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    Monday, March 04, 2024

    UPDATED: Norwich Democrats retake City Council; increase majority on school board

    Bernadette Grecki, right, and her husband, Stan Kaplan, partially blocked from view, fill out their ballots Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, at the new polling station at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    State Rep. Derell Wilson, left, campaigns with candidates, right, for Norwich City Council and Board of Education on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, outside the polling station at Beth Jacob Synagogue. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    McKenzie Riley, right, receives her ballot from Ballot Clerk Brunilda Lopez on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, at the polling station at Rose City Senior Center in Norwich. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    John Iovino, left, candidate for Board of Education, and Mark Bettencourt, candidate for Norwich City Council, talk while his wife, Tia Bettencourt, looks on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, outside the polling station at Rose City Senior Center in Norwich. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    From left, Shiela Hayes and Swarnjit Singh, candidates for Norwich City Council watch Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, while people arrive at the new polling station at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Lulu Cubi-Sordillo, 9, center, looks over her the shoulder of her father, Chris Sordillo, while he fills out his ballot while daughter, Shore Cubi-Sordillo, left, waits Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, at the new polling station at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Norwich ― Democrats retook control of the City Council and increased their majority on the school board Tuesday night, with absentee ballot results late Tuesday bringing no changes to the earlier tally from precinct totals.

    Republican Mayor Peter Nystrom, in the middle of his four-year term, was not on the ballot, but campaigned actively for the Republican ticket throughout the fall.

    Incumbent Democrat Swarnjit Singh topped all council votegetters with 2,931 votes to win his second term. Current council President Pro Tempore Joseph DeLucia was second with 2,876 votes.

    Long-time education and youth advocate Shiela Hayes won a seat with 2,814 votes, and former Alderman Mark Bettencourt returns to the council with 2,773 votes.

    Incumbent council Republicans Stacy Gould, with 2,694 votes, and Bill Nash, with 2,679 votes, were reelected.

    The results give Democrats a 4-3 majority on the council, including Nystrom, who is a voting member.

    Democratic candidate Robert Aldi trailed with 2,557.

    DeLucia addressed fellow Democrats and supporters at the party’s gathering at Fat Cat Grill on Tuesday night.

    “We recognize that even though this was a municipal election only, it was extremely important,” DeLucia told The Day later Tuesday. “The voters were demanding change.”

    Republicans briefly had regained control of the council in May in a special election to fill a vacancy, with Nash defeating Hayes, giving Republicans a 4-3 majority.

    “I feel blessed and I feel that I need to put more work in now that people have shown that much confidence in me,” Singh said. “I look forward to serving my city in whatever capacity I can.”

    Democrats gained a larger majority margin on the Board of Education, winning six of the nine seats.

    Newcomer Democratic candidate John Iovino topped all candidates with 3,133 votes. Iovino retired in spring after 45 years as an educator and coach at Norwich Free Academy.

    “Retirement is over,” Iovino said.

    “I feel honored that in my first time out at the support shown by the citizens of Norwich,” Iovino said. “It’s an honor. It’s a responsibility. I understand where we are, some of the challenges ahead.”

    Along with Iovino, Democrats Gregory Perry, 2,657 votes, Mark Kulos, 2,585 votes, Ella Myles, 2,575 votes, Carline Charmelus, 2,449 and Kevin Saythany, 2,383 votes, were elected, along with Republicans Christina Milton, 2,553 votes, Heather Fowler, 2,500 and Christine DiStasio, 2,470 votes.

    c.bessette@theday.com4

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