Election season has begun, with candidates getting official nominations from convention attendees, and invitations for fundraising events arriving in email inboxes. GOOD Morning Wilton will bring periodic updates about election and campaign activities, with more regular coverage starting sometime in mid-August or September.

Campaigns and Candidates

Gail Lavielle Nominated by 143rd District Republicans to Run for Re-Election as State Representative (Press Release)

At the Republican convention held on May 16 at the Comstock Community Center, State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton) received the delegates’ unanimous endorsement as their candidate to represent the 143rd Assembly district, which comprises most of Wilton, the eastern section of Norwalk, and the western part of Westport.

Currently serving her fourth term in the state House of Representatives, Lavielle is an Assistant Minority Leader and the House Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee, one of the legislature’s largest joint standing committees. She is also a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee and the Transportation Committee, as well as the House Republican Screening Committee.

“Gail brings world-class intellect and smarts to her position, without any detachment or entitlement,” said Wilton RTC chairman Bill Lalor, who chaired the nominating convention. “She calls out nonsense when it happens, knows the seriousness of the problems facing her district and the rest of Connecticut, and asks the right questions, even when no one else wants to, and demands answers. We’ve seen Gail persist, persist, persist in getting results on behalf of all her constituents. She brings substance to the job, and advocates with the gusto and passion of a neighbor or friend. With Gail, we are represented by someone of great humanity and good faith, who sees her constituents not as Ds or Rs or unaffiliated voters, but as friends and neighbors. And in the final analysis I think this is because Gail cares about her constituents and her district and wants to do what is right. We need more of this. We need Gail back in Hartford, and I am proud to be here supporting her this evening.”

Hella McSweeney of Wilton nominated Lavielle, and Michael Calise of Westport seconded the nomination.

Accepting the nomination, Lavielle said, “I am honored and deeply grateful for the support I have received from all three communities that I have the privilege to represent. Today our beautiful state faces many challenges, but I believe we can overcome them if everyone works together to put the best interests of our state before politics. We must talk a little less, listen to each other a lot more, think always clearly, and act decisively to do what is right to end Connecticut’s fiscal crisis and move our state forward. This means reducing the tax pressure on people and small businesses. It means growing our tax base by making the state friendlier to businesses so that they come here, stay here, and create jobs. It means controlling borrowing and spending, while exercising responsible stewardship of residents’ tax dollars, strategically and transparently dedicating them to essentials like education, infrastructure, and critical services for the truly needy. It means restoring fiscal predictability for our towns and cities. Connecticut has enormous potential, and I am committed to making sure that people of all ages can count on a future here that is full of opportunity. I thank you for putting your trust in me once again.”

Haskell Wins Democratic Nomination for 26th District State Senate Race (Press Release)

State Senate candidate Will Haskell secured the Democratic Party nomination on Monday night, May 21, at the 26th district nominating convention. Haskell won by a unanimous vote of delegates from each of the district’s seven towns, and delivered an impassioned acceptance speech in front of more than 100 supporters in Westport Town Hall.

“I love this state, and I’m so thankful that I was able to grow up here. That’s why I’m determined to make it better. For those of us who have the privilege of living here, it’s our job to fight for a more sustainable, more prosperous, more equitable future,” Haskell told supporters. “It’s our job to protect this community from Donald Trump’s policies. All of this means that it’s our job to vote in November.”

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg of Westport nominated Haskell from the floor, and Ridgefield first selectman Rudy Marconi seconded the nomination.

“In each of these conversations, I find that it’s easy to be pessimistic. Listen to my opponent and you’ll find that Republicans have cornered the market on doom-and-gloom. It’s harder to be optimistic, and harder still to roll up your sleeves and try to be a part of the solution. But this is a time in my life –and more importantly, a time in our nation’s history– to do something that’s difficult,” Haskell insisted in his speech.

Raised in Westport, Haskell is running on a platform of long-term investments in infrastructure, common sense gun control and a prosperous economy for all. The 26th State Senate district includes portions of Westport, Ridgefield, Wilton, Redding, Weston, Bethel, and New Canaan. Haskell is challenging incumbent Toni Boucher, a Republican from Wilton.

Boucher Nominated Unanimously at 26th District Convention (Press Release)

State Senator Toni Boucher was nominated by a unanimous vote of delegates at the 26th District Republican Convention Monday, May 21. She will be running for re-election to a sixth two-year term in November. The convention was held at Trackside Teen Center in Wilton. The 26th district is comprised of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

Senator Boucher was formally nominated by her campaign chairman and communications director, Tom Derderian of Redding, who told Boucher’s remarkable story beginning with her immigration to this country as a young girl and cited her strong record of leadership on behalf of her district and her state. “When it comes to State Senators, we in the 26th district really won the lottery with Toni,” he remarked. The nomination was then seconded by Bethel selectman, Paul Szatkowski, and then put to a vote by delegates from the seven towns making up the 26th district, with the results being unanimous in her favor.

In accepting her party’s nomination, Boucher thanked the delegates for support and outlined the agenda that lay ahead. “The November election will be one of the most important in memory,” said Boucher, “and can change the direction of our state for the better for generations to come. After winning equal representation in the state senate two years ago, Republicans are only one seat away from a majority.”

“We have already seen what a difference this makes with last year’s passage of the Senate Republicans no-tax increase budget and this year’s defeat of the administration’s plan to reintroduce highway tolls.” she added. There’s a tremendous amount of work to do in the legislature. It is there where the decisions are made and it is there where we will fight to make Connecticut a place where families and businesses can once again thrive in a climate of lower taxes, efficient government spending, improved highway and rail transportation and the opportunity for a quality education for all of our children.”

