NORWALK, Conn. —Running to represent District C on the Common Council are incumbent John Kydes, Board of Education member Artie Kassimis and newcomers Vincenzo Capozzoli and Beth Sieglebaum.
NancyOnNorwalk solicited biographical information and commentary from the candidates. Here is what we learned about them, in alphabetical order:
Vincenzo Capozzoli, Republican
Capozzoli, a self-employed attorney and the son of Italian immigrants, is also running for Third Taxing District Treasurer.
He was educated through Norwalk Public Schools, graduating from Norwalk High School, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Connecticut, Juris
Doctor from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Masters of Law in Intellectual Property from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.
This is his first attempt at elected office. He is a member of the Norwalk Republican Town Committee, a member of Saint Philip’s Parish Council, a member of Saint Philip’s Finance Committee and a Connecticut Bar Exam Proctor.
Capozzoli wrote that his top three issues are:
- Fiscal Responsibility
- Governmental Integrity/ Transparency
“The main thing that sets me apart (from other candidates) is my education, training, and experience as an attorney,” he wrote. “I am admitted into four State and Federal Bars: the Connecticut Bar, the District of Connecticut Bar, the Southern District of New York Bar, and the Eastern District of New York Bar. In nearly five years of practicing Law, I have negotiated, drafted, and reviewed many contracts, leases, and other legal documents. As a Common Council Member or as the 3rd Taxing District Treasurer, I would feel very comfortable reviewing and making well informed decisions regarding contracts, leases, or other legal documents that come up in the normal course of business. Further, I have been a Member of the Saint Philip’s Parish Council and Finance Committee for over three years. This has been my first experience at governing. I enjoy it very much. After getting involved in Saint Philip’s Parish Council and Finance Committee, my desire to get involved in Norwalk’s politics intensified. As a young professional who chose move to back to my hometown after Law School, I understand the struggle of many people trying to make ends meet in Norwalk. I want to help make Norwalk a welcoming and affordable place for people to live. Lately, Norwalk is losing to many residents due its high taxes and high cost of living.”
Artie Kassimis, Republican
Kassimis has lived in Norwalk for 34 years and has been senior pastor at Word Alive Church since 1995. He’s been married to Janice Kassimis for 29 years and has four children, all of whom were educated through Norwalk Public Schools.
He has been a Board of Education member since 2011; he served as vice-chairman from 2011 to 2015, was on the Facilities Committee in 2014-15, has been the schools athletics liaison since 2011 and has been the Curriculum Committee chairman for 2016-17.
Kassimis has also been a Norwalk Police chaplain since 2015. He was on the Norwalk Facilities Construction Commission from 2011 to 2015 and a Norwalk Public Library trustee in 2010-11.
Kassimis wrote that his top three issues are:
- Create a strategic balance between growing our grand list and funding our city (Smart growth)
- Support funding academic excellence in our schools
- Preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods (reduce traffic, fixing our streets and sidewalks, keeping taxes low)
“My purpose for running for the BOE was to bring positive change to the school system,” Kassimis wrote. “Grades were down, graduation rates were down, the Achievement Gap was widening, expenses were out of control and we were losing superintendent after superintendent. I have had the pleasure of working with a great group of individuals and together we have brought that change. Grades are up, graduation rates are at an all-time high, the Achievement Gap has been reduced by over 30% (we were nationally recognized for this), we have hired a top notch Financial officer and finances are under control, we have a great superintendent who is leading the schools, and we have many new programs within our schools like the International Baccalaureate program and NECA at Norwalk High. Our schools are safer than they have ever been. Our curriculum has been redesigned with more rigor. Our Athletics participation has doubled over the past 6 years. And we are building 2 new schools in Norwalk for the first time in decades.”
John Kydes, Democrat
Kydes is a self-employed contractor and is married to Naomi Kydes. The couple have two children, Sophia, 13, and John, 11. Kydes has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Connecticut.
This would be Kydes’ third two-year term on the Council. He has been chairman of the Planning Committee and majority leader for two years. He is a member of the Nathan Hale Middle School Governance Council and chairman of The Mayor’s Energy & Environment Task Force.
Kydes said his top three issues are:
- Development Planning
- Infrastructure Maintenance
“I have always believed that politics should be left at the door in order to have an efficient and productive local government,” Kydes wrote. “What sets me apart from other candidates is my relentless efforts to unite people that would otherwise not work together because the first responsibility of any Council Member should be to remember that we are all Norwalker’s elected to improve our great city.”
Kydes considers his accomplishments to be the South Norwalk Transit Oriented District (TOD), solar panels on City Hall and on two schools (installation begins in the Spring), the resident solar program, the Maritime Aquarium science program and three resident light bulb swaps.
Beth Siegelbaum, Democrat
Siegelbaum is a Registered Technologist at Darien Imaging Center (Stamford Hospital). She is married to Ed Holowinko, has “two wonderful stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren,” and a “sweet 20-year old orange cat.”
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from SUNY at Buffalo and is a graduate of the Stamford Hospital Radiography Program.
“I am a new candidate seeking to bring a fresh perspective to City Hall,” she said.
Siegelbaum said she’s been active with Norwalk District C Democrats since 2006, a poll worker since 2000 (initially as a volunteer) and a Justice of the Peace since 2008. She’s been an American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer since 2003 and a Norwalk SoNo Switch Tower Museum volunteer since 2000
Sieglebaum wrote that her top three issues are:
- Education and extra-curricular programs that support all of our children
- Smart traffic management to promote Norwalk’s vitality and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists
- Quality of life including senior services, historic preservation, noise abatement from I-95, and mitigating the impact to our community from the Walk Bridge project
“My background is varied, with a 25-year career as a computer business programmer and now as a technologist for the last 12 years,” she wrote. “I have also had extensive volunteer experience with many types of organizations throughout my life. I have earned a reputation as someone who is sensitive to people’s needs, who listens, thinks clearly, and finds solutions based on solid facts. I consider all points of view with respect and an open mind, have high ethical standards, and I am accountable and reliable. I see Norwalk moving in a positive direction and look forward to being a part of keeping that momentum going.”
To learn your district, visit the city’s website here, enter your address, and scroll down to where it says “Voting District”, where you’ll see a letter followed by a number. The letter indicates your district.