Naugatuck Republicans back slate, lack mayor candidate

From left, Naugatuck Republican Town Committee Treasurer Seth Bronko, Board of Education member Jeff Litke and committee Chairwoman Catherine Ernsky go over paperwork during the committee’s caucus July 17 at Naugatuck Town Hall. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Republican Town Committee last week endorsed a nearly full slate of candidates for the November municipal election. The only thing missing was a candidate to run for mayor.

The committee backed candidates at a July 17 caucus. Committee Chairwoman Catherine Ernsky said no one came forward to run for the mayor’s seat, which is held by Democrat Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess.

Whether it’s someone serving on a board or a newcomer to politics, Ernsky said it’s a big leap to run for mayor and it can be challenging to find candidates.

“For the average citizen, that’s a big jump,” she said.

Ernsky encouraged people to attend the committee’s meetings, to ask questions and get involved. She felt the role of political town committees is to work for the betterment of the town and serve as a resource to help people, which is why she said she’s thrilled to have several newcomers on the Republican slate this year.

“In addition to our incumbents, I am excited to have new talented and enthusiastic candidates to add to our slate,” she said. “We have knowledgeable incumbents and with the innovation and energy that the new candidates bring it will not only serve the Republicans well but more importantly the residents of Naugatuck.”

For the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, the committee endorsed incumbents Robert Neth, Jack DeOliveira, Mike Bronko and Don Wisniewski. Matthew Tansley and Jan Joseph Mizeski got the nod to run, as well. Tansley is a member of the Arts Commission and Mizeski serves on the Board of Finance.

There are nine burgess seats on the board and one party can only hold six of them.

For the Board of Education, the committee endorsed incumbents Dorothy Neth-Kunin, who is chair of the board, Glenn Connan, Jeffrey Litke and Diana Malone along with newcomer Marilyn O’Donnell.

The school board has nine members, including the mayor. The most seats one party can hold is five, not counting the mayor.

Burgess Dorothy Hoff and school board member Scott Slauson, both Republicans, didn’t seek re-election, Ernsky said.

The committee endorsed incumbents Town Clerk Michelle Dowling and Treasurer Judy Anderson for re-election, and backed Kasdyn Click to challenge for tax collector.

The committee endorsed incumbent Richard Cool and Attila “AJ” Bordas for Zoning Commission. For Planning Commission, Robert Pease, who chairs the commission, and Robert Clark, an alternate on the commission, were endorsed.

The committee endorsed Christopher Kiernan, Seth Bronko, Daniel Renzoni and Kim Kiernan for bailiff.