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    Thursday, May 30, 2024

    Passero secures third term as New London’s mayor, Dems retain control of city council

    New London Mayor Michael Passero, left, celebrates his reelection at Mambos’s Bar & Restaurant on Bank Street on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. (John Penney)

    New London ― Incumbent Mayor Michael Passero sealed a third, four-year term in office Tuesday after soundly trouncing his Republican and Green Party challengers.

    Passero shared his victory with six fellow incumbent Democrats ― Carmen Jocelyn Rosario, John D. Satti, Reona Dyess, Akil Peck, Alma Nartatez and Efrain Dominguez Jr. ― who all secured another two years on the City Council along with Jefferey Hart, a former school board member.

    “What a great vindication,” Passero said to a crowd of cheering supporters inside the Mambo Bar & Restaurant on Bank Street as vote results came in Tuesday night. “We heard from the people loud and clear that they like the work we’re doing.”

    Unofficial poll results showed Passero, a 67-year-old Democrat cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party, earning 1,785 votes, coming far ahead of his challengers for the city’s top-elected office: Republican Beloved Carter, who earned 552 votes and Green Party candidate Leon Richard Long, who tallied 317 votes.

    On the campaign stump, Passero touted the city’s financial stability, the flowing of federal and state funding for municipal projects and his work in promoting New London as a tourist destination.

    The Democratic slate’s victory over Republican challengers Aaron Ide, John Russell and Gina Phillips ― and Green Party-nominated candidate Seanice Austin ― means the council’s seven seats will remain solely occupied by Democrats for the third consecutive election cycle.

    Former Councilor Marty Olsen was the last Republican to serve on the council. He declined to mount a re-election run in 2019 and instead ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Passero that year.

    Several residents leaving polling locations on Election Day ― both registered Democrats and Republicans ― said they split their votes between the parties, though the majority said they stuck with Passero.

    Greg Sims, 52, said Passero during his tenure as mayor has made the same kinds of promises that seem to flow easily from elected officials’ lips ― but with a difference.

    “What he’s promised is actually materializing and I’ve seen the changes,” said Sims, who works in a downtown retail shop. “For decades, I’d see stores closing on Bank Street and now we’re seeing that change, along with apartments going on land that’s been vacant for 40 years.”

    Resident Kevin Platter, 32, also cast his vote for Passero, saying he was impressed with the incumbent’s work in revitalizing and beautifying sections of the city. But Platter said he’s concerned about a future lack of housing and parking options, with more Electric Boat employees poised to potentially move to New London.

    “And I’m worried about access to the new community center,” Platter said, referring to the $40 million recreation facility set to open on the Fort Trumbull peninsula in 2025. “Still, you can only live off hope for so long and what (Passero) promised is happening.”

    j.penney@theday.com

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