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Preston gets new first selectman for first time in 24 years

Preston — Democrat Sandra Allyn-Gauthier defeated Republican Gregory Moran Sr. in the race for first selectman in Preston, giving the town its first new first selectman in 24 years. Allyn-Gauthier received 1,017 votes to Moran's 516, including absentee ballots but not same-day registrations.

Asked after the results came in about her top priority, she said, "I want to do a strategic plan for the town and start working with the board — and the community involvement, and the employees — to find out where we're at. The Preston Riverwalk is also a big priority."

She also cited taxes and cost efficiencies, roads and infrastructure, and fire and emergency services.

Moran will not be joining the Board of Selectmen, as selectmen candidates Gerald Grabarek and Kenneth Zachem received more votes.

Republican First Selectman Bob Congdon is retiring after 12 terms in office. He had hoped to retire in 2017, but with no other candidates running for first selectman, he opted to stay on for another term.

He endorsed Allyn-Gauthier, saying in a letter to the editor that his vote would be based not "on party affiliation or gender but rather by qualification and experience."

Allyn-Gauthier, 55, is a financial adviser at People's United Bank and holds a master's degree in business administration, experience she cited in her opening statement at the Oct. 17 debate.

She is completing a 16-month appointment on the Preston Board of Finance, previously served a term on the Board of Education and was on the Zoning Board of Appeals 15 years ago.

Moran, 52, has been a truck driver for Anderson Oil in Ledyard for the past five years and previously worked for the family business, Moran Service Center in Preston. He has been a member of the Board of Assessment Appeals and the Board of Zoning Appeals the past several years.

A lifetime member of the Poquetanuck Fire Department, he offered Allyn-Gauthier help with fire questions, as he shook her hand and congratulated her on the win Tuesday.

As of Monday, Preston had 3,066 active registered voters, according to the registrars of voters: 1,353 unaffiliated, 887 Republicans, 770 Democrats and 56 other. The town saw unusually high turnout Tuesday for a municipal election: 1,553 people had cast ballots by the time polls closed.

e.moser@theday.com

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