Letters to the Editor: Readers weigh in on the election

Published on Friday, 1 November 2019 12:11
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To the Editor

The Newington Kiwanis Club and Boy Scout Troop 347 are once again sponsoring a voluntary Election Day Food Drive on Tuesday, November 5. Non-perishable food items and toiletries will be collected for our Newington Human Services Food Bank at all voter polling locations.

Donations may also be dropped off directly with Human Services at Town Hall.

Thanks so much for your support of our Newington neighbors in need!

Sandy Nafis


To the Editor:

These are times of great uncertainty for the state of Connecticut, the likes of which we have never before seen. What follows are trying times for most towns, including Newington.

If anyone can manage these difficult times it is this Republican team. In the last municipal election, Newington chose to return to backroom deals and a cycle of taxing and spending rather than favor transparency and fiscal responsibility - and it has resulted in higher property taxes and not doing the will of Newington’s citizens.

Budget increases postured Newington citizens to squeeze even more out of their income without seeing more for their dollar. Republican candidates are prepared to make difficult decisions through prioritized spending, with a focus on finding cost-effective solutions to maintain the services that town residents need and have come to expect. They recognize the importance of carefully discerning between “wants” and “needs” and acknowledge the reality that increased spending does not always equal improved programming.

Republican candidates are determined to maintain a reasonable tax rate for our hard-working citizens and to be highly strategic in the distribution of tax dollars. This team is committed to finding practical and sustaining solutions in restrictive financial times. They are transparent and approachable in their agenda and have made good on campaign promises. Above all, these individuals are decent, hard-working, qualified and deeply committed to the town of Newington.

With Beth DelBuono at the helm and the strength of this Republican team alongside her that includes Dave Nagel, Tim Manke, Gail Budrejko, John Donahue, and Mike Camillo, we can be certain that the future of our town is in the best possible hands. A vote for the Republican team is a vote for fiscal leadership.

Gary Byron

Former State Representative


To the Editor:

As one of Newington’s State Representatives, I applaud all those who have served and all those who are running in Newington’s local elections. Public service is a considerable commitment and comes with great sacrifice. Only one party, though, will be in the majority after this election and have the grave responsibility of deciding the future direction of our town, and there are significant differences in that direction.

I ask my fellow residents to join me in voting for Jim Marocchini for Mayor and the entire Democratic team on November 5 so we can ensure Newington’s direction for the future is one devoted to a strong public education system that invests in our children’s success, is fiscally prudent but responsibly maintains our infrastructure, and supports strategic and smart economic growth that will provide jobs and additional revenue to the town.

The Democratic team will work to constantly make Newington a better and brighter place to live and is the leadership we need for our present and future. Sincerely

Gary Turco

State Representative


To the Editor,

I am writing in support of my mom, Carol Anest, for re-election to the Town Council. A lifelong Newington resident, my mom has dedicated her life to serving others and our town, including her service to NHS Project Graduation, NHS Music Boosters, the Town Planning and Zoning Commission, and since 2015, as a town councilor.

On the council, my mom advocates for responsible economic growth and preserving open space. On the education front, my mom has a strong working relationship with our Board of Education and is a strong supporter of our school system and our teachers. As a paralegal for over thirty years, my mom has extensive experience working with others and putting the needs of others before herself.

My mother is a positive figure and she will work with all councilors to continue to make Newington a great place to call home. She is the kind of person that believes in giving every person the respect they deserve and unlike many politicians, never verbally attacks or degrades those who disagree with her. We need more people like my mom at all levels of government and my mom will continue to be this person on the council.

My mom is one of my role models and truly has dedicated her life to this town. I hope you all join me in re-electing my mom, Carol Anest, back to the Newington Town Council on Election Day. It will be the best decision you could make.

Nick Grondin


To the Editor:

To all my friends in Newington, I am endorsing Walter Brideaux for Newington Fire Commissioner.

As a current Newington Fire Commissioner, I am well aware of the duties of a fire commissioner and Walter has the time, knowledge and experience to do the job.

One of the main tasks of a Commissioner is an administrator for the department and communicator with the Town Council. Walter’s career as an administrative accountant well suits him for this task. Walter served 47 years as a member of the Newington Volunteer Fire Department. His vast experience as a line firefighter and as a Captain, serving as the Department’s Safety Officer, makes him well qualified to be a Commissioner. To hold a position of such magnitude as Safety Officer for an entire Department shows exactly how much respect he has with his fellow firefighters and Chief Officers.

