Democrats announce slate for 2015 election

The Trumbull Democratic Town Committee held its 2015 nomination convention at Tashua Knolls Restaurant Sunday night, announcing the party's full slate for November's election.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew delivered the keynote address and the committee's chairman Tom Kelly gave opening remarks following the national anthem and a moment of silence for the late Kevin Sutherland, who was killed on July 4 in Washington D.C.

Kelly said that he tore up his original speech.

"I was ready to go, I had the speech all written…but quite honestly, there has been a number of events that have transpired since July 4 that has caused me to rethink delivering my original speech," he said. "There was the terrible tragedy in Washington, D.C. that claimed the life of Kevin Sutherland in an act of senseless and unprovoked violence.  Then, a couple of weeks later, one of our Town Council candidate’s husband was told that he needs to have brain surgery this coming week. We offer our best wishes and prayers to Darren Francis for a complete and total recovery.

"Sobering events like this remind us about what is really important," he added. "And I think it’s at moments like this when the real Trumbull shines through. There is lots of love and support in this community, and the character of Trumbull citizens is very strong."

Before the nomination party Sunday, the committee had announced its support for Vicki Tesoro for first selectman, as well as Anthony Musto for treasurer and Cindy Katske for town clerk.

"We believe we need to build more community spirit in this town and get rid of the toxic political cloud that so often hangs over us," Kelly said. "We are not a town at war. We should be able to have discussions, and even disagreements, without acrimony or fighting. Without litigation and lawyers. Without angry press releases and childish bickering. Life is too short to continue to do things this way.

"Why can’t we aspire to making Trumbull the nicest town in Connecticut?" he asked the room. "Why can’t we make it a goal for Trumbull to be known as the most neighborly place in our state? The best place for kids to grow up in New England. The town that puts people first. I don’t think this is wishful or naïve thinking."

For the open seats on the Town Council, the party nominated Dawn Cantafio, Shelia Charmoy, Jon Greene and Bill Mecca for District 1.

For District 2, Kevin Shively, Mary Beth Thornton and Thomas Whitmoyer received their party's support.

In District 3, Dean Fabrizio, Roy Fuchs, Marshall Marcus and Jason March were nomination, while a five-name slate was put on the ticket in District 4.

Those nominees include: Paige Harrison Francis, Jim Meisner, Joe Schlig, Lisa Valenti and Scott Wich.

Wich and Thornton are current Town Council members.

Other nominees

The Trumbull Democratic Town Committee also nominated five candidates for the Board of Education at its convention Sunday night. Those nominees include Kathleen Fearon, Susan LaFrance, Lucinda Timpanelli, Mike Ward and Sujata Wilcox.

LaFrance and Ward currently serve as members on the town's education board. LaFrance was elected in 2013 on the Republican ticket but will be running in the 2015 election as a democrat.

Additionally, the democrats decided to nominate Scott Kokosa and Lainie McHugh for the Board of Finance, and Richard Puskar for the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Tim Cantafio was nominated for the Board of Assessment Appeals, while Dan Helfrich was nominated for a spot on the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2015.

In 2016, Tony Silber will run for re-election on the commission. He currently serves as its secretary.

Citizens first

Both Kelly and Tesoro focused on keeping town residents first in their respective speeches.

"That includes maintaining and improving programs for Trumbull children and teenagers," Kelly said. "They are the future of our town, and our country. Never, ever, should Trumbull kids be a political football again."

He highlighted upcoming programs from the Trumbull Youth Association.

"Let’s not forget, it was only a few months ago when the First Selectman’s budget zeroed out funding for the TYA after 45 years," Kelly said.  "We need better budget priorities than this. Let’s resolve to never target a worthwhile and important enrichment program like this again.

"We need a leader who will never compromise her principles and who has values which are closely aligned with those of everyone in Trumbull," he added. "A person who is focused on Trumbull, and not making a name for herself on the state and national political stage. That person is Vicki Tesoro."

Tesoro emphasized that Trumbull needed a "fresh approach" in her speech.

She highlighted the "fusion of Democrats" making up this year's ticket, and cited examples of how Trumbull has become too politicized under current First Selectman Tim Herbst.

"It has become so political in Trumbull that Trumbull Day is a political football and the Trumbull Day Commission is being bypassed in the planning for Trumbull Day 2015," she said. "Changing the name and moving the date does not change a thing. It is still Trumbull Day and it should be a community event, for the community and planned by the community not by a select few.

"The privilege of serving our community as a volunteer has become ridiculously politicized," she added. "It has become so political in Trumbull that qualified citizens seeking to serve our Community are denied the opportunity to present their qualifications to the full Council.

"Too much power in too few hands," she said. "That must change and it will change in November."