League of Women Voters Guide to Aug. 12 primary

NORWALK, Conn. – The League of Women Voters of Norwalk has compiled a Voter Guide for the Aug. 12 primary elections.

The League asked all candidates to respond to the following three questions:

  • Why did you decide to run for [Registrar of Voters / State Representative], as opposed to some other office?
  • Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement, and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good [Registrar of Voters / State Representative]?
  • If you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?



John Federici
John Federici

John Federici

Reason for running for Registrar of Voters

I have been asked by the Republican Party twice before to run for Registrar, but the timing was not right for me. Being urged by many high ranking individuals in the RTC I felt now was the right time to run. As a member of the RTC for 18 years and being its vice-chair for four of those years, I have respected many of the members’ opinions and felt honored that they wanted me to run for this position.


I am a life-long resident of Norwalk, attended Norwalk Schools, run a business as vice-president/operations in Norwalk, have been active in our community for many years. Presently on the board of Keystone House (17yrs) and its past vice-chairman and chairman, former member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (2yrs), past member of the Parking Authority (6yrs) and its chairman for four of those years, former member of the Historical Commission (5yrs), appointed to the Norwalk Charter Revision Committee in 2000, former officer in the Sons of Italy, past member of the South Norwalk Boat Club, Norwalk Quartette Club and the Coachman’s Rod and Custom Car Club.

I have multiple supervisory and technical skills through my more than 40 years of experience of running businesses in Norwalk. I believe my work ethic and dedication to whatever I endeavor to do is my most dominant strength, and that I will serve the citizen’s of Norwalk well.


  • Work with staff to bring all the voter registration information up to date. Currently many of the names and phone numbers and addresses on file in the RoV are outdated and incorrect.
  • Bring a cooperative attitude and work ethic to the position of Republican RoV and dedicate myself to performing the duties of Registrar that the taxpayers deserve.
  • Understand and work with the attitude that my job is important to the city, to the voters and to the elected officials of all parties who rely on accurate and updated voter registration information.



Karen Doyle Lyons
Karen Doyle Lyons

Karen Doyle Lyons

In the primary on Aug. 12, I am seeking to be Re-Elected as Republican Registrar of Voters.

I am presently the Republican Registrar of Voters/Election Administrator for the City of Norwalk. I have held this position for almost 14 years. While I have served other elected positions, serving as the Registrar is a passion, a vocation.

I have proudly held many elected positions

  •  Norwalk Common Council: (Two Terms – 4 Years)

º  Finance Committee, Chairman

º  Planning Committee

º  Health, Welfare & Public Safety

º  Maritime Aquarium Authority, Vice-Chairman

  • First Taxing District Water Department, Treasurer  (Two Terms – 4 years)
  • Registrar of Voters City of Norwalk: (Seven Terms – 14 years,º 2001-2015)

Political Activities: Present:

  • Appointed by the Secretary of the State to train Chief polling site Moderators (only two certified trainers in the State)

Political Activities: Past

  • United States Senate, Special Assistant Fairfield County
  • State of Connecticut General Assembly, Human Rights & Opportunities Committee, Clerk
  • Fairfield County Registrar of Voters Association, Chairman (10 years)
  • Registrar of Voters Association of Connecticut, Board Member
  • District A Republican Town Committee, Secretary
  • District D Republican Town Committee, Vice Chairperson & Secretary
  • Republican Deputy Registrar of Voters (4years)
  • Republican Assistant Registrar (over 6 years
  • Official polling site positions

  º  Moderator

  º  Checker

  º   Machine Tender

  º  Assistant Registrar

  • Young Republican Club, Vice Chairperson & Secretary
  • Republican Women’s Club of Norwalk, Board Member
  • Republican Women’s Club of Westport

Community Activities: Present

  • Veterans Hall of Honor, Creator & Administrator
  • Norwalk Veterans Memorial Committee, Secretary
    • Memorial Day Parade, Master of Ceremonies
    • Veterans Day Ceremony
    • Shea-Magrath Memorial Ceremony
    • American Legion Post #12, Ladies Auxiliary

