Libertarian, petitioning candidate added to Norwich City Council ballot

Norwich — The ballot for City Council candidates for the November election has gotten more crowded, with a Libertarian candidate and a petitioning unaffiliated candidate filing paperwork, along with the six Democrats and five Republicans endorsed last week.

Two-time Libertarian mayoral candidate William Russell was endorsed by the Libertarian State Committee to run for council, and Rebecca Melucci, coordinator of the volunteer City Hall docent program, is an unaffiliated petitioning candidate. Melucci filed a petition of 54 registered Norwich voters, one more than the minimum necessary to get on the ballot.

Russell, 66, a self-employed independent light bulb distributor, said he is running for City Council for the first time in the hopes of giving the Libertarian Party “a foot in the door” in city government. Russell said residents can vote for no more than five candidates from their own party, and there are six spots on the council ballot, so he hopes people consider his candidacy.

“Who’s closer to a Democrat than a Libertarian, and who’s closer to Republican than a Libertarian?” Russell said. “We need lower taxes in the city, and they won’t get it with the Republicans and Democrats. I won’t talk about raising taxes in Norwich. Ever, ever. There won’t be an increase in taxes under my signature.”

Melucci, 70, a retired Yale University pathology lab worker and now a part-time retail worker at Galina’s boutique at Mohegan Sun Casino, is seeking her first elected position. Melucci has been a volunteer docent at City Hall for the past three years and coordinator of the program for the past two years. She also volunteers at the Rose City Senior Center and is a member of the Senior Affairs Commission and the Mohegan Park Improvements and Development Advisory Committee.

Melucci said she has been going to meetings in Norwich and is disappointed that more people don’t become involved in their city’s operations.

“My theory is, if I’m going to get up and complain, then put your body where your mouth is,” Melucci said. “Ask questions. I ask questions.”

Russell and Melucci both do not plan to seek donations and raise money for their campaigns. Melucci said she has been attending local festivals and events to introduce herself to voters, and a friend will help her set up a campaign Facebook page.

“I’m not affiliated, because I’m not one of the herd,” Melucci said. “I believe in voting for people for their ideals and not because you’re in a party.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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