NEWINGTON – Republicans are ready to push forward and continue working toward the betterment of the town with a newly endorsed team of candidates this week.
After gaining majority on both the Town Council and the Board of Education in 2015, GOP leaders have spent the last two years growing the grand list and keeping spending at a minimum. Mayor Roy Zartarian is seeking a second term this November to finish what they started.
“I think we’ve got a good team and I’m optimistic as to the results,” he said this week. “I would like to continue to grow the grand list as best we can while recognizing we have to be fiscally responsible.”
He is joined in seeking another term by incumbent councilors Beth DelBuono, Dave Nagel, Gail Budrejko and Tim Manke, as well as newcomer Mike Camillo.
If elected, this will mark Budrejko’s second term as well. She is prepared to take the insight gained over the council table in a positive direction.
“I’ve learned a great community doesn’t happen by accident; it requires hard work.” Budrejko said. “Serving on the Town Council is a serious responsibility. I will continue to do my homework by listening, asking questions, and being aware of external developments that may impact Newington. I will do this because I care,” she continued. “Newington is changing. We need to manage the changes and grow responsibly, and not at the expense of current residents. We have to find more opportunities to operate efficiently and effectively, keeping our schools and our services at the levels our residents expect and deserve.”
Camillo owns West Hill Automotive Truck and Trailer Services, now celebrating its 54th year in the same family’s hands. His hope is to enliven Newington’s small business community by improving the climate and nurturing its health for those that have remained in town. That’s just one of the reasons he’s running for council.
“If you want things to change you have to be part of the solution,” Camillo pointed out. “Newington has become a bedroom community. Our industries have left and it’s time to bring back some sort of business growth.”
That all starts in the education system, according to Camillo, an advocate for retaining hands-on learning in schools.
“I’ve been living in town 18 years, I run a family business in town and my son goes to the high school. I love Newington. I just want to see it be here in another 100 years better than what it was,” he said.
Instead of complaining and spreading negative information, Camillo would like to see residents share their hopes for a stronger future.
“Newington seems to have hit a wall,” he said. “People want to talk about what they don’t want. We want to hear what they do want.”
Fostering trust between elected officials is a priority among the GOP’s incoming team.
“We need to build up better cooperation and trust between the council and the Board of Education,” Zartarian explained.
BOE incumbents Steven Silvia, Robert Tofeldt and Paul Vessella will be joined by political newcomers Danielle Drozd and Jeremy Whetzel on the incoming slate.
Republican Town Committee Chairman Domenic Pane offered some words of motivation to his new team at the party’s recent caucus.
“We have a balanced team that has an excellent track record of working together, along with some new faces that will bring their perspective,” he said.
Completing the slate is Jay Bottalico, running for constable, and Kent Stoddard, for fire commissioner.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.