Norwalk town clerk’s fans kick off his re-election campaign

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Norwalk Town Clerk Rick McQuaid thanks his supporters Wednesday night at the East Side Cafe.

NORWALK, Conn. – Accolades for Norwalk’s town clerk were easy to come by Wednesday evening at the East Side Cafe, where Rick McQuaid officially kicked off his re-election campaign.

As McQuaid’s nearly 7-year-old son ran about, more than 50 people — mostly active Republican and many family friends  — chatted on the second floor and waited to hear what McQuaid had to say.

The event comes just two weeks after the criminal investigation of a town clerk’s office employee became public. Details of the active investigation are scarce, but McQuaid said there are “thousands” of dollars missing. Mayor Richard Moccia and others have acknowledged that McQuaid is not the suspect, and that he uncovered the problem. McQuaid said he had discovered bookkeeping irregularities dating back to before he took office and immediately made them known to city officials, who contacted Norwalk Police.

McQuaid’s campaign manager, Steven Colarossi, made mention of the scandal as he introduced McQuaid.

“If you’ve been reading the sensationalized headlines in one of the local alleged newspapers you’ve seen that Rick McQuaid is actually doing a great job as town clerk,” he said. “As a taxpayer, I’m ecstatic. This gentleman, in less than a year in office, fixed some problems, found lots of sources of revenue and is doing a great job with a very dedicated staff. He’s not just a good guy we got elected two years ago, he’s an amazing manager.”

McQuaid thanked everyone for being there but ignored the issue.

“We’re looking forward to a great campaign,” he said. “Two years ago when we were doing this we weren’t sure what direction we were going in and how we were going to do it. I love the job of being your town clerk. … We’re going to work hard. We don’t know who we are going to be running against but it doesn’t really matter, we’re going to be town clerk for a long time.”

Board of Estimate and Taxation member Erik Anderson, a former Democrat who is now unaffiliated, said he came to support McQuaid because what goes around comes around.

“Ever since getting involved, Rick has supported me, helped me in any way that he could, in a non-partisan fashion,” he said. “It never mattered what party I was affiliated with, he would help me and answer questions in a completely non-partisan way. Which is why I am here.”

Anderson went on, mentioning former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel. “Rick, I think, has done an amazing job as town clerk,” he said. “I love Andy, Andy is a good friend of mine and to see somebody step into the shoes that I thought really couldn’t be filled, and Rick doing such an amazing job at it, that I am here to support him.”

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Rick McQuaid with his son, Jackson McQuaid, who just got a haircut. Jackson’s seventh birthday is Thursday. Jackson’s sister, Morgan, turns 9 on Friday.


Many others lauded McQuaid’s way with children.

East Side Cafe owner Carol Gavrielidis said McQuaid, a former Naramake Elementary School interventions specialist, taught her children to swim; Tierney MacDonald, 19, of Stratford, a family friend, said McQuaid “supports young folks” and is “dedicated and hard working.”

Colarossi’s ex-wife, Mary Jo Giardani, sat at a table with her daughters, 14-year-old Kana and 15-year-old Liza Colarossi,  and praised McQuaid.

“He was an incredible influence in their life in a positive way,” she said. “He taught them respect. He taught them manners and how to be kind to others and was really a great role model, and I think he does a great job as city clerk.”

Yes, she’s mother of the campaign manager’s children, but she doesn’t go to many political events.

“I’m a busy working mom,” she said. “My time with my family is important. He’s the only candidate that I am supporting.”

Also attending were Republicans Sarah Mann, Rich Bonenfant, Fred Wilms, John Tobin, Erin (Halsey) Herring, Joanne Romano, Gail Lavielle and Victor Cavallo.

“For a town clerk’s race I’m happy with the turnout,” Colarossi said. “Everyone who is here knows how hard he has been working.”

Correction made, 4:30 a.m.



10 responses to “Norwalk town clerk’s fans kick off his re-election campaign”

  1. oldtimer

    McQuaid would be hard to criticize for that job. He is very pleasant to deal with, with no regard for politics, and is an apparently effective manager. Former town clerks have run unopposed and it would be no surprise if Rick was not opposed.

  2. BeenAround

    The Republicans were relentless in repeatedly trying to unseat Garfunkel saying it was payback for Knopp. Lets see if the Dems will be as politically ruthless or be the better party.

  3. I don’t think the dems could get it together long enough to be the better party (see what is going on now?).

    Besides, you would have a really tough campaign going up against McQuaid.

    Also, please let us know what Garfunkel “did” to Knopp that the republicans were relentless in trying to unseat him? I really don’t know (and I’m sure others are just as curious).

  4. Tim T

    That’s not the style of the dems unlike the Republicans who are rude and constantly hit below the belt. I think we have all seen this with how Moccia acts when a taxpayers dare disagrees with him. Of course we will now see some Republican bring up Pena or Watts well that just holds no water as those 2 guys are simply trying to fix the mess of the old boys club that destroyed Norwalk. As we all know sometime that can get dirty when the old boys club sees they are losing the grip they had on this city for so many years.

  5. Well, if BeenAround can answer a question instead of flinging mud which is too typical of the democrats (see any of Pena or Watts writings or postings) and you see ridiculousness at it best. So yes, bringing up Watts and Pena is key because they are the politicians leading the way into fighting at its best.
    (and with all the bickering in the democratic party, it’s amusing and amazing to see them gnaw at each other)

  6. Tim T

    Irish girl
    Do you actually live in Norwalk? If you do I take it you have never seen the behavior of the Republican Moccia when a taxpayer dares to disagree or question the great OZ . You know that old saying about it starts at the top.
    I would suggest before you post you actually go to a meeting and see the behavior of the Republicans as disgusting as it may be.

    (This comment has been edited to comply with our comment policy.)

  7. Tim T –
    Get off your high horse, little guy. I’ve seen and read worse behavior by the democrats (Pena and Watts) enough to say they are a huge part of the problem.

    (This comment has been edited to comply with our comment policy.)

  8. Tim T

    Does anyone know if Rick McQuaid is running unchallenged at this point as is often the case with the town clerk position?

    1. Mark Chapman

      Last we checked — about a week ago — he was unopposed.

  9. Joanne Romano

    It has not been run unchallenged since Mary Keegan…there have always been 2 candidates since 2000…Mary Keegan held the position for 30 years until retirement, at which time Fitzgerald won the seat and was in for one term, at which time Garfunkel won that seat when Alex Knopp was elected and held it until his decision to run for mayor last time.There was also a referendum question on the ballot at one point which called for city charter revision in which the Town Clerk’s position would move from elected to appointed but lost in the vote. Haven’t heard as of yet whether Rick will be challenged. I have always believed it should be an appointed position or the term challed to 4 years as 2 is not enough time to become acclimated as well as certified.

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