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Urgo beats out young farmer for North Stonington first selectman

North Stonington — Michael Urgo, a Farmers Insurance agent who is unaffiliated but ran with the endorsements of the Democratic Town Committee and the Independent Party, won his bid for first selectman.

His win came in an election when a full turnover of the three-member Board of Selectmen was the only outcome.

Urgo garnered 1,025 votes, while 776 went to Republican Asa Palmer, a 22-year-old dairy farmer who said he's been following town government since age 14.

"I'm thrilled," said Urgo, 40. "I'm really excited for the opportunity, and I'm happy that it was a really big turnout."

There were 1,830 ballots cast, representing turnout above 43 percent.

Neither First Selectman Shawn Murphy, nor Selectmen Nicholas Mullane or Mark Donahue, were running for re-election. Nita Kincaid and Bob Carlson each ran unopposed for the two selectmen seats. Carlson is a Republican who has been serving as chairman of the Board of Education, and Kincaid is a petitioning candidate who worked as a teacher and then at Fidelity Investments before retiring.

Donahue lost his bid for town treasurer against Republican incumbent Robin Roohr, with 648 votes to her 1,066.

The losing candidate for first selectman previously could apply for a selectman seat, but this provision for "bumping" was done away with at a town meeting in February 2016.

Urgo has served on the Board of Finance, Ad Hoc School Building Committee, School Modernization Committee, NoStoFest and North Stonington Quarterly. He feels the town needs to become less dependent on state funding, is in favor of the town hiring a finance and administration officer, and would like to see development along Route 2.

Urgo said Tuesday night his priorities are attracting more businesses to the town, streamlining some efficiencies and improving communication.

Palmer, a lifelong North Stonington resident, sits on the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission. He initially considered running for the Board of Finance but entered the first selectman race upon seeing a lack of candidates.

He ran with the campaign slogan, "Had enough? I have!" He clarified at the Nov. 1 debate that what he has had enough of is seeing people get taxed out of their homes and people not taking "fast enough action to account for the impending state cuts."

After learning of the results, Palmer said, "I did the best I could, but I'm going to try to be more involved and serve the town."

His plan is to get back on the farm, and to get on boards and commissions in town.

Moderator Debbie Barnes said it was a "brisk" day for voting, and Republican Registrar Gladys Chase said she thought there was a good turnout.

Dexter Herron, 52, was saddened by the lack of selection among candidates, saying there’s a “certain malaise or depression in North Stonington that nobody is willing to serve.” He voted for Palmer, based on the candidate’s admission that he is being “crushed” by taxes.

Kristen Butremovic, 44, said she voted for Urgo because of his experience and because she feels that as an unaffiliated candidate, he sees both sides.


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