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Incumbents and newcomers seek election to Ledyard Town Council

Ledyard — Resident Nicole Cruz-Glacken is hoping the second time's the charm this year in gaining a spot on the Town Council.

The former legal assistant and school paraprofessional was endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee in June to fill a vacancy on the panel, but her appointment was turned down by the council, as it cited her lack of experience in local government. The move came after Cruz-Glacken criticized some councilors for not being responsive to racial and ethnic issues in town.

Cruz-Glacken is now one of five Democrats seeking a seat on the council in the Nov. 2 election.

"I feel there's a lack of perspective on the council that I feel I can bring there," she said. "Councilors seem to have the same ideas about the same things. Why were questions that were apparent to me not being asked? Was it because they didn't see them, or they did, but decided not to ask?"

The military spouse has stepped down from her job as a school paraprofessional to run for political office.

"That shows how much I feel some progress needs to be made on issues," she said. In speaking with people living on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation, Cruz-Glacken said they believe there needs to be another voice on the council that can represent their interests.

The Republicans are fielding six candidates for Town Council, five of them incumbents. Current council Chairwoman Linda Davis is seeking a ninth term on the panel. She's led the council since 2013.

"I initially wasn't sure I was going to run again," she said. "It's always good to have new people on the council. I don't think, though, it's a bad idea to have someone who's familiar with previous council decisions, as well as the process that's involved. I tend to be the process person."

Davis said one of the big issues the new council will be tackling is how to spend the more than $4.37 million the town is receiving through the federal American Rescue Plan. An initial list of proposed projects includes money for various sewer line extensions and other municipal improvements, but Davis stressed nothing has been made final, and community input is being sought.

Davis said she's proud that there's hardly been any partisan bickering on the council, unlike what is found at the state and federal level.

"When the vote wasn't unanimous (on the council), you'll see it's not generally along party lines, it's just a difference of opinion," she said.

The GOP slate for Town Council also includes Kevin Dombrowski, who's seeking a seventh term. Dombrowski is chairman of the Council's Land Use Committee, and has previously served on Ledyard's Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Economic Development Committee. Dombrowski said he'll continue to stress redevelopment of existing commercial areas in town.

Andra Ingalls is looking to serve a third term on the council, after having been on the school board and Social Services Board. She's a member of the council's Finance Committee, and works for a non-profit group that places mentors with at-risk students in public schools. Ingalls said she believes in small government, and open communication among all community stakeholders.

John Marshall has been on the Town Council since 2009. He's served on the council's Finance and Administration Committees, and is a council liaison to the town's emergency services and the Permanent Municipal Building Committee. He has been in the construction industry for 26 years, and noted that experience has helped in the oversight of several building projects in town. In a news release, Marshall stated he believes in "strong leadership with conservative values."

Tim Ryan is seeking his first full term on the council. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the panel in May. The Electric Boat employee moved to the town in 2019. He has previously served on New London's Charter Review Board, and Planning and Zoning Commission. He also served as vice chairman of the city's Republican Town Committee. Besides being on the Town Council, he also serves as an alternate member of Ledyard's Planning and Zoning Commission. Ryan said he's a supporter of regionalization of municipal services, when it makes financial and practical sense.

The lone Republican newcomer to the Town Council candidate slate is Gary Paul. Paul, 47, grew up in Ledyard, and serves on the town's Economic Development and Conservation commissions, and oversees the Hike Ledyard program. He currently manages Advanced Heating Oil.

The Democrats

Joining Cruz-Glacken on the Democratic ticket are two longtime incumbents. Former town mayor and state representative Mary McGrattan is seeking a 12th consecutive term on the council.

"I enjoy being part of town government," she said in a statement. "With my past service in state and local government, I am knowledgeable and experienced. I am skilled in compromise and resolving conflict."

Fellow Democratic incumbent William Saums is seeking another two years in office, having served on the Town Council since 2008. Saums is chairman of the council's Finance Committee. He's a founding member of the Ledyard Town Center Committee, which added village-like amenities to the town center, such as stonewalls, benches, trees and signage. He's also credited with recommending the former Gales Ferry Elementary School be converted into a small business incubator, which is now back on the tax rolls, and the location of the town's new police station be on the site of the former firehouse in Ledyard Center, thus keeping essential town buildings located in one area.

Other Democratic hopefuls include Hilary Evans, the vice chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee who received the support of the Town Council in late July to fill the vacancy that was denied to Cruz-Glacken. Evans is chairwoman of the Conservation Commission and treasurer of the town's Housing Authority. She's also a commissioner on the town's Planning and Zoning Commission.

"I am running for office because because my diverse skill set and varied experiences allow me to bring a fresh point of view to the table," she said in a statement. "Our residents deserve a government that will put them first."

Current school board member Naomi Rodriguez is seeking her first term on the council. She serves on the Board of Education's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, as well as its Strategic Planning Committee.

A former chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee, Rodriguez said in a news release, "My experience and insight have been an asset to the Ledyard Public Schools, and now I look forward to bringing my skills and energy to the Town Council."

Republicans have a 6-3 majority on the council.

Republican Mayor Fred Allyn III won't be up for reelection until 2023.

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