Norwalk political notes: DePalma steps forward, apolitical softball, Wood honored, housing segregation

District D Democrat Erica DePalma, right, announced Saturday that she would like to run against Republican Board of Education member Bryan Meek, left. (Facebook photos)

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. – Some Norwalk political developments for you:

  • DePalma looks to unseat Meek
  • Softball charity recipient announced
  • Wood named ‘Capitol Caregiver’
  • Himes goes to the dogs
  • Segregated by design?


Another DePalma seeks office
Republican Board of Education member Bryan Meek has a Democrat willing to challenge him for the District D Board of Education seat this fall.

Erica DePalma announced Saturday on Facebook that she has “formally requested the support of the District D Democratic Committee for my campaign for the District D Board of Education nomination.”

“I am a lifelong resident of Norwalk and live in the Silvermine section with my husband Michael and two daughters,” who are five and seven, she wrote.

No decisions on endorsements will be made until July, District D Democrats Co-Chair Donna King said.

Meek, who is unaffiliated mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton’s campaign treasurer, told Norwalk Republicans this month that he might not run, but on Saturday he said in a NancyOnNorwalk comment that he’s going to file paperwork for a re-election bid Friday. In a statement to NancyOnNorwalk, Meek commended DePalma’s desire to serve, noted that he is the only Republican elected to “significant” office who is running for re-election, and emphasized that Norwalk needs members of both political parties in its government. His full statement is printed separately.

DePalma on Facebook explained:

“I am the Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing with Media Horizons, a firm headquartered at 800 Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk. Throughout my career, I have demonstrated proficiency in balancing strategic leadership with fiscal responsibility in the oversight of Marketing budgets for some of our nation’s most iconic brands. I have been featured as a ‘Top Women in Digital’ by Cynopsis Media and by Direct Marketing News as a ‘Women to Watch’ honoree. I was also recently listed in the Fairfield County Business Journal’s ‘40 Under 40’.”


Her husband, Michael DePalma, served on the Common Council from 2015 to 2017. His father, Nicholas, was on the Council for two terms in the early 1980s and ran for mayor.

“First, let me state my love for this city,” she wrote in a statement to NancyOnNorwalk. “I’m thankful for my personal education in Norwalk Public Schools and grateful to my grandfather and great-grandfather for their contributions to our educational system. As I mentioned in my post, I have deep roots in this city. Beyond the Jakobs, the Deering family, the Lyons family and the Vigilante family all had small businesses that contributed to the economic growth of our community. I have endless appreciation for the foundation provided by my family, my teachers and my coaches. As my children reached school age, it became apparent that there is room for improvement in our current approach to education in this city. And quite honestly, I’m not the type of person to complain without offering to be part of the solution. I owe it to my parents and grandparents to cultivate the investments they’ve made in our community. And of course, to our children, who are the future of this city and deserve the support that helped define the person I am today.”

“I need to impact the type of change that keeps young families from leaving our city,” she wrote. “They are leaving for new schools and the perception we can’t provide the latest science, technology, engineering, math, arts and extra curricular activities. They are leaving because they lack confidence in our special education department. We have work to do and I’m prepared to listen and advocate for short term fixes and long term roadmaps.”


Donkaphants will meet Elekies to benefit Keystone House

Norwalk’s first political charity softball game is official: the Norwalk Republican and Democratic Town Committees have issued a press release inviting you to attend as they compete, not against each other but in teams with members of both parties.

“Game day will be Saturday, August 3rd from 2-4 PM, with a rain date of Sunday, August 4th and will take place at the Kendall School field,” the release said. “100% of all funds collected will go to Keystone House, Inc. in Norwalk. The suggested donation to attend the game is $10.”

“The two town committees decided to come together to show that while politics can cause divides among many and has become increasingly partisan, on the local level, the parties can put aside our differences, put our community first and have fun while doing it”, Republican Town Committee Chairman Mark Suda is quoted as saying.

Each team will be comprised of half RTC members and half DTC members, the town committees say.

“Rather than being the Democrats and Republicans playing against each other, we are blending the teams so we are working together as teams with each other Democratic Town Committee Chairman Ed Camacho is quoted as saying.

“Fans will be rooting for either the Donkaphants team or the Elekies team,” the release said. “The Town Committees have one major rule for the game, no politics! The spirit of the game will be community and fun. More information will follow on a joint Facebook page for the event coming soon.”


AARP honors Wood

State Rep. Terri Wood (R-141) was recently presented with an award by AARP Connecticut Volunteers Peter and Kathy Eder of Darien “acknowledging her work advancing policies in 2018 that supported in-home family caregivers of parents, spouses and children with disabilities,” according to a press release.

“I am honored to receive this 2018 AARP Caregiving Champion award,” Wood, a member of the Human Services Committee, is quoted as saying. “Connecticut’s dedicated caretakers make it possible for their loved ones to live independently in their own home, which greatly improves the quality of life for so many. Anything we can do to help them in their efforts is a worthwhile cause in my book.”

“Last year, Rep. Wood co-sponsored Senate Bill 157, An Act Reducing Participant Costs and Expanding Eligibility for the CT Home-Care Program for the Elderly, and House Bill 5584, An Act Establishing a Tax Credit for Employers that Provide Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Concerning Family and Medical Leave Accounts, among other legislation endorsed by AARP,” the release said, calling AARP a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership of more than 600,000 in Connecticut that fights for positive social change and the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning.”


Pun intended

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) walks a dog Friday at PAWS.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich) attempted Friday to draw everyone’s attention to PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society of Norwalk, Connecticut) by visiting the shelter and posting pics on Facebook.

He wrote:

“I had a pawsatively fun #JimOnYourJob yesterday at PAWS – Pet Animal Welfare Society of Norwalk, Connecticut in Norwalk! I was feline good to help out with walking locally rescued dogs! Thanks fur letting me stop by to tour your facility and learn more about rescuing local animals.

“PAWS is always looking for donations and volunteers, send them a bark to help out! They rescue and rehome over 100 dogs and 500 cats every year.”

Un-Constitutional policies?

The Norwalk Fair Housing Advisory Commission on Tuesday drew more than 50 people to the City Hall community room for a lesson in how America became segregated.

Cornerstone to this event was “Segregated by Design,” a film called “eye-opening” by those who attended. Based on the book The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, the film outlines what it calls un-Constitutional “racially explicit policy” that forced African Americans into segregation and caused slum conditions that white Americans then thought were created by African Americans.

If the policies were unConstitutional, “then we have an obligation to remedy” the situation, the film states.

You can watch “Segregated by Design” on Vimeo by going here.

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