Community Activities: Former:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #399, Board Member
  • Elder house, Board Member
  • Broad River Homes, Board Member
  • Broad River Association, Member
  • St. Mary Church Guild, Concert Committee
  • Norwalk 350th Anniversary Parade Committee, Secretary
  • Norwalk Cities & Schools
    • Mayor’s Annual Ball Committee
    • Brien McMahon High School Activities
    • Norwalk High School Activities
    • Evening Women’s Club, Heart Ball Chairperson 1979 & 2007
    • Puerto Rican Day Parade
    • Among others


Congressman Christopher Shays, Washington D.C.                                      1987

Norwalk’s 350th Anniversary Committee, Common Council                      2001

Elderhouse                                                                                                              2001

Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, 350th Parade                                              2001

Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, Norwalk Top 100 People                         2004

ROVAC, Achievement Award                                                                              2006

State of Connecticut Recognition Award                                                          2007

The Hour Citizen Award                                                                                       2008

Marine Corps League, Certificate of Appreciation                                          2008

Norwalk Veterans Memorial Committee, Certificate of Appreciation        2013

Among others

I was born on January 15, 1945 in Greenwich Connecticut.

As an Air Force family, I was educated throughout the United States and France. I went to High School at El Rancho High, Las Vegas, Nevada, Brien McMahon High, Norwalk, Connecticut, Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, Connecticut. My experience for over 25 years for the Registrar of Voters office.

My goals for the future are to:

  • Continue to serve ALL voters regardless of party affiliation
  • Continue to administer smooth & trouble free Elections & Primaries
  • Continue to follow Federal and Connecticut Election Laws (CGS Section 9)





Chris Perone
Chris Perone

Chris Perone

Why did you decide to run for State Representative, as opposed to some other office?

Over the past ten years I have served as State Representative and I have truly loved working to bring back real results to Norwalk. Results in the form of economic assistance for small businesses, municipal aid and more money for education. I currently serve as the co-Chair of the Commerce Committee where I’ve been able to streamline the bureaucracy at the DECD (Department of Economic and Community Development), thereby making economic assistance accessible to more of Norwalk residents, businesses and community groups. From infrastructure to the Maritime Aquarium to the new Early College Academy at Norwalk High School, I have worked to bring back over $100 million in economic and community development. I have also increased the amount of yearly education funding Norwalk receives from Hartford by $4 million.

I decided to run for re-election because I continue to have a passion for the work I’ve been doing but also to help address the concerns of the citizens of my district.

Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement, and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good State Representative?

Two years ago I decided to pursue my MBA because I understood that having a business degree, at a time when Connecticut was striving to improve its business climate and global competitiveness, would improve my ability to make the best decisions possible for our states future. It also gave me new insights into how I, and the general assembly for that matter, can and should reexamine the role our states tax policy plays in Connecticut’s long term plans. I believe that our state’s tax policy needs to be reviewed and should be used as a strategic tool to not only put our state’s economy on an upward growth trajectory, but to ensure a better quality of life for its residents. It’s an ambitious goal but one I feel we need to set our sights on.

If you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?

If re-elected my top three priorities will be education, jobs, and public safety.

On education I will work to increase the amount of funding we receive from the state, add on to the 100 state-funded pre-K seats that have already been sent to Norwalk, and get funding for school construction and renovation.

On jobs, I will work to increase the ease of doing business so that we attract more companies thus attracting more jobs. Tax incentive programs that encourage local hiring such as the Small Business Express has been an effective tool in bringing more jobs to Norwalk.

On public safety, after 20 years of pushing for sensible gun safety legislation, we were finally able to pass something substantial that I was proud to co-sponsor. I want to continue working with law enforcement and local community leaders to find cooperative ways to deal with crime and increase transparency.



