Updated, 4:30 p.m.: Comments from Sheri Brown.
NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Democrats are stepping forward to run for office.
District C on Wednesday endorsed a slate of candidates; although the Democratic Town Committee isn’t bound by the district’s endorsement, it’s customary that the DTC will approve the recommendation, District C Chairman John Kydes said.
There’s also another woman hoping to get the District D endorsement for the Board of Education candidacy, and some drama in the Third Taxing District, as Commissioner Pam Parkington is reportedly stepping down.
All but one incumbent Council members at large are seeking reelection, Kydes said; Michael Corsello is stepping out and Manny Langella appears set to get the DTC at large endorsement in his place, according to Kydes.
Corsello did not reply to a Wednesday evening email.
Beth Seigelbaum is not seeking reelection as an in-district Council member. She was first elected in 2017.
Board of Ed, District C
Diana Carpio was unanimously endorsed by District C to run for the Board of Education.
Carpio said she’s a single mother whose son is a Norwalk High School sophomore and has attended Norwalk Public Schools at all grade levels.
She is Norwalk High School parents club president and was active in the Parent Teacher Organizations at Nathan Hale Middle School and at Marvin Elementary, she said.
“I believe that there’s a lot of changes that need to be made,” Carpio said to NancyOnNorwalk. “I am hoping to be able to make those changes for the children. For me, it’s about the children. It’s not about who is arguing with whom, who said what. I want to hear from the teachers, I want to do what is best for the kids and I want to be able to make change.”
Programs have been changed but many people don’t feel the right decisions were made, she said.
“Right now I feel that everything is being pulled in different directions, that it’s not really concentrating on the real issue,” she said.
“I want to step up to the plate and help the children,” she said in an email. “I want to sit with as many educators, SPED parents and students as I can and listen. As my son went through the school system I have heard pros and cons on many topics. I want to listen and make well informed decisions to benefit our children. In doing this I also need to listen to our educators that are with our children on a daily basis.”
Council, in-district C
Kydes is seeking reelection. He has recruited George Theodoridis to run for Council.
The nomination was seconded by Siegelbaum.
“I know many of you don’t know him very well,” Kydes said to District C members. “I have had the pleasure of knowing him for several years. I know his character, I know the type of person he is. I would be proud to serve with him on the Common Council.”
Theodoridis told NancyOnNorwalk that he was born and raised in Norwalk, a graduate of Brien McMahon High School.
He likes to be part of the community and support its growth, and is running, “Just to be able to give back and help in any way shape or form,” he said.
Board of Ed, District D
Sheri Brown spoke to District D on Monday and offered herself as a Board of Education candidate.
Erica DePalma is also seeking the endorsement. The eventual candidate will be seeking to unseat Republican incumbent Bryan Meek.
“I have a passion for public service, I always have, specifically as it pertains to public education and given that I am a longtime Norwalk resident,” Brown said Thursday. “I was born and raised here, I attended our schools, I do have a desire to be able to serve and to share my expertise, knowledge and ideas as the district continues to moves forward.”
She is an administrative professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in governmental agencies, including leadership roles with the Norwalk Housing Authority and Norwalk Public Schools, according to her resume.
Brown said she was NPS public affairs officer from 2000 to 2009, when her position was eliminated as part of budget cuts, and, “I know firsthand that this is an amazing school district, with some awesome staff, who I know are committed to student success.”
“I want to be able to make sure that our staff continue to have the necessary tools, professional development and resources, so that, for instance, our at risk kids can continue to get the supports that they need and also to make sure that our high flying students, our high achievers, to make sure that they get what they need,” she said, explaining why she wants to be on the Board of Education. “When teacher is in a classroom it is a very challenging thing to do, to be able to work with students who have different learning styles, it does take a particular expertise and skillset, knowledge to accomplish that. So I’d like to make sure that they get their supports.”
Her father, Harold McCready, set an example of public service, she said, explaining that McCready was a Council member in the 1990s and before that, under Mayor Frank Esposito, a member of the Fire Commission and the Library Board.
Third Taxing District
Third Taxing District Commissioner Debora Goldstein spoke to District C on Wednesday, seeking support for a return to the Democratic fold as she seeks reelection.
One 3TD seat opens every two years and Goldstein is expecting to run against former Commissioner Charlie Yost, a Republican. She is currently unaffiliated and will become a Democrat again in time for a DTC endorsement, she said.
That’s only possible because Parkington, who was elected in 2017, is resigning, she said. Rules prohibit an all-Democrat panel in the three-member Commission, and with Parkington stepping down, there’s a slot open for a Democrat, Goldstein said.
Brenda Penn-Williams pointed out that Goldstein and Commissioner Johnnie Mae Weldon could appoint Goldstein to fill Parkington’s term.
“I don’t think there’s anything that technically forbids it but I think that would be terribly self-serving,” Goldstein said, announcing a preference for a “fair election.”
She left the Democratic Party “almost a coin flip” so that Parkington could run, as she’d be unaffiliated and there wouldn’t be three Democrats if Parkington won, she said. Also, she was serving as treasurer for unaffiliated Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton, and, “It seemed like it would be mighty uncomfortable for me to be sitting in on DTC meetings as a member while I was helping out with another campaign, so it made sense for it to be me.”
“I felt like I was going to be sitting out of the party for a long time, having sacrificed that spot, to make the seat competitive because Pam did win. She ran a good race. Her numbers were higher in our district than they had been in consecutive elections,” Goldstein said.
She had already been petitioning for an unaffiliated candidacy, so she’ll be on the ballot regardless, she said.
Penn-Williams objected, saying, “I had a problem with you a few years ago when you tried to unseat me as vice chair.”
Former Commissioner David Brown told her Goldstein didn’t support her, and “I thought that was very underhanded,” Penn-Williams said.
Linda Langston spoke in Goldstein’s defense, saying that many Third Taxing District electors know there were “some very serious problems” with CMEEC (Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative), “that were not the fault of our representatives there but sorting them out was a very complicated thing.”
CMEEC is a “consortium that we need to belong to buy electricity when we need it,” and Goldstein sorted out the “very complicated” issues, and people know it, not just District C Democrats but East Norwalk business people, she said.
“As most of us who do a lot of things, you end up with somebody unhappy about this or unhappy about that,” Langston said. “I am saying in this case all we are talking about is running that taxing district.”
Kydes said the item hadn’t been on the agenda and therefore there would be no vote.