Decision 2019

ellington town hall

A guide to elections North-central Connecticut

By Laura B. Hayden

All eight towns of the North Central News readership will open their polling places at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, to elect local officials, most of whom will serve two or four years. 

Even though these town elections do not directly affect representation in the Connecticut State Legislature, they will lay the foundation for each town’s government and schools and, likely, become building blocks for state and national leadership in the future. Polls will close at 8 p.m.

Below are the lists of candidates, town by town, who hope to represent your jurisdiction’s major municipal offices and board of education. Polling places are also listed. 

To view candidates for addition town boards and the 12 questions that appear on the East Windsor ballot, go online to the 2019 Municipal Election Sample Ballots at https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/Town-Ballots/2019-November-Municipal-Town-Ballots

East Windsor

First Selectman 
Democrat Jason Bowsza, Republican Sarah A. Muska, and petitioning candidate Charles J. Szymanski all have their eyes on the First Selectman seat that is being vacated by Robert Maynard (who is instead running for Selectman as a petitioning candidate).  

Bowsza is currently a sitting member on the Board of Selectmen. He also serves on the East Windsor Pension Board and is a Board of Director for the Network Against Domestic Abuse. 

Muska, a previous East Windsor small business owner, has served on the Board of Finance since 2017. She recently ran for the state Senate, losing to M. Saud Anwar, D-East Hartford, in a special election to fill a vacancy.

Szymanski is finishing his first two-year term on the Board of Selectmen and hopes to get re-elected for a four-year term as first selectman. He was first elected to the Board as a Democrat who was not endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee. 

Selectmen 
Six candidates are vying for two East Windsor Selectmen positions 

Like Szymanski, two selectman candidates are running without party affiliation. These are current First Selectman Robert L. Maynard and Steve A. Dearborn, who is up for reelection.  They will compete with Republican candidates Richard Pippin Jr. and Charlie Nordell and Democrats Alan Baker and Marie DeSousa.

Board of Education
Six candidates are vying for five seats that are up for reelection on the East Windsor Board of Education. Voters will choose partly among incumbent members: Democrat Bill Raber and Republicans Kathleen Bilodeau and Randi Reichle.  Democrats Courtney Sevarino and RuthAnne Lansner and Republican Sarah Andrews are also on the ballot.

Polling Places
District 1 – Town Hall Annex (25 School Street, East Windsor)
District 2 – Town Hall (11 Rye Street, Broad Brook)

Ellington

Unlike four years ago, a full slate of candidates for first selectman, Board of Selectmen and Board of Education fill the Ellington ballot.

First Selectman 
Democrat Peggy A. Busse will challenge Republican incumbent Lori L. Spielman who ran uncontested in 2015. 

Selectmen
Ellington voters will choose four candidates from a list of seven contenders for Board of Selectmen. Six current members of the Board of Selectmen hope to retain their seats: Republicans John W. Turner, James M. Prichard, Ronald F. Stomberg and David E. Stavens, and Democrats Sarah D. Cook and Melinda M. Ferry. Democrat Jaime S. Foster, currently a member of the school board, is vying for a Board of Selectmen seat as well.

Board of Education
Voters will choose five out of six candidates running for the Board of Education. The choices include incumbent Republicans Michael Young and Kerry Socha. Democrats Elizabeth Nord, Miriam Underwood, Aaron Foster and Jennifer Mullin are also on the ballot.

Polling Places
District 1 – Ellington High School (37 Maple Street)
District 2 – Crystal Lake School (59 South Road)

Enfield 

Street corners are filled with more varied campaign signage than usual throughout Enfield this November, since a third party has emerged, adding to the slate of candidates for municipal seats on the town council and Board of Education.  

The Voices of Enfield party adds to the Democrat and Republication affiliations, formed after the secession of about a dozen members of the Enfield Democratic Town Committee in August.  Three candidates from the newly formed affiliation are running for school board seats, one is vying for an at-large seat on the council, and a third hopes to become one of the next elected town constables. 

Town Council 
Ten candidates are looking to fill the seven at-large posts on the council. Seeking re-election are incumbent Republicans Mike Ludwick, Joe Muller, Carl Sferrazza and Lori Unghire, as are current Democrat council members Gina Cekala and Bill Kiner. Democrats Cindy Mangini and Jacob Nadeau are also hoping to gain at-large seats, along with Voices for Enfield challenger Colleen Ann Reidy and petitioning candidate John Santanella.

In the contest for the four district council seats, two Republican candidates are running uncontested: Deputy Mayor Donna Szewczak, the incumbent in District 3, and current Board of Education vice chair Charlotte Riley, who is seeking to represent District 4.

Republican Joe Bosco seeks to retain his District 1 seat against Democratic challenger Mike Ballard, while Democratic incumbent Bob Cressotti looks to continue representing District 2 in a contest against his Republican challenger, Kelly Hemmeler. 

Board of Education
Only five of the current eight Board of Education members seek re-election this year. These are Republicans Walter Kruzel and Chris Rutledge, and Democrats Tina LeBlanc, Tim Neville, and Scott Ryder. Democrat Joyce Hall (who ended an over ten-year tenure on the Board in 2013) is running again, along with fellow Democrat Steve Niemitz. Also vying for Board of Education seats are Republicans Wendy Costa, Jonathan LeBlanc and Bill Salazar, along with Voices for Enfield candidates Liz Davis, Marcy Taliceo and Monica Wright.

Polling Places 
District 1 – J.F.K. Middle School (155 Raffia Road)
District 2 – Enfield Street School (1318 Enfield Street)
District 3 – Enfield Municipal Annex (formerly Fermi High School, 124  North Maple Street)
District 4 – Henry Barnard School (27 Shaker Road)

Somers

There’s a three-way race for First Selectman in Somers and none of the candidates are Democrats. 

