Majority of candidates currently unopposed in Beacon Falls
BEACON FALLS — The November election isn’t shaping up to be much of an election in Beacon Falls.
The Republican and Democratic town committees endorsed candidates for the election at caucuses last month. The Republican Town Committee endorsed just three candidates, and didn’t back a candidate to challenge incumbent Democrat First Selectman Chris Bielik. The Democratic Town Committee endorsed a full slate.
Currently, the only contest in the upcoming election is for the Zoning Board of Appeals. There are two seats up for election and three endorsed candidates: Democrats Tony Smith and Robert Doiron and Republican Douglas Bousquet, the current chairman of the board.
Bousquet was one of three candidates the Republican Town Committee endorsed at its caucus. The other two were current Treasurer Michael Krenesky for selectman and Joe Dowdell for Board of Finance.
Republican Randi Bellemare has taken out a petition to force a Republican primary to run for a seat on the Library Board of Trustees, according to the town clerk’s office. If she collects the required 47 signatures, and no other Republican candidates step forward to primary, she will automatically be on the Republican ticket. If successful, Bellemare will be the third candidate running for two seats on the library board. The other two candidates are Democrats Barbara Betkoski and Darlene Ragozzine.
Registered Democrats and Republicans have until Aug. 12 to turn in a petition for a primary. However, according to Republican Town Committee Chairwoman Kathy Brown, no other Republican has expressed any interest in running for office.
Of the three endorsed candidates on the Republican slate, she pointed out, two of them — Dowdell and Bousquet — are running for re-election.
“I think either people aren’t interested or they aren’t available. People have moved away that were active in the past,” Brown said.
At the top of the Democratic ticket, Bielik and incumbent Selectman Peter Betkoski were endorsed for re-election. If no first selectman challenger steps forward, Bielik, Betkoski and Krenesky will win by default.
Priscilla Cretella and David Rybinski were endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee to run for the Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, and are currently unopposed, as well.
The Democratic Town Committee also endorsed Tax Collector Mary Anne Holloway for re-election and Deputy Treasurer Wendy Rodorigo for treasurer, both are unopposed.
Brown said having so many spots open on a slate is not a common occurrence in town.
“This is just my fifth year in Beacon Falls, but from what people are telling me about what happened in the past, this is unusual,” Brown said. “We had a full slate during the last election.”
Town Clerk Len Greene Sr., a Republican, said he has been involved in politics in Beacon Falls for over 30 years and couldn’t recall a time when either party had such a small slate of candidates.
Democrats also endorsed Jim Huk for the Board of Finance and Gary Komarowsky for the Board of Assessment Appeals.
Greene said each party is only able to nominate one candidate for the Board of Finance. He added that since there are two Republicans currently on the Board of Assessment Appeals only the Democrats were able to nominate a candidate.
Despite not facing a challenge, Bielik and his running mate, Betkoski, are approaching the election as if they are facing competition.
“The fact is that, no matter what occurs, we’re still going to take the same approach we did last time around,” Bielik said. “Last time we got out to every road in town. Between the time we started on Labor Day weekend and the election we had feet on the ground of every street in Beacon Falls. I don’t see how that situation would change in any great degree.”
Bielik attributed the Democrat’s slate to the Democratic Town Committee’s history of “active engagement.”
“Historically, the town and the DTC have done a great job of gauging the interest of concerned residents. They find not only interested but well-qualified people for the positions,” Bielik said. “We are lucky we have such a well-qualified bench to draw from.”
On the Republican side, candidates just never materialized.
“We’ve asked people and they just aren’t interested right now,” Brown said.