BEACON FALLS — In recent elections nationwide, it has been Democrats trumpeting change, in contrast to Republicans’ status quo. But here it is the GOP working to remake its image, in hopes of balancing a local government controlled largely by Democrats.
Among 15 total winners in November’s municipal elections, only four were Republicans and just two, Town Clerk Kurt Novak and Board of Education member Bill Fredericks, actually beat Democrats for their seats. Many Democrats won their seats unopposed, after the seemingly disorganized Republican Town Committee failed to compile a full slate of candidates.
So it was unsurprising that when caucusing last Wednesday at the senior center, an assembly of 39 registered Republicans elected a 25-member body that included 17 people who were not on the committee at the start of the current term. Howard Daniels, Jr., Leonard Greene, Ursula Henry, Helen Mis, Brian Ploss, Susan Ploss, James Woodward and Judith Wrenn will be the eight holdovers when a new term begins in March.
Chairman John Blesse, himself a new addition, said the RTC will be marked by organization. Indeed, the caucus was an exercise in efficiency—a nominating subcommittee had already put together a list of 25 candidates, which was approved unanimously without further nominations from the floor.
“I think that the new Republican Town Committee is going to start having full slates [in elections] and like tonight, where we had a multitude of people to choose from—we had over 35 people on the original list and needed to narrow that down to 25,” Blesse said. “I think the promise to the voters of Beacon Falls is to expect full slates moving forward from the Republicans.”
Though Blesse acknowledged it may be difficult for his party to wield influence in local government, given Democrats’ majority stake of elected offices, he said it won’t sit back and wait for the next election.
“We’ve got a lot of open spots currently on many committees that are within Town Hall, so the plan would be to take the opportunity to get the balance back within those committees—those aren’t elected offices, necessarily, but appointed offices,” he explained. … “In addition to that, we’ve got a big mid-term election coming up, and Beacon Falls needs to be sure that it’s active and that our voice is heard in the importance of a mid-term election, not only for Beacon Falls, but for the state of Connecticut.”
A day later, last Thursday, the theme was staying strong, rather than getting strong, when Democrats caucused at Town Hall.
“We have always been a team united, proven with our full slate during the election and full committee tonight,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Kathy Grace said. “Our first selectman, Susan Cable, won her seventh term, in part due to the dedication and strong, united Democratic team.”
Among the committee’s 27 members, all but six are returners. Grace applauded her party for its stability, which she said is a product of resolving inevitable internal disagreements with respect.
“The Democratic Town Committee is solid, our leaders have proven experience and expertise, and are endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee,” she said. “As a team, we work through our differences without upheaval and discord.”
The DTC meets at 7 p.m. at Town Hall on the fourth Tuesday of every month. The RTC meets at the same time and location on the third Wednesday of every month.
Committee members elected last week
Peter J.Betkoski, Christopher J. Bielak, Anthony J. Botticello, Mary Anne E. Botticello, Arlene A. Brumer, Susan A. Cable, Alexandra L. Chamenko, Robert F. Doiron, Elizabeth T. Falzone, Sheryl Feducia, Mary Ellen Fernandes, Katherine G. Grace, Edmund M. Grace, Mary Anne Holloway, Lawrence Hutvagner, Mildred Jurzynski, Gary Komorowsky, Kevin M. McDuffie, Anita Parzuchowski, Louis Poeta, Joseph Rodorigo, Frank Semplenski, Sandi Sherwood, John Smith, James Trzaski, Christian A. Yanarella, Marion L. Zollo
Mark Altieri, William Baer, John Blesse, Robert Bovienzo, Harold Brent, Marc Bronn, Anne Comninel, Howard Daniels, Jr., Joseph Dowdell, Leonard Greene, Edward Groth, Urusla Henry, Ronald Holzman, Joseph Kmetz, Edward Korzon, Michael Krenesky, Louis, Krepinevich, Margaret Krepinevich, William McCasland, Helen Mis, Brian Ploss, Susan Ploss, Gerard Smith, James Woodward, Judith Wrenn