There was no surprise last week as Erin Stewart received the Republican Mayoral nomination and Tim O’Brien was the Democratic nominee.
Neither was running opposed by any member of their party. Each outlined their plans during their acceptance speeches and named their parties political slate.
In gaining the Republican endorsement Stewart said, “I have a lot of people to thank, so if you thought these remarks would be short, well you’ve got another thing coming.”
“Kind of like the taxpayers in our city who thought there would be no tax hikes this year, right? They had another thing coming. Kind of like those who thought their government would be more transparent. They had another thing coming. Kind of like the families I have met across the city who thought his administration would be inclusive, accepting, and open to viewpoints from all residents who have ideas on how to improve our quality of life. They had another thing coming,” said Stewart. “When I say I want to thank all of you, I mean it. And when I say, ‘I love New Britain’ I mean it. And when I say, ‘New Britain can do better’ I mean it.”
She said New Britain wants new leadership. New Britain craves new leadership. It needs new leadership and New Britain needs a leader who will unite our city.
“A leader who has a seat for everyone at her table,” said Stewart. “I know that this is my time. It’s my time to step up to the plate. I’m an experienced young professional woman with a yearning to make a difference in my community, with a decade of service to my community. We’ve got to take our city back.”
She said residents need to take the City back from the divisiveness, from the lack of leadership, from the fiscal embarrassment and from the political cronyism.
“I am sick of the tax hikes with nothing to show for it, I’m sick of the dilapidated road conditions, I’m sick of the creditors saying our city is failing, I’m sick of the same old, ‘Raise taxes, raise spending’ strategy. It does not work,” she said. “We may be the GOP endorsed slate, and the slate of the Grand Old Party, but our goal is to turn that GOP label to mean the “Government Of the People”. I am proud to have this wonderful team behind me.”
Stewart, age 26, is a member of the Board of Education. Stewart served as vice chairperson of New Britain’s Commission on Community and Neighborhood Development and head of its planning and budgeting sub-committee. In addition, she was a member of the Commission on New Britain Youth and Family Services. In 2007, she received the greater New Britain YWCA’s Women in Leadership award for her hard work and dedication to the CT Breast Health Initiative.
She is presently a Legislative aide who was hired out of college and is working for Kevin Kelly of Stratford. She is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University.
Among those running for Board of Education is Connecticut Property Owners Association President and school teacher Nicholas Mercier.
“If you want to really turn a community around, it has to start with the schools. Until our schools are in shape we are going to have a hard time attracting and keeping a solid middle class,” he said. “Schools are fundamental for moving everything else forward, schools drive property values, property values drive economic growth.”
When asked what would be his top priority if elected Mercier said “It all comes down to accountability and taking ownership for our schools. What I have heard for the last 5 years is a string of excuses. The failure of our schools has been placed on poverty, on the high population of non-English speaking students, on lack of state funding. We’ve had 10 years of decline and finger pointing. It is time we elected officials who will take personal responsibility for our schools.”
According to the Hartford Courant, O’Brien told that Democrats during his nomination process that, “there was an underinvestment in parks, crumbling streets and blight” when he entered office.
“There was low morale in the police department, a hiring freeze, and officers were leaving for other towns,” said O’Brien. “Education had been flat-funded for years, creating a problem we’re only now getting ourselves out of.”
He also spoke about politics at the state level.
“At the state and national level we see ugly politics stand in the way of things that bring us together. But we’re the Democratic Party — we’re not going to let that happen,” he said.
O’Brien who is seeking a second term as Mayor was formerly a state representative. O’Brien was first elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 2002, having previously served as a member of the Common Council of the City of New Britain. He attended CCSU, but did not graduate from college.
Among the Democrats running for the board of education is school board president Sharon Beloin Saavedra.
“I am running for my third term on the Board of Education to continue the promising work of our Superintendent. As a life long New Britain resident and mother of three children, I understand our community and I can relate to our parents hopes and dreams for their children. I have learned a great deal about systems, education policy and process and collaboration,” she said. “Equality and equity both within our system and throughout the State is something I strive for. As a poorer community compared to our surrounding towns I feel a strong moral obligation to be a voice for urban renewal through education. I am motivated by my value system and belief in our kids and their families. Education is an economic investment in the future of our City.”
Both parties announced the following slates.
Republicans for Alderman:
Ward 1 – Willie Pabon and Jamie Giantonio (Incumbents)
Ward 2 – Diane Domejczyk, Chris Duffy (Newcomers)
Ward 3 – Hunter Mathena, Al Mayo (Newcomers)
Ward 4 – Don Naples, Robert Smedley (Newcomers)
Ward 5 – Iwona Rutkowski (Newcomer)
At large: Daniel Salerno, Matthew Cannata, Celeste Roche, Carmelo Rodriguez, Chris Polkowski (Newcomers)
Cheryl Blogoslawski will run for tax collector, Mark Bernacki is running for town clerk and Mark DiGrandis for treasurer.
Constables: Tom Talalaj, Henry Zembko, Alan Zaniewski and Sean Steele.
Board of Education: Daniel Davis, Nicholas Mercier and Stacey Rosado.
Democrats for Alderman:
Ward 1 – Sharon Baretta and Matt Dabrowski (Newcomers)
Ward 2 – Tonilynn Collins, Adam Platosz (Incumbents)
Ward 3 – Shirley Black, Manny Sanchez (Incumbents)
Ward 4 – Adrian Baron, Tobias Freeman (Incumbents)
Ward 5 – Carlo Carlozzi, Roy Centeno (Incumbents)
At large: Michael Trueworthy, Eva Magnaszewski, Suzanne Bielinski, David DeFronzo, Rha-Sheen Brown (Incumbents)
Greg Gerratana will run for tax collector, Larry Hermanowski is running for town clerk and four-term incumbent Teresa Sapieha-Yanchak was endorsed to seek another term as treasurer.
Constables: Plummer Carroll, Sue Hodge and Peter Spano and Asiana Walton.
Board of Education: Sharon Beloin Saavedra, Judy Greco and Daisy Sanchez.