BEACON FALLS — First Selectman Susan Cable will once again lead the Democratic Party in November’s elections.
“Susan approaches her eighth term with the same energy, enthusiasm, and commitment she approached her office with in 1995,” said Jack Betkoski, Cable’s brother who nominated her at Tuesday night the Democratic Town Committee’s caucus.
When Cable first took office, Betkoski said, Beacon Falls had a stagnant industrial park, no high school, and a tired downtown. Under her leadership, he said, Woodland High School celebrated its 10th anniversary, Beacon Falls Commerce Park is open for business, downtown is becoming a beautiful village with many eateries and businesses, Depot Street bridge was restored through grant money, and work is beginning on a streetscape for residents to enjoy the Naugatuck River downtown.
In addition, a study committee is beginning work on a new media center, Betkoski said.
“We are going to have a community media center that will outshine them all,” Cable said, dismissing those who would “move backwards,” a reference to those who oppose razing the house on the Wolfe Avenue property where the center is planned.
Betkoski said that instead of retiring after 35 years as a special education teacher, Cable continues to work for Beacon Falls 24/7 at an hourly rate of $3.88.
“Susan is not afraid to face tough challenges and doesn’t run away when the going gets tough,” Betkoski said.
Peter Betkoski, also Cable’s brother, seconded the nomination.
“We love this town. We were born and raised here, and I believe we’re going to die here,” he said. “Beacon Falls is heading in the right direction.”
Along with her eight terms as first selectman, Cable was also the minority selectman for three terms.
“During those years I have worked tirelessly for the town and will continue to do so with fiscal responsibility and a vision for the future,” Cable said when she announced her candidacy July 22.
The committee endorsed a full slate of candidates, with current Board of Finance Chair Chris Bielik receiving the nod to be Cable’s running mate for selectman.
Cable said she holds her running mate in high regard.
“Once again Chris is stepping up to the plate,” Cable said. “Chris and I have a shared vision.”
Bielik recently assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Finance after former Chair Gerard Smith stepped down due to work obligations. Smith is now running for first selectman for the Republican Party.
“Nobody was more surprised as I was when the chairman at the time decided to resign right at the time of the budget cycle,” Bielik said when he announced his candidacy July 22.
Bielik said one of the main reasons he decided to run for selectman was because he wanted to be more involved in the town.
“I think that being selectman gives you a much broader range of opportunity than simply the Board of Finance aspect of it,” Bielik said.
Bielik said he moved to Beacon Falls seven years ago after leaving the U. S. Navy as a commander after 22 years.
“As a family we made a decision together to move to Beacon Falls because we thought that this town had everything that we were looking for—a nice, small, tight community,” Bielik said.
This is Bielik’s first run for elected office after being appointed to the Board of Finance in September and serving on the Conservation Commission for two years.
While pledging to be fiscally responsible, Bielik said he would pursue growth in Beacon Falls. He said now is the time to be smart and seize opportunities.
“In a tough economic time like this is now, this is the time for growth. You can get deals that are out there now that will take you into the future, better at this time than at times of boom economies,” Bielik said.
Current Democratic Selectman Dominic Sorrentino decided not to run again to spend more time with his family.
“The community will miss him,” Cable said.
At the June 22 announcement, Democratic Town Committee Chair Kathy Grace said Cable is excellent at securing grants for the town.
She said Cable is a wonderful, caring person, who knows how to keep people’s personal business out of public conversation.
“There is no substitute, none, for proven leadership, commitment, and experience. And that’s what I bring to this community,” Cable said.
At the Democratic Caucus Tuesday, Cable nominated her sometimes opponent and former First Selectman Art Daigle as treasurer.
“Art will be our watchdog as he has always promoted himself. I have had the pleasure of opposing him, fairly, in many elections, as you know, but also working with him on the Board of Selectman and he’s done a great job,” Cable said.
Daigle has also been president of Beacon Falls baseball and chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee. He said he knows he can do the job and has an unequivocal love for the community.
“When I have something to say, I’m going to say it,” Daigle promised.
If elected treasurer, Daigle said he would watch over monies coming in and out of Beacon Falls and make sure the town’s financial records are in good shape.
Lou DiPiro said he didn’t take his nomination to run for the Board of Finance lightly. During his 12 years in Beacon Falls, DiPiro said he was asked a few times to run for Board of Finance, but this is the first time he’s run. He said he’s worked in banking for 21 years and owns two companies.
Erik Dey, who endorsed to run for the Library Board, is a newcomer to town politics, but he said he has experience as an educator in the Columbia University Vision for the Future think tank and as a professor at the International University in Vienna.
The other nominee for Library Board, Arlene Brumer, held served on a slew of commissions in Seymour’s town government, including Library Board of Directors, Board of Education, Planning and Zoning, and Board of Finance, before moving to Beacon Falls over two years ago. She has also been on the Inland Wetlands Commission in Beacon Falls.
“I think Susan’s brought the town forward over many years, and I’m honored to be on the slate,” Brumer said.
Current Board of Education member Wendy Oliveira was endorsed to run for a second term on the Region 16 school board. She said she enjoyed her first four years and looks forward to continuing to make a difference for children. She said she wants to work on the new elementary school planned to replace Algonquin and Community schools in Prospect and renovations planned for Laurel Ledge Elementary in Beacon Falls. She said she’s proven herself on the board over the past four years.
Region 16 Board of Education Vice Chair Priscilla Cretella, who’s unaffiliated, was cross-endorsed by Democrats and Republicans to run again. Cretella has served 25 years on the school board.
William Giglio is running for her second term on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He said he enjoys the work and knows he can make a difference. He said he believes in town growth and offers sound input to the board.
“I do a great job. Period.” Giglio said.
On the Zoning Board of Appeals, Giglio said he makes judgments that are important to individuals asking for something outside the usual rules.
Long-time Tax Collector Millie Jurzynski I seeking her 11th term in office. She said she has collected more back taxes than any before her. Even though the position is part-time, Jurzynski said she works almost every day, working more hours than other tax collectors before her.
“I just love working for the town,” Jurzynski said.
Cable said she was excited about the Democratic ticket.
“I am rejuvenated, and we’re going to rejuvenate Beacon Falls,” Cable said.