NORWALK, Conn. – The plot thickens in Norwalk’s 2017 election – Lisa Brinton Thomson is exploring a run for elected office.
While the influential and outspoken Rowaytonite declined to say what office she has in mind with her exploratory committee, Republican Town Committee Chairman Andy Conroy said he heard she’s thinking about running for mayor.
Conroy himself is a mayoral candidate, as is State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140).
Both are looking to challenge Mayor Harry Rilling for reelection, with Morris preparing a September primary with Rilling and Conroy lined up to get his party’s endorsement next month.
There’s also the possibility that former Democratic Town Committee District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra, who came in second to Rilling in a 2013 four-way Democratic primary, will announce a run for mayor as an independent. Mangiacopra switched his party affiliation to unaffiliated this Spring, and has not denied rumors that he’s going to run for mayor.
Thomson became active in Norwalk politics as an education advocate, cofounding the group Red Apples in 2010. In the last two years, Thomson has switched to criticism of Norwalk’s Zoning regulations, with a Facebook page, “Norwalk Zoning Matters” among her activities. She also attended every meeting of the Charter Revision Commission last year; unsatisfied with the outcome she and fellow activists Deb Goldstein and Diane Cece formed a Political Action Committee, Norwalk First, to oppose two of the four charter revision questions on the ballot. That effort was successful, with the four-year term for mayor and a salary hike for Common Council members going down to defeat.
Thomson is a former Board member of Chapman Hyperlocal Media Inc. She described herself in conversations as an unaffiliated voter but spoke as if she were a Republican Party insider. However, she has been registered as a Democrat on and off.
According to Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells, Thomson is registered as Lisa Brinton, with the following record:
- May 23, 2013, switched from Democrat to unaffiliated
- April 11, 2016, switched from unaffiliated to Democrat
- May 22, 2009, switched from Democrat to unaffiliated
- Feb. 13, 2008, switched from unaffiliated to Democrat
- Registered in Norwalk in 2000
Thomson’s legal name is Lisa Brinton. She is commonly called Lisa Thomson.
On Tuesday, NancyOnNorwalk asked Thomson if she was running for Common Council.
“I filed exploratory papers, but still trying to figure things out and how best I could serve the city. Nothing decided yet,” Thomson replied in an email.
Asked what she was exploring for, she said, “Dunno yet. When I know … you’ll know. That’s why it’s called exploratory :-)”
NoN reached out to chairman of both of Norwalk’s political parties.
Conroy, in an email, said:
“Lisa was invited and did attend an RTC meeting. Afterward ‘we’ discussed a couple of possibilities. Then, after a week or so she declined the possible opportunities we had proposed.
“I have heard fm a couple of Lisa supporters who believe she is running for mayor. I found nothing fruitful in those conversations, despite (all but one) being pleasant and thought provoking.”
NoN reached out to one of Thomson’s Republican supporters, who declined to comment.
“Ms. Thomson has not approached me as a possible candidate for office,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Ed Camacho said in an email “We are a big tent party, and everyone is welcomed to join and participate in our ongoing discussions about how best to govern ourselves. That is what the Democratic Party is all about.”
Rilling declined to comment until he gets more details.
Red Apples has been inactive since mid-2014. The About Us page states:
“Lisa spent over 25 years working in the U.S., Europe and Asia, giving her a big picture outlook and unique perspective on the future skills American children will need in order to compete in the global economy. After college, she joined AT&T and its spin-off Lucent Technologies, where she directed a variety of initiatives in sales and marketing. In 2002, she became an independent consultant, helping Fortune 500 companies improve employee performance in the areas of communications and organizational behavior.
“In 2007, Lisa redirected her efforts towards a variety of education reform initiatives. Believing that the private sector should be more actively involved in education reform, she developed an enrichment writing program called Student Newshounds. It’s purpose has been to expose 4th-8th grade students to current events, non-fiction writing and graphic art. She also works as an advocate with the state-wide educational advocacy group CONNCAN and has served on various PTC boards including: Treasurer at Rowayton Elementary and PTC President at Roton Middle Schools. She is currently in her sixth year as a community member of the Norwalk Public School District’s Data Driven Management Team which has been focused on raising academic achievement in the district through individual school growth plans and both adult and student initiatives.”