Preston Democrats endorse candidates for fall election

Preston — It appears the new first selectman in Preston elected in fall will have the last name of Gauthier.

The Democratic Town Committee and party caucus Tuesday unanimously endorsed Sandra Allyn-Gauthier as the first selectman candidate, one night after the Republican Town Committee endorsed Edward Gauthier as the party candidate. The two are not related.

Allyn-Gauthier, 54, is a member of the Board of Finance and past member of several different boards and civic groups in Preston and the region. In Preston, she has served on the Ethics Commission, Board of Education and Zoning Board of Appeals. She has 25 years of experience in banking, investment, finance and institutional advancement. She currently works as assistant vice president/financial advisor for People’s United Securities, a subsidiary of People’s United Bank.

She has attended numerous town board and commission meetings in the past several months in anticipation of seeking the party nomination after 24-year incumbent First Selectman Robert Congdon announced he will retire in November.

In her nomination speech, Allyn-Gauthier noted the changes she has seen in town in the past 25 years, including the opening and growth of the region’s two casinos and the town’s takeover and cleanup of the former Norwich Hospital property.

“Overall, the town and the tribes have done a good job containing traffic and other potential negative impacts to our town,” Allyn-Gauthier said. “I want to continue to protect our rural integrity and the positive attributes of our community while balancing growth to diversify our revenue sources.”

The town committee and caucus also unanimously endorsed former Selectman Jerry Grabarek as a selectman candidate in a year when all three incumbent selectmen are not seeking re-election.

The town committee and caucus had a more difficult task in selecting a candidate for town clerk/tax collector. Incumbent Republican Hattie Wucik will retire this fall after 26 years in the position. For many years, Wucik was unopposed in her bids for re-election.

Two current town employees, Leigh Pappas, building department administrative assistant, and Amy Brosnan, recreation director, both were nominated for the position. The lone contested race was put to a party caucus paper ballot vote, with Pappas winning the nomination 16-10.

Town Committee Chairman Nick Vegliante said he has lost sleep over the difficult decision.

“No one here would say a negative word about either of you,” Vegliante said prior to the town committee vote.


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