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New London Green Party endorses City Council, school board candidates

New London — The New London Green Party on Thursday announced candidates for both City Council and the Board of Education in upcoming municipal elections.

Former Public Works Director Tim Hanser and Planning and Zoning Commission member Ronna Stuller will run for a seat on the seven-member City Council.

Current school board member Mirna Martinez and U.S. Navy veteran Jason Morris each are seeking a spot on the Board of Education.

Martinez, a bilingual educator who has worked in several local schools, is a founding member of the New London Parent Advocates. She is cross-endorsed by the Republican Party.

Stuller said Martinez was cross-endorsed two years ago and that the two party platforms have some overlap when it comes to being fiscally conservative. They are miles apart, she said, on public safety issues.

“We’re not far apart on some things. I think the reason people like Mirna get cross-endorsed is that she reads every policy that comes before the Board of Education. If she thinks the city is not getting a good deal, she’ll make that known.”

Stuller, a retired early childhood educator, served on the school board from 2009-11 and was also cross-endorsed by Republicans. She is a founding member and treasurer of Riverside Park Conservancy, and producer and host of the New London Green Party’s public access program, “Thinking Green.”

Republican Town Committee Chairman Bill Vogel, who is running for mayor, said Wednesday that the two parties had tried unsuccessfully to cross-endorse other candidates.

Stuller said the complication arose because of the state Green Party’s bylaws mandating that anyone cross-endorsed by the Green Party must be a registered Green Party member.

Stuller said she thinks a strong third-party representation in New London is important because of the dominance of the Democratic Party here.

The city is one of very few state municipalities without a minority representation rule, meaning one party can conceivably take all of the seats on both the City Council and Board of Education.

“New London has had a Democratic near monopoly for decades and party monopolies are not good for democracy. It can be a corrupting factor, even when your intentions are fine,” Stuller said.

She said the Greens sometimes ally themselves with Democrats and sometimes with Republicans because they tend to be more issue-oriented than personality-oriented.

The Green Party in 2011 supported Democratic Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio in the primary because of his support to block a proposed sale of Riverside Park. Finizio’s opponent, Michael Buscetto, was in favor of the sale.

“We saw that as a referendum on Riverside Park,” Stuller said.

Finizio is expected to square off against Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Passero as a petitioning candidate in a September primary.

Hanser, in a written statement, said the Green Party candidates all have unique personal experiences that can help make New London a better place to live and raise a family.

“Collectively, they represent a wide spectrum of interests and issues that have broad appeal to New London voters,” Hanser said.

g.smith@theday.com

Twitter: @SmittyDay

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