David Watts
David Watts

David Watts

Why did you decide to run for State Representative, as opposed to some other office?

Norwalk needs New Leadership.

Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement, and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good State Representative?

BS, Southern Connecticut State University, MA, Yale University Divinity School. Human Relations, Zoning Commission and second term Common Council Member.

If you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?

  • Better funded School District
  • Fixing our Roads and Bridges
  • More Jobs.





Bruce Morris
Bruce Morris

Bruce Morris

Why did you decide to run for State Representative, as opposed to some other office?

My passion has always been serving others. I have served as State Representative for the past 8 years and want to continue the work I’ve done. I am running for re-election to make sure our community continues to move forward and prosper together as one. I have fulfilled the campaign promises made 8 years ago and have continued to rise in positions of leadership here my voice is most effective towards accomplishing our needs. I have gained the institutional knowledge as a State Representative that allows me to be most effective in this position rather than learning a new one.
Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement, and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good State Representative?

As a founder and president of multiple construction related companies, one of which became the largest minority electrical contractors in the state, as the director of Human Relations of Norwalk schools and an associate minister of a local church as well as the 4-term State Representative my record of integrity, character, accomplishments and as a fighter for social justice and equality is clear. I am a proven innovator, mediator, listener, collaborator and leader at the city, state and national level.

If you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?

If re-elected my top three priorities will be education, jobs, and increasing state aid to reduce property tax and senior citizen support:

Jobs and economic development:

I will continue the states effort to reform our economy by making strategic investments in promising business sectors (medical, manufacturing, biotech, nano-tech, etc.) coupled with higher education support and training of our current and future workforce. I will continue to foster a climate that streamlines bureaucracy and encourages native growth. Programs as the Small Business Express and Community Economic Development Fund are needed now more than ever because many local business have become unbankable and simply need a new infusion of capital in order to thrive as our economy is revitalized


On education I will work to increase the amount of funding we receive from the state, add on to the over 100 state-funded pre-K seats that have already been sent to Norwalk, and get funding for school construction and renovation. Education is foundation to the individual, local, state and national success. I will continue to advocate for universal pre-school and finding cost-effective ways to eliminate the achievement gap.

Senior Citizen Support:

Building on 8 years of effectively ensuring municipal aid stability while increasing annual education funding by more than $4 million during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. I will argue for additional formula changes that ultimately grant Norwalk close to our fair share of state aid. I will continue to support the enhancement of our Senior Rental Rebate Program and others that provide relief to senior homeowners. Further, I will continue the fight to allow disabled seniors to remain in their home and receive services.



Warren Pena
Warren Peña

Warren Peña

Why did you decide to run for State Representative, as opposed to some other office?

I’m from South Norwalk and for years I have realized that our voice, the voice of the community in South Norwalk, is not being heard in Hartford. The work that I have done on the Common Council has showed me that the problems we face cannot be solved locally unless we have proper representation in Hartford. To make our voice heard, I believe we need a change in leadership, a voice that is not afraid to tackle the tough issues.

Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement,

and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good Legislator?

My experience working with the South Norwalk Community Center and serving on the Common Council have shown me the value of reaching out to everyone affected by an issue, and bringing communities together. I have learned that fighting for an issue means knowing precisely the concerns of the community. That listening is first and action is second. The only way to make progress is through proactive leadership. The divisions caused by being inattentive or reactive to everyone’s needs leaves us all in a situation where nothing improves.

If you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?

  • First, we desperately need state dollars from Hartford to fully fund our schools and I intend to fight for those funds. Most importantly it is a question of giving our children and teachers a chance to succeed. Beyond that it will finally bring down our property taxes which will help every home owner in the district.
  • Second, I have always believed in the need for better access to early childhood education. I will fight to secure greater funding for early childhood programs and I will fight for additional funds to expand pre-K enrollment. Our work in bringing in funds to the heart of the district for the benefit of the district, to receive more programs and services through the South Norwalk Community Center is an example of how I have worked well with others to accomplish common goals for our children. The After the Bell program and the new construction at the South Norwalk Community Center will give the children of the district a learning environment needed in our community.
  • Third, we need to foster local economic development in the district. An important part of economic development is making sure that everyone in the economy gets an opportunity to rise equally through hard work, so I will fight to increase access to job training programs in the district, resume building classes, adult education, support programs for new small business owners and other adult competency programs.





