Norwalk election: Thomson moves ahead; Dems aim for primaries

Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells explains election issues last week at the Democratic Town Committee nominating convention in City Hall.

Update, 2:25 p.m. press release from Thomson campaign; Correction/update, 12:13 p.m.: Third Taxing District, not sixth; Galen Wells spoke about Barbara Meyer Mitchell; Meyer Mitchell added to Working Families list; comment added from Manny Langella; lead photo changed.

NORWALK, Conn. — Here are the latest developments in Norwalk’s upcoming election:

  • Thomson turns in petitions to run for mayor
  • Mosby to challenge endorsed Dems for BoE seat
  • Morris get petitions for mayoral primary
  • A fight for District A & B Democratic Council candidacies
  • Lauricella aims for primary in bid for Council at large candidacy
  • Working Families set to endorse candidates
  • Dems set to challenge Yost in Third Taxing District
  • Dem thoughts on endorsed candidates

‘Tired of party politics’

Rowayton activist Lisa Brinton Thomson turned in more than enough petitions Monday to qualify as an independent mayoral candidate this fall, Town Clerk Rick McQuaid said in an email.

Lisa Brinton Thomson, as shown on her campaign website.

McQuaid and his staff need to verify the signatures before it’s official. She has “well over” the number of petitions needed to qualify, McQuaid said.

Thomson needs 133 signatures by Aug. 9, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State Tina Prakash said. Campaign director James Cahn said Thomson got “substantially more” than what was required; he estimated the campaign got about 240 – or “181% of goal.”

“Lisa is humbled and honored by how many people across the political spectrum sought her out to sign her petition, as well as, the people who were willing to collect signatures for her,” Cahn said. “We were done quickly because of non-partisan teamwork and the message that instantly got traction was that residents are tired with party politics and the status quo in Norwalk.”

On Tuesday, the campaign sent out a press release quoting Cahn as saying, “For a very long time, Lisa has pointed out that there is no Democratic or Republican way to pave a road or educate a child. This campaign continues to demonstrate the value in having all voices represented, and in working together to achieve all of the goals that are important for our success as a city.”

The release quotes Thomson as saying,  “I am honored to have received signatures from every corner of Norwalk. I am looking forward to a campaign which fully highlights a desire to professionalize our government and to have Norwalk live up to its potential.”


Norwalk Board of Education member Shirley Mosby listens Thursday as she falls short of receiving a Democratic Town Committee endorsement in City Hall.

Mosby going to public in search of reelection

Board of Education member Shirley Mosby, who came in last in a five-way Democratic competition for four BoE at large candidacies, has obtained petitions to force a primary in her quest to get reelected, according to Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.

Mosby needs 942 signatures, he said.

She has not responded to emails from NancyOnNorwalk.

Mosby, whose four-year term was marked early on by her accusation of racism on the Board of Education, received 27 votes last week at the Democratic Town Committee meeting. That was six votes short of the fourth highest vote getter, Sarah Lemieux.

Four District B DTC members voted only for Mosby, offering no support to other candidates in a practice known as bullet voting. Three District B members voted for two BoE candidates, when four slots were available.

Supporters included Brenda Penn-Williams, Johnnie Mae-Weldon, Samuel Pride, John Hauter, Beth Siegelbaum, Diane Lauricella, Andy Garfunkel, Laoise King, Steve Serasis, Jalin Sead and Lucia Rilling.

Mosby’s not responding to NoN, but sent a letter to the editor to The Hour, where she claimed that Mayor Harry Rilling had told her she’d get the endorsement.

“I never told any candidate they would be endorsed,” Rilling said in a Monday text message to NancyOnNorwalk. “I was aware of the results of the various district votes and knew she would have a difficult time getting the endorsement.”


State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) attends last week’s Democratic Town Committee meeting. He was not given the opportunity to speak; only the “prevailing (mayoral) candidate” was allowed to make a speech.

Morris is for Us

State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) is working toward fulfilling his promise to challenge Rilling in a primary.

Morris picked up petitions Friday, Norwalk Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.

Morris needs 942 signatures, Wells said.

The District B Democrat did not respond to a Monday email asking how it’s going.


District B Dems challenging Bowman, Simms

Also obtaining petitions were Manny Langella and Hector Correa, seeking to challenge Common Council incumbents Faye Bowman and Travis Simms in District B. Kadeem Rashied Roberts picked up petitions to challenge DTC-endorsed candidates Chris Yerinedes and incumbent Council member Eloisa Melendez.

Incumbent Council member Steve Serasis has not responded to emails asking about his plans after the DTC declined to endorse him for reelection.

Correa and Langella were also endorsed by Republicans on Monday. Langella and Correa have a Working Families Party endorsement, according to Anna Duleep. So they’ll be on the ballot this fall no matter what.

“I’m exploring all my options now,” Langella said Tuesday.

