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East Lyme ballot features full slate of candidates, a mix of new and familiar

East Lyme — Come Election Day, town residents will be selecting from more than 40 candidates running for spots on seven boards and commissions.

Every race this election year, except for one, will be contested, while names appearing on the ballot are a mix of new and familiar.

For the Board of Selectmen, six candidates — mostly incumbents — are seeking the town's five selectman seats. Democrats Rose Ann Hardy and Daniel R. Cunningham, both incumbents, and Jason Deeble, who would be new to the board, and Republicans Marc L. Salerno, Paul T. Dagle and Kevin A. Seery, all incumbents, are running for two-year terms on the board.

Hardy, 75, who is married with two children, has been on the Board of Selectmen for 34 years and is a teacher at East Lyme High School. She also has served on three Charter Revision Commissions and previously served on the Zoning Commission, Planning Commission, Economic Development Commission, Conservation Commission, Waterford/East Lyme Shellfish Commission, Natural Resources Commission, the Commission on Aging, Smith Harris Commission, Visiting Nurses of SECT and the Water & Sewer Commission.

Cunningham, 65, an attorney in Niantic who is married with four children and was a mock trial attorney coach at the high school for 21 years, is seeking his third term. Cunningham also has served as an ex-officio member of the Historic Properties Commission, Waterford/East Lyme Shellfish Commission and Brookside Farm Museum Commission. He also is presently a member the Public Safety Building Vision Committee.

Salerno, 42, is married with two children, and is a senior engineer and project manager at Applied Physical Sciences Inc. in Groton. He has served on the Board of Selectmen since 2015 and previously served on the Zoning Commission and Aquifer Protection Agency.

Dagle, 59, who is married with three sons and is the director of facilities management at Electric Boat, was appointed to the Board of Selectmen in 2017 before being elected into his position. He also has served on the Planning Commission and the Board of Assessment Appeals, and presently chairs the Public Safety Building Vision Committee. He is also co-founder and vice president of the Brian Dagle Foundation and is an assistant high school football coach.

Seery, 63, a retired state trooper who served in the U.S. Navy, has been on the Board of Selectmen since 2011 and served on the Board of Education from 1997 to 2011, serving six as board chair, and also has served on the Youth Services board of directors. He is currently deputy first selectman and is also a member of the Public Safety Building Vision Committee.

Deeble, 40, a political newcomer who recently was appointed as a Planning Commission alternate, will vie to be on the Board of Selectmen as a Democrat. He has worked as a community organizer for several local organizations and is a teacher at Old Saybrook Middle School. He moved to East Lyme with his wife to start a family in 2006. He now has two children.

There are also candidates running for spots on other boards and commissions.

Running for seats on the Board of Finance are Democrats Ann Cicchiello, Richard Steel and Peter Derosa, and Republicans Matthew Kane and Lawrence Fitzgerald. None of these candidates is an incumbent.

Republican incumbents Ryan Shrader, Eric Bauman and Jaime Barr Shelburn are running for the Board of Education. Democrats Esteban Garcia, Catherine Steel, Barry Sheckley and incumbent Jill Carini also are running for seats on that board. In addition, Republican incumbent Timothy Hagen is running uncontested to fill a two-year vacancy on the board.

Democrats Aimee Cicchiello and incumbent Michael Bekech and Republicans Suzanne Szupiany and incumbent Patrick Hughes are running for the Board of Assessment Appeals.

Republicans David Schmitt and incumbent Donald Phimister and Democrats Richard Gordon, Nichole Davison and incumbent Michelle Royce Williams all are running for full terms on the Planning Commission. Democrats Brian Bohmbach and Elizabeth Allen and Republicans Rita Franco Palazzo and Griffin J. Woods are all running for full-term alternate positions, while Democrat incumbent Peter Lynch and Republican Mary Ann Salvatore are running to fill a two-year vacancy on the commission.

Democratic incumbents Terence Donovan, William Dwyer and Anne Thurlow are running for seats on the Zoning Commission against Republican George McPherson, while Democrat Denise Markovitz and Tracey Lizza are running for an alternate position on the commission.

Both Republican and Democratic Town Committee chairs, state Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, and Sharon Hansen, have noted the full slate of “dedicated community leaders” running this year.

Hansen had said earlier this year that a full slate of Democratic candidates signified her growing party, about which she was excited.

"It's a strong team, intelligent, thoughtful and civic-minded people who want to give back," Hansen had said to The Day. "We haven't had a full slate in a number of years. Young and old, it's a very diverse crowd."

In a statement made earlier this year, Cheeseman said, “Together, we will run as 'Team Nickerson' and will continue to bring the same results to the community that we all love.”


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