Fred Wilms
Fred Wilms

Fred Wilms

Why am I running for State Representative?

To me, public service is about seeking to better the lives of people in our community. We all want a healthy & safe place to live, work and raise our family. Sadly Connecticut has not been doing well. Forbes ranked us #50 – the worst in economic growth. Rising taxes, no job growth and irresponsible state budgets have all put us in decline. These problems. along with transportation, can only be addressed at the State level. On behalf of the citizens of Norwalk and New Canaan, I want to do whatever I can to get Connecticut growing & winning again.

My qualifications

I have a very strong background in Finance. I received my BA degree in Economics from Northwestern University and my MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan. I have worked over 30 years in banking, with the last 11 at Webster Bank. At Webster, I am a Senior Vice President and work with small businesses in Norwalk and New Canaan. I served the past 8 years as Chairman of the Board of Estimate & Taxation, where we protected Norwalk’s prestigious Triple A bond ratings.

I have broad municipal government experience. I have served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Water Pollution Control Authority, plus was elected to the Common Council.

I have State Government experience. I served three years on the Connecticut State Transportation Strategy Board, where I promoted better use of our commuter rail and highways. I opposed highway tolls.

I also have had significant community involvement. I served as President of the Senior Center from 2007-2011, the Human Services Council board, the Columbus Magnet School PTO plus am a proud Marching Bears parent. Last year I co-chaired Cavalcade. My two children attended Columbus, West Rocks and Norwalk High.

I am honored to be endorsed by former Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, plus New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi.

Top three priorities.

You can count on me to Vote to:

  • Grow jobs by promoting small businesses
  • Keep taxes in check
  • Stop wasteful spending

Specific to Norwalk, I will work to bring more ECS funding back for our schools, plus do whatever I can to ensure the Norwalk River MetroNorth bridge remains functional.

You can also count on me to get back to you right away for your questions or problems.



Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson

Why did you decide to run for State Representative, as opposed to some other office?

I am running for State Representative because I want to work to return Connecticut to its great potential, a state where families can afford to live, businesses can grow, and people want to retire.

Considering your education, employment experience, political involvement, and personal attributes, what qualifications do you have to be a good State Representative?

It is through my business and public service that I have developed the skills and experience essential to be a good State Representative. As an attorney running my own practice, I advocate and problem-solve for my clients, both individuals and businesses. As President of the Norwalk Senior Center, I worked to make the most of the limited resources we had available. And, as a Conservation Commissioner and Zoning Commissioner for over 7 years, I make decisions and enact regulations by listening to the needs of property owners and the concerns of the public.

If you are elected, what will be your three top priorities, and why?

  • Connecticut’s economy has been in trouble for a long time. The budget is out of balance, state spending is wasteful, and the cost of doing business is too high. We must reverse these economic trends. We must adopt an honest and balanced budget, streamline state spending to make the most of our resources, and lower the tax burden on people and businesses.
  • Fairfield County is home to two regional corridors of transportation, MetroNorth and I-95, which are vital to the regional economy. As we have read over the last few weeks and months, our roads and rails are in dire need of maintenance and upgrades. We must invest in our infrastructure, which we can do by limiting state borrowing to projects that benefit the public.
  • The Education Cost Sharing program, a state grant, was meant to be used to ensure that students across the state had access to quality education. The grant process often results in an inequitable distribution of state funds, as we have experienced here in Norwalk. We must ensure that every city or town has the share of state funding for education that they need.



