The West Hartford Republican Town Committee held its nominating convention Monday night.
By Ronni Newton
The West Hartford Republican Town Committee met at Town Hall Monday night and endorsed a slate of candidates for the November 2019 municipal election.
Republicans have nominated five candidates for seats on the Town Council. Incumbents Chris Williams and Mary Fay have been endorsed, along with newcomers Al Cortes, a 20-year correctional officer with the Connecticut Department of Corrections; Rick Bush, a real estate broker and property manager; and Lee Gold, an attorney.
Minority Leader Chris Barnes, three-term incumbent, will not be seeking re-election to the Town Council.
The RTC also endorsed Mark Zydanowicz, who has served on the Board of Education since being appointed to fill the remainder of Ellen Brassil’s term in 2012. He was elected to a four-year term in 2015.
“I’m excited. I like our candidates and think we have a good group,” RTC Chair Dennis Swanton said in a phone interview.
Swanton said that the slate is diverse, and includes those with strong leadership experience as well as new ideas.
While platforms have not yet been publicly rolled out, Swanton indicated that taxes will clearly be a topic of discussion brought up by the Republican candidates this election season.
“Our taxes keep on going up, and our services are cut … it’s amazing to me,” said Swanton. He said that fewer miles of roadway are being resurfaced, fewer cars are being registered in town, people are moving out, and values of homes in the Mountain Road area have dropped.
“Now they’re increasing taxes more because the value has gone down … they’re going to have to face it. We keep kicking the can down the road, but it’s going to come to a head,” Swanton said of the Democratic majority.
Town Council terms are two years, and all nine seats are up for re-election this year. Republicans currently hold three seats, while the Democrats have held the highest-allowable majority of six seats for many years.
“I think there’s been a lot of friction with the Democrats this year,” Swanton said. “Maybe we’ll pick up a seat this year.”
The Board of Education has seven members, who serve in staggered four-year terms. Republicans currently hold two of those seats, and of those only Zydanowicz is up for re-election this year.
A total of three seats on the Board of Education are up for grabs this November, in addition to the special election for the remaining two years of Cheryl Greenberg’s seat, to which Democrat Amanda Aronson was appointed earlier in July.
Republicans did not endorse a candidate for Town Clerk, which is an elected position. Democrat Essie Labrot has served as Town Clerk since 2008.
The West Hartford DTC held a nominating convention on July 18, and parties must submit a certified list of all endorsed candidates to Labrot by 4 p.m. on July 24.
We-Ha.com will shortly ask all candidates to complete an identical questionnaire and will publish that information as it is received.
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