Langella was the endorsed candidate in 2015, losing to the pair in a primary. He sought the endorsement this time but fell short.

Correa, an HVAC technician, in 2014 co-founded the Two Wheels Organization, a federally certified non-profit which gives underprivileged children bicycles for Christmas.

“I’m in basements all the time and I see these bikes with dust on them and people just leave them there once their kids get older, so I thought: we can take these bikes in, fix them up and we can send them right back out and give them new lives to kid who deserve them,” said Correa in 2014, according to It’s Relevant.

They each need 174 signatures, Wells said.

In A, Roberts needs 202 signatures to force Melendez and Yerindes to fight for it in a primary – a fate Melendez has already endured once, winning a primary in her successful bid for reelection in 2015.

Roberts graduated in 2014 from Virginia Union University and attended law school, and is currently a student at Fairfield University seeking a graduate degree in Public Administration, according to the letter he sent the District A Democratic committee.

He’s a lifelong Norwalker and a  Norwalk High School graduate, he said.

“Speaking to those within my city and helping orchestrate many community outreach programs has always been my passion but it is the service that has always been the main focus and what makes me stand out as a person,” Roberts wrote. “At Fairfield University I am the Graduate Senate, and a Deans list receptions. I have excelled in my ability to have a positive influence on the community and will continue to embodied my ongoing community service, educational speaking engagements and most importantly public service to those in Norwalk Connecticut.”



Lauricella makes a move

Diane Lauricella, a longtime Democratic activist who unsuccessfully sought the DTC endorsement as an at large Council candidate, has also obtained petitions, according to Wells.

She needs 942 signatures to force a primary for Democratic at large candidates.

Former Council member Sharon Stewart also sought a DTC endorsement unsuccessfully but has not shared her plans with NancyOnNorwalk.

Lauricella did not respond to a Monday evening email.

Martha Wooten Dumas nominated Lauricella at last week’s convention.

“She has worked tirelessly for the South Norwalk district,” Dumas said. “… I believe she would really be an asset to the Common Council.”



Working Families working on endorsements

Duleep, a Democratic former Council member, shared the developing Working Families Party endorsements last week with NancyOnNorwalk.

They include:

  • Chris Yerinides, District A Council
  • Eloisa Melendez, District A Council (incumbent)
  • Manny Langella, District B Council
  • Hector Correa, District B Council
  • William Pappa, District D Council
  • George Tsiranides, District D Council
  • Tom Livingston, District E Council (incumbent)
  • Nick Sacchinelli, Council at Large (incumbent)
  • Sarah Lemieux, Board of Education at large
  • Barbara Meyer Mitchell, Board of Education
  • Shirley Mosby, Board of Education at large (incumbent)
  • Heidi Keyes, Board of Education at large (incumbent)


Livingston picked up petitions Monday, Wells said. That’s necessary because Working Families has not had a candidate in District E before, Livingston explained.

The party is also considering incumbent District E Council member John Igneri, Duleep said.

Noticeably absent from the list is BoE candidate Bruce Kimmel.

That’s because of Kimmel’s 2012 Council vote to “privatize,” Duleep said, referring to the outsourcing of the city’s garbage collection.

“We represent labor,” Duleep said. “… As much as (Democrats) would like us to be, we are not a rubber stamp for them.”



Parkington for TTD

The choice Third Taxing District Commissioner Deb Goldstein made last month to switch her party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated has opened up an opportunity for Democrats, Wells said at last week’s DTC meeting.

The three member Commission cannot be entirely made up of one party, and with Goldstein as a commissioner along with Democrat David Brown the party could not nominate a candidate, Wells said. But now that she’s unaffiliated there’s an opening.

Democrats nominated Pam Parkington to challenge Republican Charlie Yost.

Goldstein is treasurer for Thomson’s campaign. She declined to say why she had changed her party affiliation.



Reasons for Dem support

Some random endorsements made last week at the Democratic Town Committee meeting:

  • “I would like to nominate Barbara Smyth, whose work I have admired for nearly 10 years, which is longer than I have known her,” Kay Anderson said, commenting that the BoE candidate was responsible for “spirited and very successful rallies” in 2012 when there was talk of budget cuts. “She’s passionate and she is extraordinarily capable.”
  • Incumbent Council member Nick Sacchinelli  is a team player, City Clerk Donna King said. “He’s smart and he knows what he’s doing, and he’s willing to take this on again, believe it or not.”
  • Greg Burnett has been serving Norwalk for all of the 24 years he’s lived here, John Igneri said, of the Common Council at large candidate.
  • Meyer Mitchell “has been a passionate advocate for education,” Galen Wells said. “I think she would be a wonderful member of the ‘Board of Ed.’”
  • “It’s been a real rollercoaster,” BoE member Mike Barbis said. “Heidi (Keyes) has been a solid rock through all of this. She has exhibited calm, she has listened, stayed the course, and she’s exhibited grace under fire.”
  • Kimmel has a strong background in education and has served the city for 20 years, Melendez said. “By pure coincidence I had the pleasure of being one of his students (at Norwalk Community College,” she said. “It was weird, but he was one of the best professors I have ever had, and will ever have.”
  • Republican Town Clerk Rick McQuaid is “willing to give any help he can give,” King said. Wells followed with, “He works extremely well with the registrar’s office, almost as well as his predecessor did, in election matters.”


