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    Thursday, February 02, 2023

    Meet the candidates: Ledyard Town Council

    Ledyard — Voters on Nov. 7 can choose among 10 candidates for nine seats on the Ledyard Town Council, hopefuls committing to remain frugal and make tough decisions amid the state budget crisis.

    The incumbents running for re-election are Republicans Linda Davis, Kevin Dombrowski, Andra Ingalls, Tom Malone, John Marshall and Steve Eichelberg, and Democrats Mary McGrattan and Bill Saums. Lou Gabordi is not seeking re-election.

    The newcomers are Democrats Tony Sabilia, who said he is finally running after being encouraged to do so for years, and S. Naomi Rodriguez, who hopes that her fifth time running will be the charm.

    Sabilia, 50, is the owner of Fast Signs, which he opened in 2011. His goal is to encourage business development and continue Ledyard's fiscally conservative stance, noting that he's "very conservative as far as Democrats go."

    He aims to maintain the town's rural feel while balancing development, and another goal is to clean up zoning regulations. Sabilia has two children in high school and two in college.

    Rodriguez, 53, is a stay-at-home mom who has served on the Gypsy Moth Ad Hoc Committee, Planning and Zoning Commission, Commission for Senior Citizens and PTO.

    She is also working on creating a nonprofit to honor her late daughter, Crystal Molina, who died seven years ago at age 22. Rodriguez also has a 15-year-old son.

    If elected, she said her focuses would be on the state budget situation, education, and maintaining tax rates so people can afford to live in Ledyard and businesses can afford to stay.

    Current council Chairwoman Davis, 67, has been on the council since 2006, having previously served on the Board of Education. She would like the council to focus more on regionalization within the town and improve communication with residents on how government works.

    Another goal is to have more people take advantage of the Ledyard Food Pantry and other social services. Davis is a broker with Remax Realty Group and has one adult son.

    Ingalls feels the public notice method is "woefully out of date" and that public hearing notices in newspapers often aren't written in plain English. One idea she has is a subscription service — through the town website — to which residents could opt in for regular notices.

    Ingalls, 46, sat on the Board of Education for 18 months before being appointed to the Town Council in June, after Fred Allyn III left his council seat to become mayor. Allyn is running unopposed.

    Ingalls has four children between the ages of 16 and 21. She is an online graduate student studying for her master's in public administration.

    If re-elected, this would be the fourth two-year term for Dombrowski, who previously served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Economic Development Commission.

    His campaign goals are to have the state budget situation impact Ledyard residents as little as possible, and to look at zoning regulations to support more commercial allowances while also providing for more agricultural uses.

    Dombrowski, 51, works at Electric Boat and is involved in designing the next generation of ballistic-missile submarines. He has no children.

    This would be the fifth term for Marshall, 52, a union carpenter who feels the council needs to look at downsizing government. He would like to see employees take a few furlough days each, saying this could save someone's job.

    Marshall, who volunteers with the Gales Ferry Fire Department, would also like to examine whether so many emergency vehicles are necessary, and to see whether volunteering in town can be made more attractive.

    Marshall has three kids, ages 20, 25 and 27.

    One of Malone's concerns is providing opportunities for young people, such as internships at Electric Boat — where he works — and alternatives to college. Malone has a 23-year-old daughter and 26-year-old son.

    Another goal for Malone, 54, is protecting open space.

    Aside from dealing with the state budget situation, Eichelberg is focused on economic development, and he spent eight years on the Economic Development Commission. Eichelberg, 48, is a software engineer at Sonalysts and has no children.

    McGrattan feels that Ledyard residents are "pretty satisfied with the quality of services that they get" and that the town "runs like a well-oiled machine," so her focus is on maintaining the services and on regionalization.

    McGrattan, 77, sat on the council in the 1970s before serving as mayor and then state representative. She has been on the council since 2007. McGrattan has nine children and stepchildren, and 20 grandchildren.

    For Saums, 63, important issues include protecting open space and containing suburban sprawl, conserving wetlands, and zoning enforcement. Saums — who has two kids, ages 26 and 16 — is the president of Centech Solutions, a business management consulting practice he founded in 1994.

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