Ticket set for Beacon Falls First party

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith, right, speaks about the Beacon Falls First party’s slate of candidates as Library Board of Trustees candidate Rebecca Rubino listens Aug. 29 at Volunteer Park in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — Led by First Selectman Gerard Smith, the Beacon Falls First party’s inaugural slate of candidates for the November election is set.

Smith ran for first selectman as an unaffiliated candidate two years ago. He is still unaffiliated politically, but formed the Beacon Falls First party this year to put together a team to run for office.

The Beacon Falls First ticket is a mix of incumbents and newcomers, and candidates from different affiliations. The team Smith recruited is: incumbent Democrat Wendy Rodorigo for treasurer; newcomer Republican Steven West for Board of Finance; incumbent Republican Benjamin Smith and newcomers Democrat James Trzaski and Bruce Richard, who is unaffiliated, for Zoning Board of Appeals; newcomer Republican Rebecca Rubino for Library Board of Trustees.

“I believe in each and every one of them that they’re going to help us continue what we’ve begun in Beacon Falls,” said Smith as he announced the slate Aug. 29 at Volunteer Park.

Smith pointed to upgrades to the Pent Road Recreation Complex as well as securing grants for projects to repair Beacon Valley Road and Cook Lane as examples of what his administration accomplished over the past two years, in spite of having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith said his philosophy has always been that there shouldn’t be party politics at the local level.

“Everybody here is humble and they’re all serving for one reason, and that’s to better the town,” he said.

Smith sought the support of the Democratic and Republican town committees to run for re-election.

The Democratic Town Committee endorsed Peter Betkoski, chairman of the committee and a former selectman, to challenge Smith.

The Republican Town Committee is supporting Smith. The Republican slate of four candidates is running a joint campaign with the Beacon Falls First party.

“We’re looking forward to this election campaign. More importantly, another term working directly with Gerry because we have accomplished so much these past two years,” said Republican Town Committee Chairman Michael Krenesky, who is running for re-election as selectman on the Republican ticket.

The Republican Town Committee has endorsed incumbent Christine Arnold and newcomer Tiffany Lyga for the Region 16 Board of Education, and Douglas Bousquet for Board of Assessment Appeals.

The Republican and Beacon Falls First parties can’t officially cross endorse each other’s candidates on the ballot until the next election cycle. But they are running side by side nonetheless.

“For now we’re just a rogue bunch trying to crash the establishment, and I think we’re going to get it done and we’re going to do a great job,” Smith said.