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Hosten appointed by Norwalk Democrats to finish Stern’s Common Council term

Colin Hosten speaks to Norwalk Democrats on Monday in the Norwalk Public Library.

Updated 11:53 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Democrats on Monday chose Colin Hosten to fill their empty Common Council at Large seat.

Hosten will take over from Doug Stern, a Dem who won election as the next Norwalk/Wilton Judge of Probate. Hosten, a Village Creek resident, defeated two-time Council candidate and South Norwalker Manny Langella in a 30-24 vote, with most members of the African American community voting for Langella; endorsement speeches lauded the “diversity” Hosten will bring as an openly gay man and described him as well-qualified for the job.

“This was brutal decision,” District E Democrat Nora King said, as she cast a vote for Hosten. “I like both, I think they’re amazing for the City of Norwalk.”  

The civil discussion featured DTC Chairman Ed Camacho, who was ineligible to vote except if there was a tie, saying, “Whoever is not successful will be considered for {the Dem} at large slate in the next election cycle. I am pretty confident we will consider either of you for that opening, should we have it.”

State Representative-elect Travis Simms, who defeated Langella in two challenges for his Common Council seat and fended off Hosten in a Democratic primary for the state rep seat this summer, urged Democrats to vote for Langella.

“I know that this city needs a lot of more than what is being presented currently,” Simms said. “We need a person who is in there to fight, we need a person who is going to be there to stand up for everyone in the City. Yes, we do need folks from the LGBT community to be part of this process but that cannot be our single issue. …I think for this seat a person like Manny will serve this city better, district for district, not just South Norwalk,”

District B Chairman Bobby Burgess supported Langella, who received all but one District B vote.

“Representational government is so important, the basis of our democracy and I think that in 2018 it is time that we have an openly gay common council member in the city of Norwalk,” said Mike Mushak, the lone District B DTC member to vote for Hosten. “For these reasons, beyond the fact that I know Colin very well, he is a friend, he has amazing qualities that he will bring to Common Council, I strongly support him.”

District A Common Council member Chris Yerinides nominated Langella, calling him a role model and “phenomenal leader.”

“We get a lot of information literally delivered to us on a regular basis (as Council members),” Yerinides said. “It’s imperative that everybody on the Council can look at that information objectively, and really analyze what’s in there and think for themselves. I know Manny would do all of the above.”

District A Common Council member Eloisa Melendez nominated Hosten, citing his diverse background, experience as an educator and roles as president of the Village Creek Homeowners Association and as a Triangle Community Center Board member.

After six years on the Council, “I have served with a lot of people with a lot of different qualities and the last few months with Colin on the executive Committee here on the DTC have really shown me that he has the qualities to serve on the Council,” Melendez said. “… We are so lucky to have two great candidates to fill this position.”

Manny Langella speaks to Norwalk Democrats on Monday in the Norwalk Public Library.

Langella said his platform hasn’t changed from his two previous runs for Common Council, when he was an in-district candidate, but has some additions.

“What will define the success of this city will be a strong educational system, affordable housing for all of Norwalk, stable infrastructure and an expanded tax base fueled by innovation and a new revenue stream that keeps Norwalk competitive and relevant,” Langella said.

Running city-wide was different and, “I gained valuable insight,” he said. “… I admit this process is more intense than I have gone through in any of my previous election cycles and… I do find that to be healthy.”

“I have nothing for respect for Manny Langella,” Hosten said as part of his speech. “We have got to know him in the past few months; I think everything that Chris Yerinides said is true, I second that. Many of you that I have talked to have mentioned this is not an easy decision. … that’s a really great problem for us to be dealing with right now. We’ve got momentum as Democrats. We’ve got young people who are stepping up to serve our public.”

As a state rep candidate trying to keep pace with Simms on the Working Families Party line, he was “able to, even without winning, to help shape the conversation,” he said. “I feel energized… That’s what I want to continue to take onto the municipal level.”

Hosten added that he teaches two days a week at Fairfield University and has the time to devote to the Council.

“I know that it’s not an easy job. It’s something that perhaps Manny and I should have our heads examined for seeking,” he said. “… I am a proud black man, I am a proud gay man, a naturalized immigrant and here I am, asking you to serve our city.”

Norwalk Democrats meet Monday in the Norwalk Public Library.

8 comments

Mike Mushak December 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

I agree with Nora King, it was a “brutal decision.” Manny is a hard worker and a great guy and hopefully he isn’t going anywhere. I’ve supported him and even nominated him in the past, but last night I chose to support Colin for more historical reasons.

I’m happy Colin is filling the seat, and his own words from the article sum up why I supported him (as well as highlighting the vast difference between the Republican and Democratic parties at this point in history, for the obvious sad reason that “inclusion” is not a concept the GOP seems familiar with these days):

“I am a proud black man, I am a proud gay man, a naturalized immigrant, and here I am asking you to serve our city.”

And so history was made last night, as Norwalk continues its long 367-year history of diversity and inclusiveness that has defined our great city ever since it’s founding in 1651.

