Norwalk electoral process: Young to replace Simms

Darlene Young addresses District B Democrats on Monday at the Smilow Life Center in South Norwalk.

Updated, 8:30 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s the news from District B Democrats:

  • Young chosen to replace Simms
  • Hosten and Langella vie for Stern’s seat
  • Burgess looks to new role


City employee will become Council member

District B Democrats at a Monday meeting chose South Norwalk stalwart Darlene Young to replace Travis Simms on the Common Council.

Young was recommended by District B Dems last month, according to Chairman Bobby Burgess.  At Monday’s meeting she faced a challenge from Jacquen Jordon-Byron. The vote was 13-2 in favor of Young.

“I will do my best,” Young said, thanking her compatriots for their support.

Young, a longtime active District B Democrat, is a City employee in the Human Relations and Fair Rent Department, Director of Personnel and Labor Relations Ray Burney said last month.  Council members are essentially unpaid, receiving only a yearly stipend of about $600.

Young is from Stamford, has raised two children in Norwalk Public Schools, and has “lived in the same spot right up the hill for 27 years,” she told District B Dems on Monday.

“My life should be an example for my children, what it means to be in service, and what I give back to the community,” Young said. “I try to do that every day. I think that is what it is going to take to move us forward as a community and as a people.”

She has “nothing but time now because my kids are grown” and is proud of her 20 years working with the Mayor’s Summer Youth program, she said.

Jordon-Byron sought Faye Bowman’s Council seat in June, after Faye Bowman announced that she was moving out of town and would therefore resign. The seat went to Ernie Dumas.

Jordon-Byron said she moved to Norwalk from Brooklyn 18 years ago, is fully committed to the City, and has attempted to recruit her family members to move here.

Simms was elected to represent District 140 in the Statehouse.  Simms said his resignation from the Council is imminent and he expects to be sworn in as State Rep on Jan. 7 or 9.


Hosten and Langella seek At Large seat

Manny Langella, who twice ran unsuccessfully to represent District B on the Common Council, is competing with Colin Hosten, who just ran unsuccessfully for State Representative, to replace Doug Stern on the Council.

The decision is up to the Democratic Town Committee, as Stern, who is the next Norwalk-Wilton Judge of Probate, is an At Large Council member.  At Large Council members represent the entire city; in-district Council members represent their Council district.

Hosten lives in Village Creek, which is in District E.

From left, Human Relations Commissioner Colin Hosten speaks to District B Democrats as Fair Rent Commissioner Manny Langella and former Board of Estimate and Taxation Chairman Jim Clark listen Monday in South Norwalk.

Langella told District B Dems that he is “super passionate about our home” and said he is passionate about “education and the economic impact that a great school system has but equally understanding that there are taxpayers that we have to be cognizant of and aware of when we are making these decisions.”

“This provides an opportunity for District B to be equally represented on the at large slate. I think there’s an imbalance there,” he said. “… I am a strategist. I love process, scalability, analysis, looking at things, taking a step back, understanding, asking questions collecting feedback and really kind of questioning the status quo. I consider myself an independent thinker.”

“Many of us can identify with that feeling of living in a place and wanting to take an active role in public service,” Hosten said.  He emphasized his passion for education as the son of two teachers and his awareness of gentrification issues.

“I am particularly passionate about how we think about our environmental sustainability here in Norwalk,” Hosten said.  “Not just because of the pretty immediate danger, it is an opportunity to think how we can grow our economy as a 21st-century city.  So, again, I am not here to put anybody on the spot, I just want to make sure that if anybody wants to talk to me, any questions you have on any position I have, I would welcome that. I respect everybody, this is a process. I think it’s a win-win situation and if Manny is selected to fill the seat he has my full support and I believe it’s vice versa.”

Burgess announced that “no offense to Colin,” he felt as chairman that Langella has been a “loyal soldier for many many years” and deserves District B’s support.  Burgess added that he hoped Hosten would run for Board of Education next year.

