SOUTHINGTON - Incumbent Democratic town council member Chris Poulos was not endorsed by the Southington Democratic Town Committee for a third term at their meeting Tuesday.
Poulos, who has served on the town council since 2017, said he was not given a reason why he was not nominated by the nominating committee.
“None of my votes on the Town Council have ever contradicted the published SDTC platform. I have served with integrity in an open and transparent manner,” Poulos said in a speech at the meeting.
Poulos did receive a nomination for a third term by SDTC member Gloria Brown, but he ultimately did not receive enough votes to earn the party’s endorsement.
“Don’t you want to win?” Brown said after nominating Poulos. “We won’t win by replacing Chris on the council with someone who has no experience and no name recognition. I urge you to have some loyalty and to support Chris Poulos.”
The SDTC sent out a press release about their endorsed candidates that alluded to their decision not to nominate Poulos but did not provide a specific explanation.
“The Nominating Committee took on the huge task of identifying candidates who will do just that -- represent the Democratic Party's values of standing up for all of our residents, not just the well-connected, and pushing back on attempts to divide us,” the press release said. “Change is never easy, and although some difficult decisions needed to be made, the DTC membership voted to endorse the candidates who were recommended by the Nominating Committee.”
SDTC chair Erica Byrne said the committee does not disclose their specific discussions about their nominations.
“Out of respect for all individuals who go through the interview and nomination process, we do not publicly disclose the specific discussions that occurred in the committee,” Byrne said.
Vice chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals and SDTC member Alicia Novi said she voted for the slate of candidates the nominating committee chose because she sometimes did not agree with Poulos’s votes on the town council. She said she was happy that the nominating committee chose a diverse slate of candidates who she felt could win votes from outside the party.
“I think they did a great job choosing a diverse slate (of candidates) that people outside the party would feel comfortable voting for,” Novi said.
Southington Town Council Chair Victoria Triano, a Republican, said in a comment on social media that Poulos “governs from the heart” and that she hopes he runs anyway.
“I have not heard one reason why he should not continue to serve on the Council other than politics at its worst. It is my hope that Chris primaries for his rightful place on the Democratic ticket. He has earned it and he deserves it,” Triano said.
Poulos said in a press release that he has explored the process of a primary petition, but he has not made a decision at this time.
In a speech at Tuesday’s SDTC meeting, town council minority leader and SDTC member Chris Palmieri referred to the fact that the Democrats do not currently have control of the town council and called for unity within the party.
“I hope after the results of tonight we can all come together because what’s critical is for us to come together as a team, because if we’re not united, we don’t have the best path forward. And I know the best path forward is for the Southington Democrats to take back control of the town council,” Palmieri said.
The SDTC endorsed incumbents Chris Palmieri and Val Depaolo to run again. Other endorsed candidates include HQ Dumpsters & Recycling co-owner Jack Perry, nurse practitioner Kristen Guida, former Southington STEPS Coordinator Kelly Leppard and Planning & Zoning Commission member Christina Volpe.