NORWALK, Conn. – Democrat Anna Duleep, the passionate former Norwalk Common Council minority leader, says she’s not running for re-election this fall. She is, however, excited about who might be on the ticket.
Duleep, an At Large council member, says there are at least two strong candidates who may run for At Large seats, people who would be new to the council. There are also two people in District B who she thinks will try to get their party’s nomination, new people who are equally strong.
“I’m very excited,” she said in a digital conversation. “Especially about the At Large candidates, considering I’m not running for re-election. I want new people who will ask tough questions when necessary and exhibit political courage!”
No names have been named.
Duleep said she would like to have her evenings free for her tutoring business, but she’s not done with politics. “I’m exploring the possibility of running for Sheriff so I can redefine that role in Norwalk,” and to replace Republican Sheriff Efstrati “Steve” Papadakos, who was named last June in an indictment charging conspiracy to distribute cocaine, oxycodone and marijuana.
Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Co-chairwoman Amanda Brown confirmed there are multiple rookies interested in running for the council.
“The Democratic Town Committee is talking to anyone who has expressed an interest in making our city better,” she said in an email. “You would be surprised at the number of people over the past 10 months who have become frustrated and tired of the educational budget problems, this administration’s managerial style and the unnecessary struggles required to get bike lanes painted. It’s the everyday issues that provoke people to actively participate in civic government.
“Therefore,” she said, “we are giving anyone a chance who is seriously considering how they might be able to effectuate change in the BOE, council or mayoral seat an opportunity to understand the basic duties, time commitment and a glimpse into our party principles so they can make an informed decision whether to serve in these capacities or not.”
She stressed that it is quite a time commitment.
“Each of these and the other voluntary civic positions require time away from the family, minimal appreciation and lots of important decisions that affect how our city will run, grow or remain stagnant,” she said. “Each candidate must be aware of this before getting on a ticket and becoming a public figure.”
Democrats had a majority on the council following the last election, but lost it when Councilman Michael Geake (District B) became an unaffiliated member. Two Democrats, Bruce Kimmel (District D) and Carvin Hilliard (Distict B), have subsequently decided to caucus with Republicans.
“Those currently elected that don’t caucus outside of our party can run again if they choose to do so and obtain the DTC’s endorsement,” Brown said. “This next election ticket will be comprised of a slate of intelligent, diversified and committed team players that will work to serve our city because time is of the essence. There is so much room for improvement and we want all voters to know we are ready and able to meet the challenge.”
Duleep said that, in addition to the two District B potential candidates that she knows of, she “wouldn’t be surprised if the A Better South Norwalk group fields a few candidates.”
Her desire to investigate running for sheriff stems from her passion to do something about gun violence. “I want to be the people’s free lobbyist on public safety issues,” she said. “Plus, I could be the people’s designated observer of Police Commission meetings. A link between the public, the police and people who hand out grants. Answer directly to the people, not the mayor. Focus on just public safety, not all the many issues a mayor — or councilwoman — covers.”
Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba said in an email that his party is also seeing an increase in the number of people interested in running for office. He declined to give any details.