Many New Voices, Seasoned with Esteemed, Experienced Public Servants
“Great flood”-level storms were no obstacle for the standing-room-only crowd of determined Democrats who caucused Monday evening, July 22, 2019, at Town Hall. Though scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm, the business of the caucus didn’t get fully underway until about 8 pm, as Cindy Bruno, Democratic Registrar of Voters, labored to check in the long line of over 100 Democrats eager to participate in choosing their nominees for the fall election.
Democrats nominated 25 candidates, over two-thirds of whom are first-time candidates. Ridgefield’s esteemed First Selectman Rudy Marconi headlined the core of experienced public servants who anchor the new slate. Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee (“DTC”) Vice Chair Aimee Berger-Girvalo presented the DTC-endorsed candidates. Each proposed nominee was invited to stand as their biographical brief was recited by Berger-Girvalo, Recruiting Director Glori Norwitt, Recording Secretary Angela Liptack, or Corresponding Secretary Joe Shapiro. DTC officers also described the exhaustive eight-month soliciting, recruiting, interviewing, vetting and endorsement process. Participation in the process, as either recruiter/interviewer or as potential candidate, was open to any Democrat registered in Ridgefield, repeatedly publicized in local press, online, in social media and at monthly DTC public meetings.
The DTC’s slates for the newly-established independent Inland Wetlands Board (IWB) and the Planning & Zoning Commission are composed of all first-time candidates with extensive conservation and zoning reform credentials. The DTC, which prominently advocated separation of the Inland Wetlands Board from the Planning & Zoning Commission, guided its recruiting efforts with the goal of advancing reform, transparency, accountability, and environmental conscientiousness. The DTC gratefully welcomed the assistance of the non-partisan IWB Search Committee, Ridgefield Conservation Committee Chair Jim Coyle, and members of neighborhood associations that have been active in zoning and conservation matters.
Warm, Rousing Ovation for Rudy
The caucus elected Mark Robinson to serve as Caucus Chair and DTC Corresponding Secretary Joe Shapiro to serve as Caucus Secretary. Following DTC Vice Chair Berger-Girvalo’s introduction of the DTC-endorsed candidates for each board or town-wide position, Robinson solicited nominations from the floor. Caucus participants signaled their unanimous approval of the DTC’s efforts by declining to propose floor nominees and by voting to nominate all the DTC-endorsed candidates. First Selectman Rudy Marconi received a warm, rousing standing ovation as he was nominated.
First Selectman Marconi addressed the caucus, thanking the participants for braving the intimidating weather. Marconi also thanked his fellow candidates, the DTC officers and members, and the incumbent officials who are not seeking election this fall. He stressed the need for volunteers to assist in the coming campaign and to turn out voters in large numbers to ensure the outstanding candidates nominated at caucus will serve our town in municipal office after the election.
According to DTC Chair Alex Harris (who was out of state during the caucus), “The large number of highly qualified Democrats of goodwill who stepped forward to serve our town has been truly inspiring. The breadth and diversity of applicants enabled the DTC to nominate the largest, deepest, most impressive slate in memory and to seek majorities on every local board.”
Berger-Girvalo added, “The Democratic slate balances proven, highly-experienced public servants and innovative new faces, subject-matter experts, analytic and business acumen, and deep community roots. This outstanding Democratic team will safeguard Ridgefield’s beauty and quintessential charm, while enhancing quality of life, accountability and responsiveness, in the best interests of all Ridgefield residents.”
Democrats Express Town’s Gratitude to Zemo, Mancini, Walton & Savoca
Harris expressed Ridgefield Democrats’ immense gratitude to current Democratic officeholders whose terms expire in November and who are not seeking reelection. “Ridgefield Democrats greatly appreciate the personal sacrifices, dedication, goodwill and public service of Board of Selectmen member Steve Zemo, Board of Finance member/Vice Chair Jessica Jane Mancini, Board of Education member and former Chair Fran Walton, and Planning & Zoning Commission member Cathy Savoca. Our town is better for their service and we wish them well in all their future endeavors.”
The Democratic nominees:
- First Selectman: Rudy Marconi
- Board of Selectmen:
- Barbara Manners
- Sean Connelly
- Town Treasurer: Molly McGeehin
- Town Clerk: Karen K. Breckenridge
- Tax Collector: Nathan Shapiro
- Board of Finance:
- Dave Ulmer
- Karen Ogden
- Board of Education:
- Jonathan Steckler
- Ken Sjoberg
- Planning & Zoning Commission:
- Susan Consentino
- Rob Hendrick
- Ben Nneji
- Inland Wetlands Board:
- Susan Baker
- Tracey Miller
- Kory Salomone
- David Tatge
- Zoning Board of Appeals:
- Sky Cole
- Joseph Pastore
- Zoning Board of Appeals Alternates:
- Robert Byrnes
- Aaron Lockwood
- Board of Assessment Appeals: Stan Galanski
- Board of Police Commissioners:
- Arnold DiLaura
- George Kain
- Nick Perna
Ridgefield Democrats thank everyone who participated in the caucus, especially our outstanding candidates who offer their time and service to our treasured town.