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Republicans Dominate Municipal Elections

Republicans Win RTM, Board of Education As Several Long-Serving Democrats Are Ousted

It was a good night to be a Republican in Waterford.

Tuesday’s municipal election gave the Republicans control of the Board of Education and the Representative Town Meeting. First Selectman Dan Steward and running mate Paul Suprin cruised to victory, and Waterford's GOP increased its majority on the Board of Finance.

“I think the townspeople have spoken,” Republican Town Committee Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty said. “They appreciate the Republicans and what they are doing in town.”

Steward won by more than 2,000 votes over petitioning independent challenger Kevin Ziolkovski. And every Republican who ran for the Board of Finance and the Board of Education won, as the GOP now has a 6-3 majority on the education board and a 5-2 majority on the finance board.

“What I am really happy for is we successfully provided a lot of new participants in this program,” Steward said. “These are people who are interested, they are invested in this process, they are new to a lot of it and it just provides a lot of fresh ideas we can move forward with.”

The Republicans also took control of the RTM. Going into the race, each party had 11 members on the board, but the Republicans took an extra seat, now having a 12-10 majority.

“We now have no excuse,” said Republican Robert Brule, who received more votes than any other person running for RTM. “We need to deliver.”

The Other Side

Meanwhile, several long-serving Democrats lost. Chief among them was Board of Education Chairman Donald Blevins, who came in 7th in the race for Board Education, where only the top five were elected.

Still, Democratic Town Chairwoman Susan Driscoll said it was not what the town Democrats were doing. Instead, it was a reflection of the general climate of the country, she said.

“It is a municipal election,” Driscoll said. “There is not always a rhyme or a reason to the results.”

Democrat J.W. “Bill” Sheehan, who won re-election to the Board of Finance, echoed those thoughts.

“Four years ago, Bush was in the White House, and the (Democrats) were enthusiastic about throwing him out,” Sheehan said. “So they threw out the Republicans here (in Waterford) and we swept everything but the first selectman spot. And four years later, the country is a little bit over on the other side, and our folks are not as enthusiastic because times are not exactly rosy.”

Meanwhile, Democrats Sheehan and Atul Shah were “surprised” that Republican David Kenney won a spot on the Board of Education.

“There is one person who got on the Board of (Education) who we think is going to make things very interesting for the Board of Education,” Sheehan said.

“Good news is we will be cured of liberalism, a mental disorder,” said Shah sarcastically, referring to a comment Kenney made earlier in the election season.

