Wanted: New London council, school board candidates

New London - With just two weeks until the political caucuses when Republicans and Democrats must file with the state their slates for the November municipal election, both parties continue to work on their potential slates.

The committees are meeting July 23 and are reviewing applications for candidates to fill seven seats on the council and seven seats on the school board.

Bill Vogel, chairman of the Republican Town Committee, said the GOP will interview any potential candidates, including Democrats, Green Party members and independents.

"If people are interested in serving, we'd be happy to consider them,'' Vogel said. "We'd be interested in talking to them."

Democrats are also conducting interviews. Democrats represent six of the seven councilors and five of the seven school board members.

William Satti, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, said his committee is entertaining applications from any Democrats.

In this city where Republicans are out numbered about 5 to 1, Vogel is hoping this could be the year the GOP takes a majority of seats.

"We think we have a good chance," he said. "Democrats are split over those who support Mayor (Daryl Justin) Finizio and those who do not. It seems traditional New London Democrats are against some of Finizio's policies.

"I think we're going to have a good mix of candidates,'' he said.

In 2011, voters elected the first mayor in nearly a century to a four-year term. Finizio, a political newcomer, ran a successful primary to get on the ballot in 2011. He handily beat four challengers, including fellow Democrat, former city councilor and presumed favorite Michael Buscetto III.

On the council, Marie Friess-McSparran, who was elected in 2011 to her first two-year term, has parted ways with Democrats on some issues and feels she may not be welcomed back. She said she intends to run again, either on the Democratic ticket, or elsewhere.

Satti said the committee has not put together a slate yet.

"I have work that's not finished,'' Friess-McSparran said. "There are people in town who are very supportive of me, who have voiced that they very much want to see me run again. I think that is testament to the work that I've done."

Council President Michael Passero, a Democrat, said he is thinking about a third term.

"I'm getting a lot of pressure to run again. I can see myself doing it another two years,'' he said. "The long and short of it, is I'm thinking hard about it."

The other three councilors, Wade Hyslop, Donald Macrino and Anthony Nolan, have not announced their intentions. John Maynard said he will not be seeking re-election.

The lone Republican city councilor, Adam Sprecace, who has served three terms, also is unsure about the future.

"My life situation has evolved,'' he said, referring to his family and his oldest child, who will be entering high school in the fall. "That doesn't preclude another run, it just makes the decision more difficult.''

Since being elected in 2007, Sprecace said the position has become more time consuming, especially with the change to an elected mayor.

"With the new form of government, and not knowing the council's role, it really has been a struggle,'' he said. "It's been a ride."

Other possible candidates are Keith J. Robbins, a Republican and former first selectman of Bozrah who now lives in New London, who has announced he wants to run for council; and Carl Lee, a Democrat and longtime volunteer, who announced in January that he was going to run for council as a petitioning candidate.

On the school board, Democrat Delanna Muse and Republican Barbara Major have said they do not plan to seek re-election.

Republican Jason Catala, who was first elected to the school board in 1997, has committed to seek re-election.

Jason Morris, a parent who regularly attends Board of Education meetings, is seeking a seat as an independent.

Bill Morse, Sylvia Potter, Elizabeth Garcia-Gonzalez and Margret Curtin, all Democrats, have not indicated if they will run again but party chairman Satti said none have said they do not want to be re-elected

Vogel said some possible candidates have said they do not want to run for school board because the district is under the supervision of a state-appointed special master. But with the school district going to an all-magnet system, the first in the state, the school board will be more important than ever, he said.

"There's never been more dynamic changes in the public schools," he said. "This is the ideal time for people to be on the ground floor of huge changes.''

k.edgecomb@theday.com

If interested

Potential candidates should contact:

Democratic Town Committee
Chairman William Satti
(860)235-0341

Republican Town Committee
Chairman William Vogel
(860) 442.5459 or bill@newlondonrepublicans.com

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