NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Democrats were “thrilled” Tuesday as they celebrated their resounding victories in the election.
“It’s better than losing,” said Attorney Michael Corsello, who got the most votes by far in the Common Council at-large race, with 7,462 votes.
Why is that?
“I have lived here most of my life and I have worked here all of my working life. What else can I attribute it to? It’s longevity. I guess I haven’t pissed off that many people,” Corsello said.
“I really get the impression that Norwalk is on the edge of doing some really great things and I am excited to have the potential of being a part of making that all happen,” Corsello said.
Mike DePalma, another newcomer, got the most votes in heavily Republican District D.
That’s in spite of not having much time to campaign, given that he has two young children and a full-time job, he said, thanking his wife.
“I am thrilled about it to be honest with you. It’s kind of hard to get a gauge. … you’re not getting poll results or anything,” DePalma said.
“I was not a big door knocker,” DePalma said. “… I had to be a little more creative. We had a big Facebook push campaign and tried to identify people we knew in the district who were supporters and tell them to tell their friends, and kind of grew it organically like that, which seemed to work well.”
DePalma, a star baseball player when he attended Norwalk High, said he spent election day at Ponus Ridge Middle School, and people kept coming up to him and telling him they had been told to vote for him. The person who referred them would turn out to “be a buddy of mine,” so “it kind of worked out well,” he said.
DePalma’s father was on the Common Council in the ’80s.
“The first text I got was my father,” DePalma said. “I am very excited about it and my dad is very excited about it. I got a lot of that at the polls, too: ‘Oh, I knew your father,’ ‘I knew your father.’ It kind of went a long way.”
Nick Sacchinelli, another newcomer, got the third highest total in the Council at-large race with 6,570 votes.
“I am thrilled. I am still half expecting it to change,” Sacchinelli said.
Looking at the list of winners, he said, “I am looking forward to working with all of them; they are all good people. I want to see the city move forward. This is great.”
Sacchinelli ran as a District D candidate in 2013 and lost.
“After I lost I stuck with it. I sat on the DTC (Democratic Town Committee). I took on as many mentors as possible, that have done it before, and I had a lot of support,” Sacchinelli said.
One more reason for the win: “And, on the record, Mark’s fantastic article,” he said.
Steve Serasis was second only to Democratic incumbent Eloisa Melendez in District A. This in spite of spending the last two weeks in China on business.
Serasis said he came straight to the election night party from the airport.
“I kind of had a feeling all along, even as I was touring across China, that a win would be inevitable,” Serasis said.
“I am going to be honest and transparent, and tell everyone what is wrong whether they like it or not and do what I can to fix it,” Serasis said.
A vigilant eye is needed on the development that is on the way so Norwalk doesn’t lose its character, he said.
Common Councilman John Igneri (D-District E) had similar thoughts.
“We are going to look at keeping it moving forward,” Igneri said. “That means more development. We have to create a friendlier zoning vision so that people are not afraid to come to us. We have great opportunities to develop the area around (South Norwalk) railroad station for the 25 to 35-year-old group. We have to look at that. So those are all positive things.”
“We can work together, work hard, and all put our efforts into making the citizens of Norwalk proud for having selecting us to serve for next two years,” Mayor Harry Rilling said.
That means continuing to make sure Norwalk grows in the right direction so that the grand list will take some of the burden off taxpayers, he said. Also, working on school overcrowding and, “Making sure that we keep taxes as low as we possibly can while still fully funding our Board and looking for ways that we can input our early childhood education program, while working with our new CAP agency so we can provide services, and making sure that we are on top of everything.
“One of the things I am going to be focusing on, with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities,” he said, “I am going to be a vocal, vocal proponent of tax reform to make sure that we can give our citizens the relief they need.”