Democrat signs on as running mate
BEACON FALLS — Two weeks ago the top of the Republican ticket was uncertain. Republican First Selectman Gerard Smith and Republican Selectman David D’Amico received the nod to run for re-election. However, it was unclear at the time whether both, one or none of the men would be on the ballot come November.
On Saturday morning standing in the Beacon Falls Senior Center, Smith cemented his plans to seek a second term in office.
“There’s still so much more that I have left to get done,” said Smith, a 52-year-old real estate agent.
However, Smith will have a new running mate at his side. D’Amico is not seeking re-election because a new job doesn’t allow him the time to commit to the office.
Smith said he is sorry to see D’Amico go and it has been an honor to serve with him. Smith pointed to D’Amico’s efforts following Winter Storm Nemo, which dumped historic amounts of snow on the area in February. Smith said D’Amico worked for 138 hours in about a week leading the effort to clean up after the storm.
“The town of Beacon Falls owes a wealth of gratitude to Dave D’Amico,” Smith said.
D’Amico, who works in the construction field as a heavy equipment operator, thanked his wife, Noralie, for standing behind him and his parents. D’Amico also thanked the people of Beacon Falls for believing in him and electing him to office.
“It was an honor and a privilege,” D’Amico said about being a selectman.
When he was looking for a running mate to fill D’Amico’s “big shoes,” Smith took his search to the other side of the political aisle.
Former Selectman Dominick Sorrentino, a Democrat, will be Smith’s running mate. Sorrentino served on the Board of Selectmen from 2006 to 2009. He didn’t seek re-election in November 2009 and currently serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
“I just feel it’s the right thing to do, and I thank you for that. And I hope I can bring my experience to make Beacon Falls a better place for tomorrow,” Sorrentino said after being introduced as Smith’s running mate.
Sorrentino, 68, is retired but works part-time at Hallmark Marketing. He will remain a registered Democrat as he runs on the Republican ticket.
Sorrentino said he was unsure about running when Smith first approached him, but after thinking it over he agreed. He said his time with Smith on the Board of Selectmen was very rewarding.
Sorrentino added Smith has done a good job in his first term as first selectman and he should have a second term.
Smith said once Sorrentino agreed to run, his mind was set on seeking re-election.
Smith said Sorrentino is fair and looks at both sides of an issue before making a decision that is in the best interest of the town. Running with Sorrentino, Smith said, will help to build bipartisanship on the board.
“Hopefully, there’ll be no aisle to reach across,” he said.
Smith and Sorrentino will face off against Democrat Christopher Bielik, a retired naval officer who is serving his first term as selectman, and his running mate, Peter Betkoski, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee.
The remaining Republican ticket remained unchanged from the July 23 caucus.
Susan Ploss and Christine Arnold are running for the Region 16 Board of Education, which serves schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. Len Greene Sr. and Mike Krenesky are seeking re-election as town clerk and town treasurer respectively.
Brian Ploss is running for Board of Finance. Ed Groth is the tax collector candidate. Ben Catanzaro is running for Board of Assessment Appeals. Library Board of Directors candidates are Ronald Holzman and David Dlugos. Michael Arnold, Bill Mis and Ben Smith are running for Zoning Board of Appeals.
As Smith began his announcement flanked by his fellow candidates, he said it was a rough road to decide whether to continue on and putting together the Republican team was a daunting task.
“But the people that are here are willing to serve and continue on with what we started and what we wish to continue and move on with,” Smith said.