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RTM candidates say how they will best serve Waterford

Waterford — Thirty-three candidates will be on the ballot running for a spot to represent their voting district in the Representative Town Meeting, one of the biggest forms of municipal legislative bodies.

RTM members are the final approving authority for any action and expenditure by the town, approving the municipal budget each May.

In Districts 1, 2 and 4 there are four Republicans and four Democrats in the running for six spots. In District 3, the largest of the districts, nine people are running for seven seats.

District 1

Democrat Bud Bray, 76, is retired and a seven-year resident of Waterford's AHEPA apartments for elderly persons. He said his priority on the RTM would be to stand in unison with its Democratic consensus on all issues and present a "good-faith attitude" toward any opposition to that consensus.

Republican Danielle Steward-Gelinas, 48, is a physical therapist and lifelong resident of Waterford.  "As an RTM member, I look forward to continuing to focus on our great services here in town while maintaining a stable tax rate," she said.

Democrat Nick Gauthier, 34, is an organizer and said he will utilize his background to reach out and ensure the voices of those in District 1 are fully represented in Town Hall. He said his priorities include protecting the school district's budgets and creating a sustainable future for the town's fire services.

Republican Timothy Condon, 39, has served on RTM for several years. He is a full-time firefighter in Montville and an electrician, working at his father's business, Condon & Sons Electric. He said his priority is public safety, serving on the subcommittee for it and helping change the way fire services work in town.

Democrat Cheryl Larder, 59, has been a paralegal in the New London County for 37 years. She said her previous experience on the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance qualify her to serve on the RTM.

Republican Richard Holmes, 50, is a nuclear security officer for Millstone Nuclear Power Station owner Dominion Energy and a newcomer looking to get more involved with the town. Holmes said he will do the "best job" he can do to "make the town a better place to live."

Also in the running, Republican Robert Swansen and Democrat Paul Konstantakis could not be reached for comment.

District 2

Newcomer and Republican Eddie Aledia, 22, works in the outreach department for the state Senate Republican Caucus, representing Sens. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, and Heather Somers, R-Groton. Aledia said if elected, he will work alongside colleagues to keep tax rates low, promote economic development and maintain high-quality schools.

Democrat Mary Childs, 51, has been a special education teacher for 26 years. "My goal is to represent District 2 by voicing concerns, supporting positive problem-solving and increasing collaboration that helps our town build a stronger community," she said.

Republican Dave Welch, 46, is an engineer who has worked at Pratt and Whitney for 23 years. As a newcomer, he said he can bring a fresh perspective to the RTM with his professional experience.

Incumbent Gregory Attanasio, 32, is an account manager and a registered Democrat but said he doesn't "believe in two sizes fits all as a rule in politics." He said that is why it's important to be a good steward of solutions-based governance once elected, regardless of party affiliation.

Republican Kevin Girard, 49, is a chemical engineer at Pfizer. RTM is mainly financial and, considering himself to be "analytical," he said he can help weigh whether to invest in projects now or wait until later.

Democrat Ted Olynciw, 77, has resided in Waterford for 45 years. Having spent 50 years as the owner of a general contracting company, he said he can help evaluate and provide opinions on projects commonly presented to the RTM, such as road repairs and sidewalks.

Kristin Gonzalez, 53, a Democrat, has lived in Waterford for 18 years, is teacher in the town's school district and has been a lifelong volunteer. "My greatest asset is my passion for my community," she said. "Waterford has been a great place to raise a family, and my priority is to continue to help shape the town into a place where residents love to live, work, and raise a family."

Republican Craig Hart, also in the running, could not be reached for comment.

District 3

Republican Paul Goldstein, 53, is an occupational therapist who has lived in Waterford for 52 years. He said his priorities are economic development, keeping taxes low, education, public safety, infrastructure improvements and accessibility to all town residents.

Democrat Tim Fioravanti, 57, is a teacher at Waterford High School. He said his priorities are to build a "vibrant economy" through updated infrastructure and responsible spending, enabling schools to meet "the challenges of the 21st century," deliver townwide fire and rescue services 24/7 and improve access to the town government.