First Selectman
Republican incumbent Bud Knorr, who has served as first selectman since former First Selectwoman Lisa Pellegrini resigned in May 2017, has his eye on a second full-term in the office. Previous to serving as first selectman, Knorr served as a town selectman for eight years. 

Two petitioning candidates are challenging Knorr. Linda Louise LaCasse, a local business owner who lost to Knorr in a Republican primary in September, collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot. In addition, longtime public servant Ann Logan, re-elected as town clerk for five terms since 2001, hopes to change her municipal title to first selectman. 

Selectmen
Republican and Democrat candidates even out in a four-way race for two selectmen votes by voters. Democrats Terri Schmidt and incumbent Timothy Potrikus are running against Republicans Tim Keeney and Ralph Williams. 

Board of Education
Four candidates are seeking one of the three seats the election will fill on the Somers Board of Education. The candidates are Democrat incumbent Anne B. Kirkpatrick and Republicans Sylvia Sanchez, Krista Cherry, and Marissa Marks. 

Polling Place
All eligible voters can vote at the Somers Town Hall (600 Main Street)

Stafford

As Stafford celebrates its 300th anniversary, voters will choose from a full slate of candidates for first selectman, Board of Selectmen, and Board of Education.

First Selectman 
Incumbent Republican Mary Mitta, who won her seat by 9 votes in 2017, faces a challenge from Open Party candidate Dock R. Sellers. Sellers currently serves on the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Selectmen
Two Board of Selectmen members, Republican John Locke Sr. and Democrat Richard Hartenstein Jr., are seeking re-election.

Board of Education
Three incumbent Board of Education members also look to be reinstated. These are Republican chair Sonya Shegogue, Republican Mike Delano, and Democrat Jennifer Julian Davis. Challenging for a seat is Democrat Laura Lybarger.

Polling Places
District 1 – Stafford Public Library (10 Levinthal Run)
District 2 – Stafford Community Center (3 Buckley Highway, Route 190)
District 3 – West Stafford Fire Department (144 West Stafford Road,  Route 190)

Suffield

A number of local board positions are uncontested this year, including the highest in local government.

First Selectman 
Current First Selectman Melissa Mack is running for the position unopposed.

Selectmen
Only one of the following candidates for selectmen will not gain a seat. Voters will choose four selectmen from this slate of five: Incumbent Republican Timothy J. Reynolds and Republicans Kathie Harrington and Jerry Mahoney, and Democrat incumbent Mel Chafetz and Democrat Peter Hill.

Board of Education
Only one of the following candidates for the board of education will not gain a seat. Voters will choose five board members from this slate of six: Incumbent Democrats Jamie Drzyzga and Brian Fry, Democrat James Moi and Republicans Scott R. Lingenfelter, Glen Gazdik, and Melissa Finnigan.

Polling Place
Suffield Middle School  (350 Mountain Road, Rte 168)

Vernon 

The only race for mayor in the North Central News area promises to be one of the most watched contests. Vernon voters also have a long list of candidates, both veteran politicians and newcomers, to choose from throughout their ballot.

Mayor 
Both candidates are seasoned politicians. Incumbent mayor Daniel Champagne (Republican) who first came to the position in 2013, is being challenged by Democrat Claire Janowski. Champagne is also the sitting state senator in the 35th District. 

Opponent Janowski is a former member of the Vernon Town Council who has occupied a seat in the state House of Representatives over a number of terms. She is also the only local candidate in the NCN area who has an entry in the online Wikipedia reference site. 

Town Council 
Voters will choose eight names from a long list of 16 candidates, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The candidates include Republican incumbents: Bill Campbell, Steve Wakefield, Laura B. Bush, Steven C. Peterson, Julie Clay, Jim Tedford, Brian R. Motola, and Michael D. Wendus. Democrat incumbents seeking re-election are Pauline A. Schaefer, Thomas A. DiDio and Ann Letendre. Addition Democrats on the ballot are Jesse Schoolnik, Rachel Stansel, and Julia Anderson. 

Board of Education
Voters will choose two of four candidates who are vying for a four-year term on the board. These are current Republican chair Anne H. Fischer and Republican incumbent Steve Linton, and Democrats Kristiana Wintress and Latasha Hyatt.

Voters will also choose two of four candidates who are vying for a two-year term on the board. These are Republican incumbents Patricia E. Buxton and Linda B. Gessay, Democrat incumbent Kevin Brown, and Democrat Jennifer Buckler.

Polling Places
District 1 – Northeast School (69 East Street)
District 2 – Rockville High School (70 Loveland Road)
District 3 – Skinner Road School (90 Skinner Road)
District 4 – Vernon Center Middle School (777 Hartford Turnpike)

Windsor Locks

As the newly renovated Montgomery Mill opens its doors to its first renters and plans for a new train station and other Main Street changes are in the works, a heated race for leadership ensues in Windsor Locks. 

First Selectman
Democrat incumbent Christopher Kervick faces Republican Board of Finance Chairman Paul Harrington for the top municipal seat. 

Selectmen 
Democrat incumbent Michelle L. Hill is being challenged by former town attorney and state Rep. Scott Storms, a Republican. According to the Hartford Courant, Republican Selectman Ricardo Rachele is not seeking re-election due to recent surgery and wanting to spend more time with his family. 

Board of Education
In the only contest for a seat on the Board of Education, Democrat vice-chair is being challenged by Republican Paige N. LaTournes.

Polling Places
District 1 – Windsor Locks Town Office Building (50 Church Street)District 2 – Windsor Locks High School (58 Elm Street)

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