Please vote for Walter Brideaux for Fire Commissioner on November 5.

Kent Stoddard

Newington Fire Commissioner

To the Editor

I’ve known Jim Marocchini to be a thoughtful and positive force on the Town Council. That Jim is spearheading efforts to complete the Town Hall project, a project that will bring over $25 million in savings to Newington families in the future, is just icing on the cake.

Please vote for Jim Marocchini for Mayor and the Democratic Team on November 5 - the right vote for Newington’s future!

Linda Woods


To the Editor:

As we move through the local election cycle, the information that is shared with the voters may raise questions. Some candidates will cry foul and say the information is a lie or untruth or a personal attack. That is why voting records are important, and I have researched Beth DelBuono’s voting record.

Beth says she supports education. She has worked in the education arena for many years as a speech pathologist and served some years ago on our Board of Education. However, her voting record while serving on the Town Council clearly shows she has not supported education.

In April 2016 as the Republican Majority Leader, Beth voted for no increase to education - zero, which forced large cuts. She and the other Republicans ignored the hundreds of residents who came to a public hearing in the high school auditorium begging for even a small increase. This no vote resulted in the delay in opening the STEM academies, initial layoff of teachers, and other direct impacts to our students.

 The Lucy Robbins Welles Library is one of Newington’s great assets. Also in 2016, Beth and the other Republicans voted no to our Library and eliminated the use of this great facility on Sundays, hurting all of our residents by removing access to this wonderful resource.

 As Deputy Mayor in 2017, Beth again voted no to a minuscule ($35,000) increase to the Board of Education and a proposal at that time to try to open the STEM academies.

 Finally, in 2018 and 2019, Beth DelBuono continued to vote no against the budgets in both of those years.

In closing, Beth DelBuono’s voting record confirms the info shared on her lack of education support. While more money may not solve all problems, there are certain basic contractual needs that grow without additional new programming. By voting no the last four years, common sense dictates that reductions are forced that ultimately negatively impact the education of Newington’s children and other town services we value.

We need a leader with creative ideas who will be help grow Newington’s economy and future in a fiscally prudent way. That leader is Jim Marocchini, and we will be voting for him and the Democrats on November 5.

Don Woods


To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Beth DelBuono’s candidacy for Mayor of Newington. I have known Beth for a number of years and I have worked beside her the last four years on the Town Council. I respect her judgment and her leadership. I have come to admire her common sense and dedication to our town. Beth DelBuono is the leader Newington needs now.

Beth has served four terms on the Board of Education as well as four terms on the Council where she is currently the Deputy Mayor. Having served on both governing bodies allows Beth to bring a unique perspective to town government which I think is invaluable. She brings the fresh approach Newington needs now more than ever.

Beth DelBuono is a fiscal conservative. She pores over each year’s budget with the taxpayer’s wallet in mind. The first two years I served with Beth, and the Republicans were in the majority, tax increases averaged under 2 percent over the two years. The last two years when we were not in the majority, the increases averaged almost 7 percent. Even then, Beth fought to reduce the increases to our taxpayers. She is a firm believer that we cannot continue to pass an ever-increasing tax burden on to our taxpayers.

Please join me in supporting and voting for Beth DelBuono for Mayor. She is the Mayor we need now; she is the one to lead Newington into the future.

Vote for Beth DelBuono and the entire Republican Team. Vote November 5. Vote for Newington’s future.

Tim Manke


To the Editor

It makes me very happy to see the Town Hall moving forward. Every time I drive by it I think “it’s about time!”

Over twenty years ago when my children were in Parks and Rec programs I stared at the leaking ceiling in the gym in disbelief that it had gotten that bad. In the years since then I’ve been taking advantage of the Parks and Rec programs for myself when I was regularly attending classes at the Town Hall with the 80 plus degree temperatures in certain parts of the building because the heating system was so old and dysfunctional, I couldn’t believe it still hadn’t been remedied.

I thank the many Town Hall Building Committees for their dedication to this long overdue project. Meeting after meeting, year after year, complaints after complaints. They had a difficult job to do with people criticizing every decision they made, but they came up with a solid plan and it’s a wonderful thing to see it moving forward.

