Chesebrough wins third term as Stonington first selectwoman
Stonington ― In the town’s first ever four-way first selectman’s race, Danielle Chesebrough defeated her three opponents Tuesday to secure a third term.
She defeated Republican Bryan Bentz, a 20-year Board of Finance member, Democrat Laura Graham, a community activist and owner of Drink With Food, and unaffiliated candidate Michael Spellman, a former selectman and retired Groton City police chief, for the seat.
Chesebrough received 2,479 votes, Graham 1,765, Bentz 1,247 and Spellman 499.
“It’s humbling and it’s an honor and privilege to represent the amazing people in the town of Stonington, and we’re gonna try and do our best to not let anybody down and represent everyone and now is a time for kind of coming together and moving forward together,” said Chesebrough Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Democrat Ben Tamsky and two-term Republican incumbent Selectwoman Deborah Downie were elected to the two other seats on the Board of Selectmen with 2,066 and 1,890 votes, respectively.
Chesebrough praised both Strunk and Tamsky.
The race for the two seats was among the three losing first selectman candidates and the two other selectman candidates. These included unaffiliated former Board of Education Chairman Frank Todisco (466 votes), Forward Party incumbent June Strunk (1,429), along with Graham, Bentz and Spellman.
Chesebrough, who previously worked for the United Nations, gained the endorsement of the Democratic Town Committee in 2019 and went on to defeat former Republican Selectman John Prue in the November election. The victory made her the first woman to be elected to run the town.
She was reelected in 2021, when she ran unopposed with the endorsements of both the Democratic party and the Republican party. She, Downie and Strunk then comprised the town’s first all-female Board of Selectmen.
Chesebrough previously said she would tackle infrastructure issues and see through major town projects in a third term, including the Mystic River Boathouse Park, which is awaiting final local planning and zoning approvals, and plans to create a $2.2 million public park on the “circus lot” property at the end of Noyes Avenue.
In her four years, Chesebrough saw $900,000 in federal funds awarded to begin maintenance and upgrades to Town Dock and a $500,000 state grant toward completion of the boathouse park project, among other accomplishments.
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