Groton swears in new Town Council of nine Democrats

Groton — The newly elected, all-Democratic Groton Town Council was sworn in Tuesday and unanimously elected Councilor Patrice Granatosky as town mayor.

Sworn in were Granatosky, a teacher at Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School; Richard Moravsik, the only member of the previous council to be re-elected in November; Rita Schmidt, who previously served as a town councilor; Lian Obrey, a real estate broker who served on the Representative Town Meeting; Conrad Heede, the chairman of the Groton Democratic Town Committee; Rachael Franco, a business manager in Norwich; Juliette Parker, the administrative assistant to the Groton City police chief; David Atwater, who served as a selectman in Maine for six years, and Joe Zeppieri, a retired orthopedic surgeon who now practices law.

“To the people of Groton, we thank you for entrusting us with this awesome responsibility,” Granatosky said, speaking before about 40 people in the Council Chambers. “Our priorities are to work together to respect and value all of Groton, to pursue smart economic development, working with our business partners while balancing the needs of the community; to advocate for strong schools, assuring equal opportunity for all our students; to support public safety and community policing; to develop our parks and recreation and to safeguard our natural beauty; and to make informed public decisions that will result in positive, long-term plans.”

Obrey said harmony is important to her and, she believes, all council members. “We want to show the proper respect for the people of Groton and we are here to listen and to not judge,” she said.

State Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, and state Reps. Christine Conley and Joe de la Cruz, D-Groton, congratulated the councilors and offered their support while working in Hartford.

Former Town Councilor Genevieve Cerf asked the new council to provide more opportunities for residents to speak during meetings. Under the current rules and structure, residents may speak during public comment at regular council meetings, but not when the council meets as a committee of the whole. Cerf said that only provides one meeting per month for residents to speak.

d.straszheim@theday.com 

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