The will of the voters of this town was overwhelmingly to make this much needed project happen, and there could have been delays that could make the costs rise even more. I am grateful for the Town Councilors that had the foresight to know that what was best for the project and the town was to approve the funding to continue. They face many difficult decisions and much criticism all the time, but this was the right decision and I thank them for making it.

I will be voting for Jim Marocchini for Mayor, as well as the whole Democratic Team in the upcoming election, and I ask that you will too.

Bernadette Conway


To the Editor:

I am writing to express my support for Tim Manke for Town Council and Beth Manke Hutvagner for the Board of Education.

Tim and Beth as well as the entire Manke family have a long history of service to the Town of Newington and its citizens.

As a current member of the Town Council, Tim Manke has displayed an ability to put the welfare of Newington before any political affiliation or party agenda.

Tim’s bipartisan approach to critical issues is exactly what we need to continue to make the town that we love an even better place to live.

Having been an educator for more than 10 years, Beth Manke Hutvagner is a perfect candidate to help guide the Newington school system into the future. Beth’s experience and common sense approach is very much needed on the Board of Ed.

As you cast your vote on November 5 please keep in mind this election is local and we should not let our votes be influenced by the nonsense taking place in Hartford and Washington. We must continue to elect people who have the experience and character to do want is right for our children and all of the people in Newington. Tim and Beth possess those qualities and we should be honored that they want to serve us.

David Hourigan


To the Editor:

Jim Marocchini is my pick for Mayor! I have known Jim for over 30 years and have witnessed him grow into a caring husband and father, a disciplined Project Manager and an involved community leader willing to make the hard decisions that will allow Newington to move forward.

Jim has been involved for the last 10 years volunteering his time on numerous committees and boards moving Newington forward. He has been one of the driving forces to ensure that our new Town Hall/Community Center is completed and that it will serve our community for at least the next 50 years.

Jim knows that this is just the beginning in correcting our aging facilities and that we can’t continue to kick the can down the road any longer. Jim has a plan to upgrade our schools, pools, parks, library and our volunteer fire department. Join me in supporting Jim Marocchini for Mayor and the rest of his team. It’s time to move Newington forward!

Stephen Woods


To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Jim Marocchini for Mayor and the rest of the entire Democratic team.

In his time on the Town Council, Jim has shown the ability to work across the aisle in order to achieve what needs to be done.

I believe there are two major issues facing Newington at this time.

First is the Town Hall/Community Center project. Jim is a member of the Town Hall/Community Center Project Building Committee. He has worked tirelessly in moving the project forward toward to the construction phase where it is now. Jim has done this in spite of absurd efforts on the part of Republicans to delay and flat out prevent the project from moving forward. The most recent effort has been the bizarre lawsuit filed by Republican Town Council candidate Mike Camillo. Despite all this, Jim and his fellow Democrats have continued to do their work in getting the project completed.

The bottom line is Newington needs this project and needs to have it completed. Unfortunately Jim’s opponent supports the lawsuit and apparently has no problem with the project being delayed if not completely halted.

Second is the proposed Transit Village Design District (TVDD) and the possibility of a proposed railroad station in Newington. Newington has a chance to accomplish something special with this.

A well thought out plan of development can turn Newington into a destination spot and would increase the town’s Grand List. An ideal type of development would be similar to Hartford’s Front Street.

It consists of the Xfinity Music Hall, several nice restaurants, a movie theater and a Uconn Branch/Business office.

It’s neither too big nor too small and represents an ideal sized development for Newington.

Jim has been a very strong and enthusiastic supporter of this project. His opponent flatly stated during the candidate’s televised debate that she is opposed to the project.

It is easy to say no or oppose a proposed project. It requires very little thought. But it takes courage and a lot of guts to publicly support a project and work hard to get it done.

I believe Jim has that combination of courage and guts to lead Newington forward. I enthusiastically support Jim Marocchini and the entire Democratic slate of candidates in this year’s election on November 5, 2019.

Neil J. Ryan


To the Editor:

On November 5, I am casting my vote for Democrat Jim Marocchini for Mayor. He represents the values I believe in, and is the obvious choice for me.

