By SHERIDAN ROY
The Southington Democratic Town Committee held their caucus for the 2019 municipal election, officially selecting candidates for town council (six seats), board of education (six seats), board of finance (four seats), planning and zoning commission (three seats), board of water commissioners (one seat) and town clerk (one seat).
For town council, the SDTC nominated incumbents Chris Palmieri, John Barry, Kelly Morrissey, and Chris Poulos to seek reelection with the addition of newcomers Anthony Mazzarella and Val DePaolo.
For BOE, the SDTC nominated David Derynoski, Bob Brown, Lisa Cammuso, and Zaya Oshana to seek reelection with newcomers Lauren Johns and George Doherty.
For BOF, the SDTC nominated incumbents Sue Zoni and Kevin Beaudoin, along with newcomers Don Rinaldi and Ryan Rogers.
For PZC, SDTC nominated three newcomers: Val Guarino, Caleb Cowles and Christina Volpe.
For board of water commissioners, the SDTC nominated SDTC chair Bob Berkmoes, and for town clerk, the committee nominated current clerk Kathy Larkin to seek reelection.
Berkmoes thanked the committee for their nominations and for support of their candidates. “This is the way a democracy should be run,” he said. “We care about our community, about our city, our state and our country with respect and dignity.”
Berkmoes said the incumbent Democrats have worked hard over the last two years, and he said that they did good work holding majority in the council. He said that the party remains “very interested and eager to campaign this coming fall.”
To the newcomers, Berkmoes said, “I know you’re going to get elected. Keep up the good work, and remember what we have to do.”
Town council chair Chris Palmieri said he is proud of the work the Democrats have done in the majority.
“I hope you’ve seen a different tone, one that is more positive, inclusive, open and honest,” he said. “Looking back at our platform from two years ago, I think we delivered on that.”
Some accomplishments Palmieri pointed out included the return of the committee of the chairs, creation of a council Facebook page, monthly department presentations at council meetings, a zero mill rate increase in 2018 followed by a 0.16 increase in 2019, ongoing discussions regarding public transportation, and the formation of a property tax relief committee.
“I think we’ve made positive changes in town,” he said. “Now, we need your help to continue our momentum.”
One of the town council’s long-time representatives, Dawn Miceli, announced that she would not seek reelection in 2019. Miceli has served the council since 2009 and is the current vice chair.
During her tenure on the council, Miceli spearheaded the revival of the Southington Drive-In, the creation of the new arts center in the historic Gura building, the “Act On It” anti-vandalism policy, revision to the Southington preferred bidding ordinance, launching of White Christmas in the Community, the town’s first pollinator garden, the establishment of the Southington Chamber of Commerce business forums, the resurgence of ice skating in town, and several open space events and undertakings.
“One of the things that I am most proud of is the fact that I always garnered private funding for most of my initiatives and projects,” Miceli said in a press release. “I sought private donations from residents and businesses and wrote many grants for the town and several civic organizations with whom I’m involved. I never wanted to just depend on tax dollars, and I hope that’s something the next batch of councilors will take into consideration.”
In a press release, Berkmoes thanked Miceli for her years of service, and said she had “a huge impact on the quality of life in Southington.”
“Every step forward that we have made in the last decade has her fingerprints on it,” he said in a press release. “It is almost impossible to drive down any street in town without being reminded of the contributions she has made.”
Each of the newcomers shared a few words after receiving their nominations. All of them shared similar sentiments: an eagerness to begin campaigning, and gratitude for the vote of confidence from their Democratic peers.
According to the 2019 election calendar from the secretary of the state’s office, the town clerk must certify both the Democratic and Republican endorsements by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24. Primary and nominating petitions must be filed by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7. If there is a primary, it will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.