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In the Nov. 5 municipal election, Branford Democrats are presenting a slate of candidates who represent a cross section of the town and have expertise in areas that are important to Branford, said Democratic Town Committee (DTC) leader Tom Brockett. The Democrats are also pushing to become the new majority party on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) in the next term.
Brockett said some of the areas in which the town’s 2019 Democratic candidates can offer their expertise include those of education, the environment, health care, finances, the law, parenting and government. In addition, he said Branford Democrats are proud to have a diverse group of RTM candidates in the 2019 race, the majority of who are “very talented women.”
He said every Democratic candidate on the ticket is ready to share their knowledge and dedicate their time to governing for the betterment of Branford.
“The voters should know that the majority of positions on the November 5 ballot are not paid political positions. On the contrary, all RTM members and those elected to the Board of Education as well as some other positions are volunteers who are willing to dedicate their time and expertise to make Branford a better place to live,” Brockett said. “You should vote for these individuals because they are not only remarkable candidates but remarkable people and if elected will serve Branford well.”
This past term (2017-19), Democrats were in the minority on the 30-member RTM, filling 12 seats. Brockett said the full slate of 2019 RTM Democratic candidates includes a mix of incumbent and new candidates who are all working hard to earn votes and, most importantly, to win the majority of seats on the RTM in the new term. Brockett, who was elected RTM clerk and is now running for RTM re-election in District 7, said there is “no question” about the importance of being the majority party on the RTM.
“We are in the minority right now — for this past term, we were outnumbered on the RTM by 18 to 12 — and one of our goals is to take back the RTM as a majority,” said Brockett. “We need to flip four seats in order to do that. I think with our strong candidates backed by talented women, we have a legitimate chance. And the message is: ‘You’ve got to vote.’”
Branford Democrats have no candidate in the running for First Selectman and are focusing on winning the RTM to bring more balance to local government, said Brockett. He also gave some insight into the DTC’s decision not to endorse a candidate in Branford’s 2019 First Selectman’s race (thereby ensuring a fourth term victory for incumbent GOP First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove and his running mate, selectman Joe Higgins).
“I think people recognize that [Cosgrove] is a very old Branford name. I don’t think that the Democrats could muster up a candidate that could mount a challenge against him. When the Democrats figured that they couldn’t successfully challenge the First Selectman’s position, they put their focus on trying to win a majority of the RTM; so essentially what we’ll have is a little bit more balanced government. It makes for one party control in the Executive branch of government and another party control in the Legislative branch of government,” said Brockett.
Democrat Ray Dunbar is running unopposed to fill the third seat on the Board of Selectmen, which will be vacated by current Democratic selectman Jack Ahern. In the race for Town Hall posts, Democrat Roberta Gill-Brooks is running unopposed for Tax Collector and has been cross-endorsed by the GOP. The Democrat’s candidate for Treasurer is Kurt Schwanfelder. With no Democratic candidate for Town Clerk, Republican Lisa Arpin will win re-election to another term.
Brockett hopes Branford’s registered voters understand why it’s important to cast their vote in this and every election.
“This republic was founded on theory that it is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We vote to protect our republic and maintain our democracy. Our town is no different. Your vote is your voice!” said Brockett.
He also said “every vote counts” on Nov. 5.
“If you want your voice heard at the Branford RTM, then you must vote. By voting, you have a say on who the elected leaders are. You can vote for people who are aligned with your issues. Voting is your duty and civic responsibility,” he said. “Frequently, there are disparaging remarks about government and politicians. Voting is one way to hold our elected officials accountable. We vote to honor all those heroes who sacrificed their lives so our people can be free. The more people that vote demonstrates the power of people.”
Brockett said he’s very proud of the work being put in by the Democratic team to reach out into the community to spread the news about the Democratic slate, and to listen and respond to voters’ concerns and questions. He said they’re also meeting quite a few Democrats and unaffiliated voters in town who are commenting on the nation’s current political leadership.
“There’s an overwhelming concern about the state of the nation with Trump in office. Some questions are about our town, but the vast majority of questions are about the state of our politics at a national level,” said Brockett. “I think people are frustrated, and hopefully they’ll turn out and vote. It’s kind of ironic, because here you are knocking on doors for local questions, and you get the national question.”
Democratic candidates running for Branford elective offices in the Nov. 5 municipal election are: Board of Selectmen- Raymond Dunbar; Tax Collector; Roberta Gill-Brooks; Treasurer — Kurt Schwanfelder; Board of Assessment Appeals- Joseph Fazzino; Board of Education — Ellen Michaels (six year term), Meredith Gaffney (four year term). RTM District 1 — Claire Torelli, Michele Sember, Alisa Waterman, Richard Saltz; District 2 — Peter Hentschel, DeeDee Hakun; District 3 — Peter Jackson, Linda Erlanger; District 4 — Daniel Adelman, Cynthia Lombardi, Shahida Soomro; District 5 — Kathi Traugh, Laura Noe, Tracy Everson, Nancy McCormack; District Six — Chris Sullivan, Chad Edgar; District 7 — Tom Brockett, Donna Laich. Constables: Chuck Tiernan, Francis Walsh, John O’Connor, Ronald Washington.
For more information the Branford Democratic Town Committee 2019 election effort, find @branforddems on Facebook or visit http://www.branforddemocrats.com
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