I have seen Jim talk to residents of Newington. People respond well to his open and honest way of talking, and of communicating his vision for the future. This is what sets him apart from his opponent, Beth DelBuono.

During the recent mayoral debate, Ms. DelBuono stated very clearly that she is a conservative. She mentioned that she has no problem with progress, as long as it is done with fiscal responsibility. But what exactly is fiscal responsibility, and for whom is it responsible?

My experience has been that conservatives tend to be resistant to change. However, preserving our character does not mean saying no to the future. In order to maintain the wonderful character of Newington, it is necessary to look to the future and give real consideration to progress. An attitude of resistance is counter-productive, and in the end will hurt the residents of Newington.

In my opinion, the only political party that has the desire, the mindset, and the ability to envision an effective future for Newington is the Democratic Party.

Bob Dylan once said, “If you’re not busy living, you’re busy dying.” Fiscal responsibility to Newington residents depends on our ability and desire to envision a vibrant and strong future. Jim Marocchini and the Newington Democratic slate are my choice to lead us into that future.

Michael Duffek


To the Editor: On Tuesday, November 5, you have an important decision to make in Newington.

Two years ago, I was elected to serve this town as a volunteer on the Board of Education. I was lucky enough to learn from veteran members Josh Shulman and Sharon Braverman, and work side by side with Emily Guion and Cindy Stamm on several key issues.

I signed up for this task because in 2016 and 2017 I witnessed what was happening to our schools under a Republican majority.

The STEM Academy was left vacant. Our Gifted & Talented program was cut due to budget constraints. Teacher positions that were vacant due to retirements went unfilled, which impacted our class sizes. Families all over our town signed a petition asking the Republican Town Council to revisit their decision, and they didn’t listen. They refused.

Over the last two years, the Democratic majority advocated for appropriate funds to enable us to hire middle school social workers for the first time in over a decade.

As promised, we worked within our means to find a way to open the High School academies that were left vacant in the year prior.

We also worked with the administration to restructure the Central Office through the elimination of the Deputy Superintendent position.

This past year’s budget included a necessary Reading instructor at the High School level as well a much needed new teacher position to support our EL students.

We worked with the administration to create a more detailed and transparent budget process not only for ourselves - but for the Town Council as well.

We created a pre-school committee that will help lead our district into the future by having a Kindergarten ready program.

We never stopped asking for the badly needed Anna Reynolds Renovation Committee, and one was finally formed this past spring!

We put the students first, and found ways to work within our budgeted means to be successful!

We want to further the foreign language opportunities for our students.

Continue to work on the pre-school initiative so that we are opening up more pre-K opportunities for families in our area.

Continue to build on our recent success in supporting students socially and emotionally in school.

Work to find ways to inspire students with more opportunities, regardless of whether their next step is college or the workforce.

This is what you can expect from a Democratic led Board of Education. Ideas, collaboration and transparency. These are just some of the things we hope to accomplish if elected. Our team of Emily Guion, Cindy Stamm, Jessica Weaver, Sam Sharma and myself are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get to work and continue to move our district forward! Thank You, and please vote for the Democratic slate on November 5!

Michael Branda

Newington Board of Education

In light of the recent events regarding this “private conversation” that has been exposed, I think it’s important that the people of this town really consider the character of the people who are asking for your vote. I will be up front and honest about my political affiliation, so you can read this and take from it what you will.

I am a registered Democrat; however, I consider myself to be quite progressive. The incident with the private conversation would not have changed any of my votes in any way. I do, however believe, and have mentioned before, that politics shouldn’t be about debating people, but debating the topics. There’s an awful lot of debating people these days, on both sides.

This private conversation that has come to light has really been an eye opener for myself, and I’m sure for others. It’s rather disheartening to see people talk so rudely about others in the community in which they seek election. These are the people who want to represent us, and yet they choose to call others names and make jokes.

It’s fine if we don’t agree with the best way to move forward. Whether we spent enough or not on a town hall, whether it was even necessary or if it was imperative we replace it. It’s another for people to make jokes.

I, for one, expect an apology from the folks in that group, especially the ones who are running for office. The people who want to represent me in this community need to meet a higher moral standard than what was demonstrated in that group.