Boucher is currently the Senate’s Chief Deputy Majority Leader, Chair of both the Transportation and Education Committees and Vice-Chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

Ross Tartell Nominated as the Democratic Candidate for State Representative of the 125th District (Press Release)

At New Canaan Town Hall’s Board Room on Monday, May 21, Ross Tartell was unanimously endorsed as the Democratic Candidate for State Representative of the 125th District during the 125th District Assembly Convention. The 125th District contains parts of both New Canaan and Wilton. He will be running against incumbent Republican Tom O’Dea, who is currently the Republican Leader at Large in Hartford.

Ross Tartell has spent his career helping individuals and organizations understand what it takes to be successful, most recently as an independent consultant, and prior to that at GE Capital and Pfizer. His track record of effective community service has drawn from his considerable business experience in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching, change management, and human resources.

Ross has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University since 1996. He received his B.A. from Hofstra University, M.B.A in Management from Columbia Business School, and Masters in Education and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Ross has been deeply involved in public education. He spent 23 years chairing long-range planning teams at the elementary, middle school, high school, and district levels. Each step used his strategic planning skills to shape the future course of the school and, ultimately, Wilton’s school system.

Currently, as a Fire Commissioner, he has experience with unions, the renovation of the Marhoffer Fire Station, and the town budget. Ross also chairs the Democratic Nominating Committee – leading a team that identifies and then recommends members of the community to serve on Town Boards and Commissions. He is involved in a wide range of community activities that help to make Wilton one of the top-tier communities in Connecticut.

Ross and his wife Karen have one child, Michael, who went through the Wilton public school system and is now in graduate school. Ross and Karen moved to Connecticut in 1984 and have been living in Wilton since 1989.

Wilton Dems Help Set Democratic Slate at State Convention (Press Release)

Eleven Wilton Democrats were among the roughly 2,000 delegates at the State Democratic Convention who endorsed a slate led by Sen. Chris Murphy for this fall’s much-anticipated mid-year elections.

It is a time, Murphy told the Friday-Saturday gathering at the Hartford’s Connecticut Convention Center, for Democrats to remind the nation who they are.

“We believe as Democrats that injustice done to one of us is injustice to all of us,” he said. “That’s why we’re Democrats. Because of that, we’re the party of Social Security. We’re the party of Medicare,” adding: “We believe that government is us.’’

Wilton Delegates, led by Democratic Town Committee chair Tom Dubin, included Selectwoman Deborah McFadden, candidate for State Representative in the 125th District Ross Tartell, former registrar of voters Carole Young-Kleinfeld, and Board of Finance members John Kalamarides and Richard Creeth. Other Wilton delegates were Leslie Holmes, Charlie Lewis, Ceci Maher, Vicki Rossi, and Melissa Spohn. Seven of the 11 were first-time convention participants.

During all-day sessions Friday and Saturday the convention endorsed the following candidates in addition to Murphy:

Ned Lamont for Governor
Susan Bysiewicz for Lieutenant Governor
William Tong for Attorney General
Denise Merrill for re-election as Secretary of State
Kevin Lembo for re-election as Comptroller
Shawn Wooden for Treasurer

“It was exciting, fascinating, and energizing,” said Tartell.  “The candidates’ speeches shared many consistent themes, including an optimistic embrace for the future of both Connecticut and our nation based on inclusion and growth—as well as a heightened concern regarding the words and actions of President Trump.”

McFadden, who has worn the same straw hat to similar conventions since 1980, found this gathering especially energizing. “It is a time to select our standard bearers, but also to renew friendships and build alliances to advance agendas benefiting Wilton and the citizens of Connecticut. It is a somewhat chaotic process but fun at the same time. This year was more exciting than most, because we had so many open constitutional offices and many excellent candidates.”

In her farewell speech to the convention outgoing Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman summed up the mood with this call to action:  “November is right around the corner — 172 days away, but who’s counting? We have a tough election in front of us, but we can beat back Republicans who seek to turn back the clock on us. We all have to hit the pavement for our candidates.’’


Wilton Democrats Holding Wine Tasting Fundraiser on June 2

The Wilton Democratic Town Committee is holding a wine tasting fundraiser on Saturday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m..

The DTC sent an invitation with a play on words:

“Help us fill the Wilton Democratic Town Committee coffers as we fill your wine glasses with luscious reds and delicious whites from Italy, and tantalize your tastebuds with delectable hors d’oeuvres. And together, we will fill every Connecticut State and Congressional seat with Democrats this November!”

Tickets to attend cost $75 per person; ‘benefactors’ are $100; and ‘Democratic Hero’ tickets are $250 apiece. Tickets are available to purchase online.

Wine will be available for purchase at the event, and a portion of proceeds from the sale of wine will benefit the DTC.

Wilton Republicans Holding “Save Our State Luncheon” on June 10

The Wilton Republican Town Committee (WRTC) issued a press release “inviting all Wilton neighbors concerned about the deteriorating condition of Connecticut to attend a ‘Save Our State’ luncheon in support of common sense candidates for state office.”

The luncheon will take place on Sunday, June 10, at noon at Old Town Hall (69 Ridgefield Rd.).

Honorary guests include:

  • Steve Obsitnik (CT Gubernatorial Candidate)
  • Harry Arora (US Rep – CT District #4 Candidate)

Special guests expected include:

  • Toni Boucher (CT State Senator District #26)
  • Gail Lavielle (CT State Representative District #143)
  • Tom O’Dea  (CT State Representative District #125)
  • Jayme Stevenson (Candidate for CT Lieutenant Gov)
  • Sue Hatfield (Candidate for CT Attorney General)

All are welcome to attend and meet the candidates. Tickets are available online for $40. Proceeds support the WRTC’s community outreach activities.