waterford worker November 09, 2011 at 10:57 AM
It is also interesting to note, that there is now 4 members of the Waterford Fire Service elected to the RTM
George M November 09, 2011 at 01:18 PM
We all will need to keep an eye on Kenney, he's as anti gay as they come. I hope we didn't just put an anti gay bully on the board.
BJ November 09, 2011 at 01:42 PM
GM: What does it mean to be "anti-gay?" Our children are bombarded in every direction with 'sexual' messages, this fact is an immoral shame and stopping it should be the focus NOT making sure that the 'gay' message gets equal time.
George M November 09, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Well I disagree, things like GSA's are great for gay kids and the school. Equal time is a good thing that Includs your views aswell. Making all kids feel safe and welcomed in their school has always been part of Waterford I just hope he doesn't change that. So yeah that's what I mean. He started right from the gate making comments, obviously you agree with him your right but not my issue
Rick Beaney November 09, 2011 at 02:36 PM
This is what annoys me about politics. The headline is about which party did better, the other party making excuses as to why they didn't do so well. I am an independent and voted for people that I thought have done, or will do a good job and hopefully share my views on most matters. I voted for people who I think or hope are in it for the right reasons. Mr. Blevins lost because he was not in it for the right reasons (the students), not because of some anti-democratic party movement. I hoped Jessica McLaughlin were re-elected as she seemed level-headed and actually took into consideration feedback from citizens. David Kenney's views are a concern to me and I am surprised that he was elected but we'll see what happens.
Jenelle November 09, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Kate MacKenzie did a terrific job in her campaign for town clerk (she lost by only nine percentage points)! NEXT TIME !!
BJ November 09, 2011 at 06:27 PM
GM: I think you are making a big leap to say that I "agree" (presumably with Kenney) because I am still trying to figure out how a student knows that they are "gay." They are CHILDREN, let's let them be children and stop sexualizing them. While I am a proponent of getting the government OUT of the schools completely, that is not going to happen anytime soon. In the mean time the schools should be there teaching our children; the curriculum should be free from non-essentials (which, as near as I can tell, is where Kenney is coming from, but I do NOT know that for sure). I think that there is a big difference from being "anti-gay" and saying: "let's NOT talk about "this" issue at school." Many thing that are "good" have been banned from school because somebody is offended/excluded; yet other things are added in the name of political correctness (or worse yet the addition is reverse discrimination or for purpose of advancing a "protected status"). The left is obsessed with the separation of church and state (as they wrongly define it), yet they are out of control wildly spending taxpayer money to forward the cause/agenda of ANY group that will give them votes (more power). ENOUGH!
George M November 09, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Bj don't know why it wouldnt go up there sorry You really don't know how someone tells if their attracted to on sex or not? Whatever You are right I don't know for sure how you feel, and I really don't care. I agree that religion should be allowed in school if a student wants it, I don't really care about that either. I guess we'll see where he goes with his thinking. I'm sorry you feel good things have been taken, I just disagree. I think the high school is a great place to learn and be if your str8, gay, religious, non religious, green red or blue. A lot of Great people worked hard to make it that was I just hope he doesn't feel the need to destroy it. Again bj my opinion
BJ November 09, 2011 at 09:41 PM
GM: To answer your question... I do know that children are pliable, malleable, and easily influenced; I do know that there is no need for them to be distracted from their studies by feelings they have no idea how to properly deal with (let alone take responsibility for); I do know that the things children think they know (as children) is not what is best for them, and if they had the wisdom of their later years would make different choices. What is the hurry? And what does any of this have to do with taxpayer supported school? If Kenney is unfit for the job, we will know soon enough, but he is just one vote on a team. And if he represents the opinion of others (as well as himself), then we should hear that opinion too. This country has progressively slid to the left since its founding, so far in fact that it is no longer recognizable as having any relationship to the founders' intentions for it. So if Kenney is willing to publicly ruffle some feathers to make a point; if he is willing to take a stand on moral grounds; if he can slow the slide to destruction the left is aiming for, well good for him. But he proves himself a hateful bully who just wants to hurt people for the sake of hurting them, then together let's make sure he is voted out.
George M November 09, 2011 at 10:16 PM
Ok great BJ I agree with you we'll see
Don B November 11, 2011 at 02:58 PM
I had not intended to comment on the election results, but since I was singled out by Mr. Beaney, I would like to make my position and votes on the Board of Education clear. I seriously am hurt by the comment that I '...was not in it for the right reason (students)...' I can attest that all the board members I have served with and most Board members across the state and nation that I have are indeed "in it" for the students. We have all disagreed occasionally over the last 12 years, but we differed on how best to help all the students, not on whether to help them. There have been comments about my vote to retain the full budget for Board professional development during the past budget season. Paul asked if in light of the election I would have changed my votes. Emphatically not. The board consists of 9 average citizens with various backgrounds. They are charged with ultimate responsibility for a $50,000,000 a year operation with over 400 employees, and the care of the children of Waterford from ages 5 to 18 (most spend more time in our schools than they do anywhere else), ensuring that over 100 federal and state mandates, many having little to do with education as we think of it, are fulfilled. I think board members who do not attend workshops and seminars are guilty of at least negligence. Many states require professional development hours as a condition of Board of Education membership.
constance stripling November 13, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Thank goodness Kenney holds little sway with only one vote. Troubling to me is the fact that he is perceived as "anti-gay". How do children know their sexuality? If we listen to those who have struggled with this,they DO know. Many say they have known from an early age. ALL students should be allowed to learn in a safe and unbiased enviornment. We have all read the tragic stories of students who were bullied to death at school and on line. YES ,the schools are obligated to thwart this at all turns. Will Mr. Kenney feel the same? Not if he is anti-gay,as you say. I don't respect his ruffling feathers if it involves policy that undermines protection of every student from bullying. I'm one who believes our children must learn to defend themselves since the world can be such an ugly place. High school should prepare students for this not subject them to it . Hope Mr. Kenney recognizes this. I wonder if he is able!

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