NORWALK, Conn. – There has been another change in Norwalk Democratic Party leadership.
Councilman Travis Simms (D-District B) announced at Tuesday’s council meeting that he had been named the new council minority leader, replacing Councilman John Igneri (D-District E). The announcement was brief. Simms said it had been unanimously decided.
“I wouldn’t say it’s unusual,” Simms said after the meeting. “I just think a lot has gone on over the last few months and we just felt that the caucus at this point – we need to kind of change some of the synergies that’s in the room and that’s in the council right now. That’s just appropriate and now I believe is a great time to change leadership and see if we can get some good things going in a bipartisan manner to move the city forward.”
“It was discussed and voted on,” Igneri said. “It will give me now more time to focus on the city and the district.”
Igneri took over the caucus leadership after winning re-election in the November election, just four months ago. On Jan. 14 Igneri voted for the reappointment of Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Mocciae and appeared surprised when five of the seven caucus members voted against the appointment.
“John did an excellent job but a lot of the caucus has been a little uneasy about some of the decisions that have been made over the last few months,” Simms said. “We just decided that it would be in the best interests of our entire caucus to change leadership at this point so that we’re going to have fairness in our caucusing throughout the city as well. We felt it was a necessary action to take at this point. By no means are we in a rift or having any kind of infighting.”
The Democratic caucus meeting was Monday night, after the Democratic Town Committee chose Edwin Camacho as its new chairman in a 18-17 vote over former Vice Chairwoman Brenda Penn-Williams.
“That had nothing to do with that. Not at all,” Simms said. “This is something that we were discussing even a few months ago in our caucusing. At this point we just want to move in a different direction.”
The leadership of the Democratic caucus was split in the last year of the last legislative session between Warren Pena and David Watts (D-District A).
“We’re all one big happy family at the end of the day,” Watts said. “We want to make sure that everybody gets an opportunity to serve. We went six months when I had it. Warren went about six months. You give everybody an opportunity. Maybe down the road somebody else will pop up. You’ve got to spread it out sometimes.”
He was surprised to hear that Igneri only had it for four months.
“I just think that most of the people felt that we needed a reboot,” Watts said. “But John did a good job but we felt we needed a little bit more representation. There’s no hard feelings as far as I’m concerned, it was pretty cordial. We needed to just make sure that everybody is working together as close as possible. We won’t all agree but what we do agree on is we need to be respectful to one another. John was a gentleman. Travis was a gentleman. There was no conflict that I am aware of.”