NEWINGTON - Unveiling their election slate this week with several newcomers on board, the Democrats hope to bring a fresh outlook to local issues this November.
In the race for Town Council are recent college graduate Nicholas Arace and seasoned businessman Chris Miner, joining incumbents Carol Anest, James Marocchini and Diana Casasanta Serra. Former Deputy Mayor Terry Borjeson is captaining the ship with the party’s mayoral endorsement.
“We have a very good slate with more energy and I’m very positive about what we can accomplish,” Borjeson said this week. “It’s time to change the discourse and get people to work together for the better of the town.”
It’s been a conflict-ridden year for elected officials on the council and Board of Education, which are still at odds over the 2017-18 town and school budget. Democratic Town Committee Chairman John Kelly is optimistic that new direction will infuse harmony in this ongoing relationship.
“We haven’t had leadership in two years; I think the voters are noticing that,” Kelly said. “We’re losing ground in a number of areas, ignoring our schools, and we can’t seem to make decisions on issues going on in town. We need leadership in this town and were not getting it from the current administration.”
Arace, 25, earned his master’s degree in public policy from the University of Connecticut last May. He’s returned to his hometown to make what he sees as a crucial difference.
“I think the political atmosphere got really negative and I want to be part of the solution,” Arace explained. “I want to live here in my hometown and I want myself and my neighbors to enjoy a healthy, vibrant and successful town, like the one I grew up in.”
Miner most recently served as chairman of the Town Hall renovation building committee and was previously on the town Plan & Zoning Commission. He also brings his professional insight to the table.
“It’s an opportunity for me to use the knowledge I’ve got through commercial development and business to bring new development to the town and assist developers working in town,” Miner said. “We need to increase the grand list.”
Economic development and stronger infrastructure are among Borjeson’s priorities as well.
“Besides the moral obligation we have to take care of our infrastructure, as well as our kids and our seniors; not taking care of them will impact property values,” he said. “A lot of people in this country and this town are disenfranchised with what’s going on right now. The only way we can get back in shape is for people to register their concerns and come out and vote in November.”
Kelly is confident that Borjeson is the right man for the job.
“He has the background knowledge and skills and an understanding of public policy issues; he’ll be able to forge coalitions of residents and town officials to meet the needs of our school system and our community. He has a demonstrated history of fiscal responsibility where he’ll be able to lead us with the right choices and keep our taxes low while continuing to move the town forward.”
On the Board of Education side, Democrats Sharon Braverman, Emily Guion, Cindy Stamm and Josh Shulman are all seeking another term. Michael Branda is the sole new candidate.
Branda works in fundraising for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Connecticut. Supporting those in need is a daily job.
“I am going to be a strong advocate for our children and the quality of education in our town,” Branda said. “If we can find ways to keep everybody informed with facts rather than innuendo or accusation, the town will be a lot better off.”
For the Board of Fire Commissioners, Chet Bogacz and Brian Gallagher are both hoping for another term, along with Fred H. Callahan III, as constable.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.