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.
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.