Some of the folks in that private conversation tried to justify their inappropriate comments by saying that it’s likely the other side has a similar group. I know of none, but if there even happens to be one, I’d expect the same from them as well.

We’re adults. We’re better than this. And if you even continue to justify these ridiculous actions, it speaks volumes to your character as a person.

I’m a resident of Newington, and I expect better from our elected officials. I hope you all do too.

Athina Loveland


To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Mayoral candidate Jim Marocchini, and the entire Democratic slate. Jim has served three terms on the Town Council, and has a proven track record of community service. He has served on the board of Parks and Recreation, and on the Economic Development Commission, and currently serves on the Town Hall Renovation Project Building Committee.

The slate, itself, is a combination of tried and true veterans, with some fresh “blood” mixed in for a young and vibrant slant on important issues.

This is true for the Board of Education, as well as for the Town Council. The incumbents bring to the floor a record of progress and innovation, while the new entrants will add even more innovative ideas to the mix.

I look forward to another two years of Newington Moving Forward into the future, if Jim and the Democratic slate is elected on November 5.

Please join me in making it happen. Thank you

Stanley Sobieski


To the Editor

I watched the recent mayoral debate, hopeful that both candidates would have honest and straightforward proposals for the Town of Newington. I saw that in Candidate Marocchini, whose name was misspelled by NCTV. He spoke of completing the Town Hall and Community Center project, all ready underway and going strong. He also spoke of fixing two leaky pools, one at Churchill Park and the other at Mill Pond Park, that serve our community well and offer us the opportunity to make our children safer swimmers. Leaky pools cost our town in a high water bill to the MDC. He spoke of other infrastructure improvements that are needed, that we need to preserve and support our Open Space and maintain the quality of life in our town. As he is a professional builder, one might expect this viewpoint.

The other candidate, Ms. DelBuono, works as a speech pathologist in our schools and one might reasonably assume she would have in interest in school funding and providing a great environment for our children. And there, one would be wrong. Her past record of draconian cuts to our schools, causing four teacher layoffs, stands for itself. Despite the fact that she voted to cut our school budgets when our high school auditorium was packed by concerned parents, she repeated that she would listen to voters when her record shows the exact opposite.

She came out against a train station for Newington, then for it, then she was not sure. Newington needs leadership, not fickleness. As a Mayor she would vacillate and, probably, invite more lawsuits due to her inability to commit one way or another. She spoke of adding to our Grand List and then proceeded to list all of the potential additions that she would not support, while offering no ideas as to how we actually could add to our tax base in Newington.

Councilman Jim Marocchini has a cogent plans that mean success for our prosperous town. His focus on the infrastructure, which has been deferred by Republicans is timely and appropriate. I urge all Newington residents to vote for Jim Marocchini and the candidates on Line A on your ballot this year, to ensure that Newington’s future is positive and that we have a Town Council that will listen to our voters instead of generate lawsuits to try to hold us back.

Mark Hollis


To the Editor:

I have just received a second flier from the Democrats and it seems like they are doubling down on their “road block theories” of Beth DelBuono being responsible for “voting” to deny programs for children. It is just below the despicable level to see the depths they would sink to change the voters’ minds with their mendacity.

Here is the evidence: As many will remember, Beth had no voting rights on the Board of Education in the years that the flier refers to (2015 to 2017 BOE budgets) because she was on the Town Council during that period. But more importantly, during this period of time many will remember that it was more important for the BOE to: Construct a new bus garage and purchase St. Mary’s School on Willard Avenue.

Former Superintendent Collins could have funded the much needed programs mentioned in the flier but he chose an agenda that prioritized nine new buses at $100,000 each. And then? The most sordid business the town has ever had to deal with? The Fuel Oil Spill. The one caused by the failure of BOE management to follow basic federal mandated regulations and DEEP procedures. As evidenced by the “audio tape” conversation between Collins and Jacimowicz, there was plenty of money in the BOE coffers to clean up that mess. And if that never happened? The BOE could have easily funded those programs mentioned in the flier.

So let’s be real about the real reasons why those programs were not funded. There was plenty of opportunity but no will on the part of the superintendent or the BOE during that time to do so.

Gary E. Bolles


Posted in Newington Town Crier, Newington News on Friday, 1 November 2019 12:11. Updated: Friday, 1 November 2019 12:13.