New London Democrats elect first ever chairwoman

New London – Martha Marx, a former city council member and state Senate candidate, has taken the reins of the city’s Democratic Town Committee.

Marx was elected without a challenge as the committee's chairwoman last Wednesday. She was joined by several new executive committee members who she said represent a younger and more diverse cross section of the city’s voters.

Marx replaced former committee chairman Kevin Cavanagh and lays claim to being the first woman elected to the position in the committee’s history.

“It’s something I definitely wanted and I got it. I’m excited. I love being a Democrat and I want to be the leader of the Democrats in New London and help make sure Democrats win in the municipal, state and federal elections.”

Marx, a mother of four grown children and a longtime nurse with the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, served one term on the City Council and recently launched a bid to unseat State Sen. Paul Formica, a Republican from East Lyme representing the 20th Senate District.

Marx said some of her main goals as chairwoman would be to educate committee members and voters alike about the political process and further strengthen the Democratic stronghold in New London.

Part of that strength, she said, comes with unity. There have been some splits in the party ranks in the past few years with primary races pitting former Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio against current Mayor Michael Passero along with State Rep. Chris Soto, D-New London, challenging former state Rep. Ernest Hewett.

Marx said that the current uncontested election of officers came without a coup attempt and with little of the drama that have marked some past meetings.

Elected along with Marx was Zak Leavy as first vice chairman, Angela Peralta as second vice chairwoman, Nancy Dolan as treasurer, Donna Bailey as recording secretary and James Burke as corresponding secretary.

Cavanagh said he announced to fellow Democrats in February that he would not seek re-election as party chairman due to family commitments and desire to spend more time with his nine grandchildren. He remains a member of the committee.

Cavanagh expressed confidence in the new group of committee officers.

“I think the six people make up a great combination of what we have and what we need. Martha’s got the energy and passion and she’s always one that is wanting to learn,” Cavanagh said.

The Republican Town Committee is expected to meet on March 27 to choose its officers.

g.smith@theday.com

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