Mike Mushak then spoke up to say that while Langella is his friend, “Norwalk has never had an openly gay person on the Council and I think it’s time…. I think that Colin would be an amazing at large Common Council member, as would Manny.”

There actually was a gay man on the Council many, many years ago, Burgess said.  Mushak stood by his support for Hosten.

The decision will be made by the Democratic Town Committee.



Burgess for Second Taxing District

Burgess said he will “absolutely not” be a candidate for District B Chairman again.

Instead, he’s running to replace Mary Geake on the Second Taxing District, he said, and he hopes to be endorsed at the next DTC meeting.


Mike Mushak December 4, 2018 at 8:44 am

Norwalk has a large and very active LGBTQ community that finally deserves representation on the Common Council in the year 2018. Colin Hosten is that candidate who could bring a fresh perspective to our great city that has always celebrated diversity back to its founding 367 years ago.

Norwalk is now home to the largest LGBTQ event in the state, Pride in the Park held every June, and we have the thriving Triangle Community Center with a national reputation for excellence. We also have a large number of gay-owned businesses adding to our local economy, including Troupe 429 on Wall Street.

It is astounding to hear my friend Bobby Burgess say “we once had a gay member of the Common Council” in this context, as if that somehow fulfilled some obligation. Why is that any different than saying “you know, we once had a woman on the Council” or “gee, we once had a black person on the Council, so why do we need one now’? It didn’t help his argument that he couldn’t even remember who it was. We all mis-speak at times, so I forgive Bobby for this obvious blooper. (But I would like to know who the mysterious openly gay Common Council member was, just out of curiosity!)

Seriously, my husband David Westmoreland and I have endured 10 years of living in a District with State Representative Bruce Morris who consistently did not represent us or any other LGBTQ members of his district, and in fact he voted against our basic human right of marriage equality. The fact that he was a Democrat only added insult to injury, as it contradicted everything the Democratic Party stood for in terms of inclusiveness and social justice. It’s as if he never heard the famous MLK quote “the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice.” And for the record, the biblical argument against gay rights is bogus, as the bible also supports slavery and the owning of wives as property. You can’t cherry-pick the bible to support bigotry and hatred, sorry.

When David and I were finally married a few years ago by our priest in our church, St. Paul’s on the Green here in Norwalk, I couldn’t help but think how hard our struggle was for generations to attain that basic human right. It wasn’t just a marriage for us, but a profound expression of human progress and dignity after lifetimes of being bullied and treated as sub-human, something still going on in our own country and around the world.

I also couldn’t help but remember how our State Representative Bruce Morris treated us during the marriage equality debate 10 years ago, shunning us at the last minute when we requested he meet with us and other gay members of his district (we had a big event planned at our house in South Norwalk and he called that morning to cancel), and how his disgusting anti-gay speech on the floor of the General Assembly compared us to animals. He brought shame to our district and to the City of Norwalk, something we will never forget as long as we live.

Yes, now is the right time for Norwalk to have an openly gay Common Council member, especially someone as awesome as Colin Hosten.

Piberman December 4, 2018 at 10:21 am

Mr. Mushak:
We’d be better off celebrating the abilities and contributions of our elected officials and those who seek public office. Rather than calling attention to their “life style”. We expect our representatives to represent every citizen. Not those of particular conditions, qualities, lifestyles, religion, etc. Historically Norwalk has been a fairly tolerant community without need to identify life style preferences of its elected officials and candidates. Our local governance works best based on merit, not “preference”.

Rick December 4, 2018 at 11:18 am

This is not about the LGBTQ community, its about representing all including the LGBTQ community on the environmental issues and everything else Hosten left out the first time around . Ive been warned to stay away from controversy so i will. Try and label me and others in our district as anything but progressive and forth coming would be a mistake .

I also couldn’t help but remember how our city has treated the entire community on recent issues effecting the entire south Norwalk community and beyond . Anyone placing a label on this is wrong very wrong.I agree with you Mike.

