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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    Democrats retain unanimous control of New London school board

    New London Board of Education candidates, from left, incumbent Danni Cruz, Alisha Blake and Susan Hambey chat as they campaign in the rain as the polls open early Tuesday morning at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School in New London on Nov. 7, 2023. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    New London ― Election Day ended on Tuesday with New London Democrats retaining unanimous control of the Board of Education, denying Republican and Green Party challengers a seat on the seven-member board.

    Incumbents Bianca Alexis-Sylvain, Nathan Caron, Danni Cruz, Bryan Doughty and Elaine Maynard-Adams were re-elected to new two-year terms. The veterans were joined by first-term Democratic colleagues, Susan Hambey and Alisha Blake.

    Maynard-Adams, who’s served 14 years on the board, said the election results translated to an approving nod by voters.

    “It means they like the job we’ve been doing,” she said. “Our focus during the next two years will be budget, budget, budget; as well as continuing our student growth in reading and math and expanding our pre-k program.”

    Republicans Kat Goulart and John C. Martin Jr., along with Green Party candidate Keith Kimball, failed to garner enough voter support to make inroads on a board populated solely by Democrats since 2019.

    The board, like the City Council, is not subject to minority representation rules, meaning there is no limit to how many seats any political party may win. The day’s results, which saw the re-election of Democratic Mayor Michael Passero, meant Democrats will also retain unopposed control of the City Council.

    Most candidates this election cycle campaigned on promises to confront the imminent loss of the federal pandemic funding that’s helped bolster school district budgets for the past few years.

    Other candidates said they’d push for the promotion of student diversity and inclusion programming and find ways to retain and attract teachers, a hiring issue school districts across the state are struggling to address.

    Several New London voters Tuesday, including Steve Belgrade, said party affiliation played only a small role in their ballot selections. Belgrade, 74, said despite voting the Republican party line in past elections ― and straight Democrat years before ― this year he included Green Party names on his ballot.

    “There’s no balance in politics, even at the federal level,” he said. “It’s all one side or the other and that means there’s no compromise.”

    j.penney@theday.com

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