4 responses to “League of Women Voters Guide to Aug. 12 primary”

  1. EastNorwalkChick

    As a constituent of the 137th District, I am appalled at the startlingly lack of information that Watts has provided about himself and why we here in the 137th should vote for him. Every candidate listed here has made a detailed case for why voters should vote for them.
    Does he think that this doesn’t matter to us voters? Was he ill prepared for this questionnaire? Was he thinking that by just saying “Norwalk need new leadership” that we are going all get on board with him, no questions asked? Sorry doesn’t work that way with me and I’m sure it doesn’t work a lot of other voters too.
    This clearly tells me that he is not ready for higher office…god help us if he gets elected.

  2. Henry

    I was going to ask if anyone else found Karen’s plugging in her entire resume kind of overkill? I mean, it’s just a list. This isn’t a job interview.

    But then I read EastNorwalkChick. Two extremes, right. The thing is, if this was the only thing Karen had ever said about her campaign or what I’d seen of her in practice (or Watts too, for that matter), I’d care what she had to say on a questionaire. Being a public figure for a good while now means I know about her, like EastNorwalkChick probably knows about Watts. So Karen goes off on overkill I don’t want or need, and EastNorwalkChick gets bent out of shape over Watts deciding he doesn’t need to say much more than what everyone already knows.

    I know people take the League seriously. I do to. But if it’s just so we can quibble about the way they answered, then we got to rethink this whole comment thing.

  3. Norewalk Lifer

    Fred Wilms and Chris Perone have impressive achievements, there isn’t much light between the candidates, the main focus appear to be Jobs, Education, Infrastructure.
    That’s good, it means the candidates truly understand what is important to Norwalk, But how they go about securing those goals is another story.
    I see Fred Wilms cites the curtailing of wasteful spending, but it would be good to know what Mr. Wilm’s definition of wasteful spending is.
    I agree that Mr. Watts should have done a better job in defining his vision, saying that Norwalk needs new leadership is good for a campaign slick, but not for the general reading populace.
    Ms. Wilson’s offering seems a bit trite and undeveloped to me; citing recent infrastructure issues does not impress me, at the risk of sounding flippant, it would appear Ms. Wilson decided to run when the walking bridge broke down.
    I, too, have a bad impression of her machinations concerning the whole Mosque controversy; in my view, if the voters raise the bar when it comes to accountability, we would not have correct the filters that vet the candidates by going to the voting booth; that vetting should be done much in advance of the primary.
    Mr. Federici may be a nice person, but Ms. Lyons has the chops to secure her position as the Registar of voters.
    Mr. Pena’s focus on job training is good, but not good enough; we need people who can attract the right businesses to this state, let’s face it, the decades of good manufacturing jobs is over, what jobs would Mr. Pena propose training people for?
    Mr. Morris’ resume? talking points, attract nanotech to Connecticut? well, he’s got a lofty idea there, certainly he understands that he is going up against a Goliath in New York state when it comes to tech and science.
    Or maybe he doesn’t understand this, so how do you capitalize on this phemon in upper NY state? By using good sense, competing with Cuomo’s plan for technology is probably a losing proposition, BUT, creating a corridor for support jobs and functions isn’t. Mr. Morris’ vision is short, if there is to be a rebirth of tech here in Connecticut, then the use of remote employment, and other tools of technology should be promoted, I don’t see any of that in the words he uses. But certainly he does a fine job of answering the questions with what he’s done already and then, a bullet or two on what he will do.

    Norwalk Lifer

  4. EastNorwalkChick

    Henry, I have no idea where Watts stands on certain issues since he has not fully articulated them and he has not been a resident of this district for long and to us an unknown. Nor do I know anything more about him other than what has been reported on in the past, which really doesn’t get in depth and most of it I take as hearsay. I was hoping for more information on both the candidates running in my district, with Perrone I received what I needed to make an informed decision, with Watts, I didn’t. With me, you need to convince me to vote for you.

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