Republican Jennifer Antonino Bracciale, 49, is a mother of four and newly employed at Waterford Youth and Family Services. Hoping to be reelected for a second term, she said her priorities are encouraging economic development and creating community spaces that are accessible to all.

Newcomer and Democrat Jenny Kohl, 24, is a social worker born and raised in Waterford. She said her priorities are supporting the schools, building infrastructure and protecting the environment.

Republican Steve Garvin, 57, is the fire marshal at the University of Connecticut's fire department. With a background of eight years with Waterford's ambulance service, he said his priority would be public safety and curbing town spending.

Democrat Kathy Kohl, 60, is a registered dental assistant who has lived in town for four decades. Running for reelection, said she prioritizes much-needed road repairs, expansion of economic development, practical child care and education, and protecting public safety.

Cathy Barnard, 61, is chair of the Democratic Town Committee and owns a small business in lightning protection. A newcomer to the RTM, she said her top priority would be economic development, seeing that Waterford is "a beautiful town with so much potential."

Republican Ryan Healy, 52, is a commercial boat captain and truck driver with previous experience in the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. This is his first time running for town government. "My priorities are to support local businesses and invest in future development and reduce taxes while still providing exceptional public safety and education," he said.

Republican Richard Muckle, 80, is a retired Electric Boat operations and fire specialist. Having served on the RTM for several terms, he said he wants to continue focusing on education, infrastructure and economic development, such as bringing more businesses to the town's industrial zone.

Democrat Albert Dahl is no longer on the ballot running for RTM.

District 4

Necomer David Sugrue, 19, is a Republican and music education student at the University of Connecticut. "I will serve as an asset primarily because of my youth and my experience working with my younger generation," he said. "We are new voices that have just gotten in touch with politics, and I believe that I can bring a young, conservative, perspective to the table as an elected official."

Unaffiliated, Dan Radin, 41, is a Waterford native and director of marketing at iZotope, which makes software used by music, TV and movie engineers and producers. He is running as a Democrat, since the town's ballot has only two categories for candidates. "I saw the Democrats talking about things that mattered to me: safety, economy, education and infrastructure," he said.

Democrat Ocean Pellet, 89, is a retired biologist who said she is hoping to be a voice for lots of people, not just those of her generation. She said it is important to her to "find a way to educate every child to their best potential."

Republican Thomas Dembeck, 72, served as the moderator for the previous RTM term. The retired Millstone preparedness specialist said he has served on the RTM for a number years and is familiar with its operation. He said his priority would be working with other governmental bodies in town to obtain funding to mill and resurface additional town roads.

Democrat Susan Driscoll, 66, is a retired editor, writer and legislative aide, having worked for former state Sen. Andrea Stillman. Driscoll said she wants to start planning for the inevitable shutdown of Millstone, pursuing and maintaing economic development, cost-efficient ways to provide town services, high-quality schools and more without asking residents to finance the millions in annual taxes they've relied on from the nuclear power station.

Republican Michael Rocchetti, 52, a business owner of Weiss Furniture in Groton. If reelected, he said he will focus on maintaining a strong commitment to schools, 24-hour fire protection, capital improvements and services for youth and families. He said the RTM has lowered taxes each of the last two years and he wants to continue doing so.

Republican Michael Bono, 35, a teacher at Waterford High School, said he prides himself in "gaining perspectives from all sides of issues" and serving the best interest of residents. He said his priority is to grow the town's economy.

Democrat Grace Kyne, 35, said she has spent the last decade serving corporate clients to resolve complex tax issues and utilize technology to "mitigate tax risk and improve accuracy." She said she is highly motivated to listen to and work for the people of Waterford and bring her skills to the RTM.

Waterford will have four polling locations for residents who would like to vote in person on Nov. 2: Town Hall for District 1, Quaker Hill School for District 2, Oswegatchie School for District 3 and Great Neck School for District 4.

j.vazquez@theday.com

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