Its the here are now, I have to agree with Mike Morris and the others are guilty of many things, but what about filling the shoes with someone who fits first them if you want to talk lifestyle fine. Im all for it.

Lets give the new rock crushing facility a chance to become a business and see what South Norwalk lost, on the one issue alone. Its not about rocks its about all the other stuff they will be able to crush as well.

Shame has always been a office holding trait in South Norwalk at many levels with many officials , the field has hosted many winners as well.

Mike take nothing away from your passion but consider those hurt in many walks of life in South Norwalk by what you have yourself described as fair and honest planning. it was never a lifestyle argument its always been a intellect shortfall on many issues poor planning and in some cases a group whose decisions have made the quality of life in the city less than desirable for all walks of life.

Lets be honest this is about all who live in Norwalk and have already been let down by a poor performance .Holsten had his chance to speak last at a meeting on issues in South Norwalk at city hall and decided to leave without a word . NON carried it on video its not heresay it was documented. South Norwalk lost no one to blame but themselves but when we needed a voice Holsten got up and left the room without a word.

Bobby Burgess is from another generation like it or not its one that has paid their dues , Manny from another has paid his dues as well. I simply don’t see Colin as a god choice at this time for no other reason than ineffective is reaching a goal for all.

Norwalks diversity right now needs a new mayor the one we have right now has hurt all walks of life. Wall st is a perfect example .

Sherelle Harris December 4, 2018 at 11:54 am

Point of clarification: Mr. Burgess hopes to replace Mrs. Geak on the Second Taxing District and stressed that he will “absolutely not” seek to role of chair for the Second Taxing District.

john flynn December 4, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Darlene Young gets my full endorsement. Congratulations; you are a class act. She, quit frankly, is one of the finest Democrats in the City. I have nothing but praise for her among the numerous clowns that about. Clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right. No one in district B has ever done anything for anyone in District B. No one is qualified. Not Bobbi Burgess, not Hosten, not Morris, and certainly not Simms. They call someone they know in an other department and that is it. I have heard it countless times. I believe, Simms has 4 arrests and no convictions. Lets Vote him in. It should have nothing to do with how many estrogen shots you take or how many testosterone shots the Champ took. We are screwed. That State Rep position is critical and now there is virtually no chance of a State budget passing without Fred Wilms. None. The Walk Bridge is a disaster due to Eversource, the planned dredging, the Ct DOT, and the DEEP. Vote row A; destroy the City, destroy the State, and the Country. The City is self insured, that means their ability to tax you is their safety blanket. Get ready. When the mall fails, and the businesses fail, the rubber stamp is going to do to Norwalk what happened in Elmira when the mall came there. 100 new empty storefronts. No one in Norwalk can afford to shop at Nordstrom. We will need much more City services and Police overtime.

Nancy Chapman December 4, 2018 at 4:53 pm


I listened to my recording and found that I had reported Mr. Burgess’ comment correctly. Then I called him. He emphasized that he will “absolutely not” run for Ward B Chairman again. “It’s no fun,” he said.

He is running to replace Mary Geake on the Second Taxing District.

Kathleen December 4, 2018 at 10:58 pm

@Piberman: First, you might want to clarify why you put quotation marks around “lifestyle” and “preference”. Secondly, I am a 73 year old woman who spent too many decades watching White males rule every aspect of my life. The odds of all those White males being the best we had to make decisions for the rest of us is pretty poor. Hence, the diversity that our country largely respects now is a breath of fresh air. It’s important to see someone with whom you identify in positions to serve the community. It ups the chance that all of our needs will be considered.

Rick December 6, 2018 at 12:27 am

Congratulations, Darlene always behind the scenes not wanting anything but a better city, moderating, crowd control, rational thought progressive meetings substantial outcomes and compassion while Bridging Gaps that helps those that are facing difficult times.

Thank you Darlene .

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