly acknowledged the party’s growth in recent years — Democrats now hold an 800-registered voter advantage over the GOP after being the smaller party as recently as 2015. In fact, Kelly said, the Democratic Town Committee voted to expand from 60 voting members to 75 because of a surge in meeting attendance.

“Our message seems to really be resonating with voters,” Kelly said. “Consider that in 2013, we held the fewest seats possible on every board in town, and to come from that to last year where we won every race except one Town Council seat — that’s really a tribute to the energetic and passionate people that have come into our party.”

Both parties saw some changes in their supporting leadership positions. On the Republican side, members elected 2019 Board of Finance candidate Josephine Mills as vice chairman, replacing Rick Costantini and state Rep. David Rutigliano, who jointly held that position. Former Board of Education Chairman Loretta Chory was re-elected treasurer and former Town Councilman Mark Block was re-elected secretary.

For the Democrats, town treasurer and former state Sen. Anthony Musto was the party’s choice as vice chairman. Musto replaces Lisa Labella, who was named the party’s treasurer, replacing Tim Cantafio. Labella is a current police commissioner and former school board member. Town Councilman Ashley Gaudiano is the party’s new secretary, replacing Laurel Anderson.