Victor Cavallo July 25, 2017 at 11:24 am

Apparently, the Thomson campaign has disintegrated before even starting. Her apparently former campaign manager, James Cahn, a Republican and an RTC member, was present at the Republican convention last night -seen prominently sitting front-row in the video in another NON story- and affirmed the voice vote for Andy Conroy; this after putting up for nomination the name of another Republican opponent to Lisa’s campaign.

Educator July 25, 2017 at 1:36 pm

It’s a sad day in Norwalk when neither party puts forth a person of color for the Board of Education. How will our kids be represented?

Casey Smith July 25, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Oddly enough, I thought the candidates for the Board of Education were interested in ALL the students in Norwalk, not just specific groups.

Anna Duleep July 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm

@Educator: You will have the option of voting for Shirley Mosby, if you wish, on the Working Families line of the ballot this November.

Broken Record July 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm

@Educator … It’s a sad day when no qualified people of color run. I’m not saying that every candidate is qualified but what I am saying is that the party rejecting Mosby should be of no surprise. Why not have another candidate in the wings? What about Haroldo Williams? He seemed qualified and ready to serve last election.

The party rejected HER specifically, not a “person of color”. Should they have voted for her simply because she is person of color?

She has had 4 years to prove herself to the residents of Norwalk again. Let’s not forget the 2 years she finished the term of Richard Fuller and then lost a bid for re-election. She has been an obstructionist from day one under the guise of “she’s a voice of the community”.

She’s done more to keep the school district in a confused and dated state than anything to bring real progress for any students…of any color! Look at her voting record as well as involvement in any of the committees….unprepared, uninformed… she doesn’t read the material!

Norwalk Public Schools is finally making progress and the slate of candidates from both parties should bring a fresh and optimistic perspective to the board. Something Norwalk desperately needs to keep the positive momentum going.

I have nothing against Shirley Mosby. I commend her for her years of public service but I think its time to step aside and let some other folks get on the board. It also appears the majority of the DTC feel the same way.

what the? July 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Do candidates and their representatives that are out petitioning signatures door-to-door require a solicitor permit from the city?

Martha A Wooten Dumas July 26, 2017 at 12:46 pm

It’s a sad day that you see the majority of the district only has whites, so apparently other culture that live in these districts don’t come out to their district meeting? And it looks like they all think alike . Time to give someone else a chance speaking toward(Ms. Mosby) well is the chair running again? Is Keyes, etc. So why pick on someone who don’t agreed on certain issues, especially if she is at large, then she also represent District B .

Educator July 26, 2017 at 9:04 pm

@broken Record, I am not implying that it should be Ms. Mosby but for neither party to put forth a person of color, either Hispanic or African-American, is sad. You are telling me they have no one, in their party, qualified to run and represent 28% of the student body?

Isabelle Hargrove July 27, 2017 at 10:40 am

@Educator. I can only speak as a Republican and a very recent member of the Republican Town Committee. In my short tenure, I have seen a great deal of effort put forth to reach out to the Hispanic and African-American communities. We have a few outstanding members representing these 2 communities, but we need more. I encourage people to reach out, get to know us and see if we represent their ideals and vision for Norwalk and its diverse communities. Everyone is busy, but it is also the responsibility of individuals to get involved. Being an active participant is the best way for your voice to be heard. I am on the outreach committee, I welcome any inquiries.

Donna July 27, 2017 at 4:16 pm

The needs of Hispanic students, especially those whose parents are recent immigrants or who are immigrants themselves, aren’t necessarily the same as the needs of black students. This is a generalization that does not account for students who might fit more than one profile, which is why the US Census Department has wisely dropped the race categories from the 2020 Census. Having said this, a dedicated BOE in a relatively small school district like Norwalk’s should be able to serve the needs of all students regardless of whether or not there is someone at the BOE table who aligns with each stakeholder group. The group with greatest growth in K-12 education nationwide are Hispanics; whereas black students represent a proportionally smaller percent of students nationwide than they did in 2000. These are the kinds of concerns that aren’t often spoken about in Norwalk. But it bears mentioning that addressing the needs of Hispanic students in Norwalk has the potential to harm African American students, the idea being that there are only so many ways to split a dollar. And of course some needs can’t be addressed through better funding alone.

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