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The “Cosgrove for Branford” Republican team has led the town for the past six years and is looking for continued support on Nov. 5 to keep Branford on track and moving forward, said Republican Town Committee (RTC) chairman Ray Ingraham.
“We’re looking to keep going the way we have for the last six years [including] moving forward with our infrastructure changes and improvements,” said Ingraham. “We’re very happy about the project with the Community House ending and we’re extremely excited about how well the [Walsh Intermediate] school project’s going. Everything is moving the way that we want it to. We really don’t see any real need for changing course.”
In the coming term, “... we’ve got those projects that are always moving down the line. We hope to move to a time when there’s a bit of a hiatus like we had in the [1980’s] and '90’s, but we’ve got a few things to do: Public Works, Sliney School, even some slight changes for Tisko and Murphy; just to keep them up to the times rather than let them lag behind. We learned that from the main fire house; letting it go too long."
The former fire headquarters on North Main Street was outmoded and in disrepair for 20 years before the town finally approved ongoing requests for its replacement in 2010. The new facility opened in 2012.
Ingraham said the goal of the Cosgrove for Branford team is do the right thing for Branford through good governance.
“We generally don’t consider ourselves truly just a one-party organization,” said Ingraham. “We’re governing here — we’re making sure that things happen that are right for Branford, not simply right by any political philosophy.”
Ingraham has served on the 30-member Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for eight years, most recently as majority leader, and is seeking re-election (District 5) on Nov. 5. During the 2017-19 term, the RTM was led by a GOP majority of 18.
Ingraham described the RTM as “the people’s voice.”
“Our job is to listen to our districts and make sure that our districts’ voice is heard,” said Ingraham. “The neighborhood’s picking the person that they feel will vote the way they would vote, if they [went] to the town meeting. I’d say 90 percent of the time, it ends up that way.”
He said the RTM was constructed, by Town Charter, to also provide a voice for the minority; adding that, if RTM members are doing their jobs, votes that may be considered controversial will get the benefit of the doubt. He pointed to the close RTM vote in the past term to approve the $5.2 million Blackstone Library expansion/renovation project that’s now underway. The January, 2018 RTM vote to approve bonding for the library project was 15-11.
“While it seemed like the way it was being run was a very political vote, and some of the comments were very political; the outcome and the behind the scenes discussion and debates were apolitical,” said Ingraham. “It fell along the lines of people talking to their neighbors; and which neighbors were totally against something, and which neighbors were for it, and that’s why the vote was so close. Which is what’s supposed to happen on the controversial votes.”
At a time when national politics have created fierce divisions between Democrats and Republicans, Ingraham said local elections are the place where residents should learn about their candidates and vote for the person who will best serve the needs of the town.
“The hope is whoever is elected will keep moving along toward making Branford better, rather than any political ideology [of] ‘We have to have this type of person there, and that type of person there,’” said Ingraham. “The national, and even some of the state politics, just don’t belong in our neighborhood politics, in our neighborhood decisions.”
Ingraham said it’s very important for voters to get to the polls on Nov. 5; especially to select their district’s RTM members. Branford has seven districts, which requires producing seven district-sensitive ballots, so that the correct RTM representatives appear on the ballot at their district’s polling place.
“The people may think the RTM, because we’re all the way down the end of the ballot, it’s a lesser position. But the reason that we’re all the way down at the end of the ballot is because it’s a district election,” said Ingraham. “So all the town wide [candidates] are put before us. But the RTM is the main governing body in the town. The First Selectman’s office, the Board of Finance, all the commissions in town are all derived by powers that the RTM gave them.”
Even with an uncontested First Selectman’s race assuring Branford Republicans of a victory for GOP incumbent First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove and Selectman running mate Joe Higgins, Ingraham said voters who support either the Republican or Democratic party should not be “complacent” about getting out to vote on Nov. 5.
“We understand why sometimes people are little complacent —’Jamie’s in, so his whole teams’ in.’ That’s not the case,” said Ingraham. “And you could see it both ways: let’s say Jamie’s voters are saying ‘We’re all set– Jamie won.’ You can also see Democratic voters not coming [because] they thought Jamie was fine, so ‘Why should I go?’ And that’s been part of the [Democratic Town Committee’s] simple argument that they need to flip the RTM [majority]. But there’s been no issues listed so far in the campaign of why they need to flip the RTM.”
Also running unopposed for Town Hall posts in the Nov. 5 race are incumbent Republican candidate for Town Clerk, Lisa Arpin; and Democratic incumbent candidate for Tax Collector, Roberta Gill-Brooks, who has been crossed-endorsed by the GOP.
Republican candidates running for elective offices in the Nov. 5 municipal election are: First Selectman- James Cosgrove; Selectman -Joseph Higgins; Tax Collector- Roberta Gill-Brooks [D]; Town Clerk- Lisa E. Arpin; Treasurer- Michael T. Nardella; Board Of Assessment Appeals- Jason Driscoll; Board of Education — Lisa Caruso (four-year term), Michael A. Krause (six-year term), Dawn Perrotti (six-year term). RTM GOP candidates are: District 1 — Frank Twohill, Patricia Austin, Lindsay Marottoli-Greenberg, George David Wells; District 2 — Christopher DiAdamo, Chris Hynes; District 3 — Peter Black, Rhoda Phillips; District 4 — Sean Kelly, James Stepanek, Linda Mitchell, Tricia Anderson; District 5 — Ray Ingraham, Dennis Flanigan, Carolyn Sires, Don Conklin; District 6 — Marc Riccio, Ed Prete, Anthony Alfone; District 7 — Kevin Healy, Steven Sullivan. GOP candidates for Constables are Dennis G. Nardella, Susan Barnes, Kyle Nelson.
For more information on the Branford Republican Town Committee 2019 election effort, find @BranfordRTC on Facebook.