Rick December 18, 2018 at 9:09 am

Wonderful he sits well with the worst environmental track record of any party heading Norwalk. Where Im not a black gay man, or a naturalized immigrant I m not supporting hm on his track record has nothing to do with his personal life. The only thing he has done so far is provide an empty promise like most of the Democrats who serve.

So here is the deal South Norwalk got rock crushers , the city cuts a deal with Firetree and Ryan park never got done.Many other things that have ruined South Norwalk and no one including most who already sit in city hall has done anything to protect the entire city.

How does a lifestyle enhance ones fight for quality of life?

Colin never knew what the issues were , when it came time to fight he left the room each and every time. Ignored phone calls and seemed like he took direction from city hall.

He will be be just what the city needs a rubber stamp based on his past recored not his lifestyle.

The Democrats own the Tyvek Temple , Walk Bridge the Mall and Eversource and the mayos office,,, i trust Colin has a wrecking ball the only tool any new member needs to fix this mess. A yes person is just what the mayors were seeking,

Happy no amused , watching a sinking ship the last thing any of us expected was a flotation device.

John Levin December 18, 2018 at 11:16 am

I’m confused how this is a “democratic” seat. Voters elected Doug Stern to fill it, not a generic democrat to be selected by our town’s DTC. If a council seat is vacated before an election, why not leave it vacant? Or allow the mayor to appoint? Perhaps with the next Charter Revision this process can be made better, and fairer?

Rick December 18, 2018 at 11:34 am

We’ve got young people who are stepping up to serve our public.”

Unless Nancy left out another room where the young people were, or it was past their bedtime i don’t see a connection. Once the young people wake up and understand what kind of city they moved into maybe another party will take the lead. It could be the democrats enough of them have been slighted to last a lifetime.

Best part of living in Norwalk comes when you sell and leave is what Tyler seems to think.

Disgusting is the only word Im able to use right now..

Follow us on the walk bridge page on facebook the state just realized there is one.

Debora Goldstein December 18, 2018 at 12:28 pm

John Levin,

This is outlined in the City Charter, and is consistent with the Connecticut Statutes that generally require the same thing.

§ 1-174 Vacancies. [1]
(Sp. Laws 1913, No. 352, § 55; Sp. Laws 1915, No. 367, § 2; Sp. Laws 1921, No. 334, § 3; Sp. Laws 1969, No. 186, No. 283, § 3; Charter Amendment 11-7-1972; Charter Amendment 8-29-1978.[2])
Whenever any elective officer of said town or city shall die, resign or remove his residence from said city or, by reason of permanent mental or physical disability or infirmity, shall become incapacitated to discharge the duties of his office or shall be convicted of malfeasance in office or any infamous crime or when any vacancy shall occur in any elective office of said town or city from any cause, the Council of said city shall, having been called together for the purpose by the Clerk of said city, upon one weeks’s notice, declare such office vacant and shall forthwith fill such vacancy; and the person chosen to fill such vacancy shall have all the powers and duties of the former incumbent of such vacant office and shall continue therein until the expiration of the term for which said incumbent was elected and until his successor is duly elected and qualified. A plurality of ballots shall be sufficient to elect. If such vacancy occurs in the office of the Mayor, it shall be filled from the Councilmen of said city; if in the members of the Council, from the electors of the council district or districts in said city from which the former incumbent of such office was chosen; and if in any other elective office of said town or city, from the electors of said city, but in every case, except the office of Mayor, such vacancy shall be filled by an elector of the SAME POLITICAL PARTY FROM WHICH THE FORMER INCUMBENT WAS CHOSEN.

Hugh Sling December 18, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Who cares. The common council is a joke, stroking each other and hurting constituants while Norwalk goes right down the Drain.

Patrick Cooper December 18, 2018 at 6:24 pm

@John Levin – for a guy who has demonstrated a sophisticated sense of humor, albeit occasionally “Far-Side” oriented, I’m a little surprised you’re “confused” this is a “democratic” seat. Dude – they ALL are.

It’s a 14-1 Common Council. It’s a bumbling, stumbling, rope-a-dope democratic mayor who has failed the city repeatedly – on his third term. Doug Stern was a nobody until he took the Harry Rilling blood oath – and since then has gone from commissioner (no experience, no expertise) to CC member to Probate Judge. Go figure. Oh, and BTW – that might hit a speed bump once the investigation into illegally released court papers is complete.

Colin was minted from the same coin. Hint: Dis-B-Dem’s were openly hostile, but that doesn’t matter because the Bronx is running the show. Macho-Camacho is in control, and he has an issue with anyone who might Travis Simms the DTC.

Look at the comment by @Bob P. under the “Political Notes” article: his thesis? Political Party affiliation is the ONLY thing that matters to Norwalk. That’s pathetic. Which is utterly, completely Norwalk. We should embrace this – own it. So that one day – our kids can reject it.

Seriously John – it’s an open secret that “getting ahead” in Norwalk politics is utterly straightforward: Kiss a Harry…

{…}

Edited to remove ascribing of motives without proof. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/comment-guidelines/

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