Nov 4, 2009
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Full story: www.myrecordjournal.com
WALLINGFORD - Republicans won a resounding Town Council victory Tuesday, wresting control from Democrats and gaining a 6-3 majority, the most possible under minority representation rules.
"I thought we had a shot at 5-4, so this is wonderful," said a re-elected Bob Parisi, who has served on the council for so long that even he can't remember (he's served 17 non-continuous terms since 1970).
Parisi said he thought the victory had something to do with charter revision, seen as an effort to rein in the power of the mayor, but also "something to do with the Choate issue," he said. The Democrat-controlled council had clashed with the prep school over a proposal to close part of a town road.
Along with Parisi, Republican incumbents winning re-election were Rosemary Rascati, Jerry Farrell Jr. and John Le Tourneau. Newcomers Craig C. Fishbein and Vincent Cervoni also won seats. Cervoni ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2007.
Winning Democrats were incumbents Nick Economopoulos and Vincent F. Testa Jr., and John J. Sullivan. Democrats Michael Brodinsky, the council chairman, and Michael Spiteri did not seek re-election.
Dickinson has proven invincible as a candidate for mayor since he was first elected in 1983. Democrats are finding it increasingly difficult to find a candidate willing to spend the time, money and effort to challenge him.
"There's some coattail effect," said David Gessert. "We've got a very popular mayor."
Gessert is a member of the Public Utilities Commission, a former Republican town chairman and former chairman of the Town Council. He called Tuesday "probably the biggest win we've had in a long time."
"I thought the charter was a very important issue," said Dickinson. "Fortunately, people in town saw that and understood it and wanted to keep the charter the way it is."
Republicans also won in terms of high-tech, using computer projection of results, while Democrats stuck to the old-fashioned method of marker pen on poster board.
"With the majority comes responsibility," said Farrell, as early results were coming. It was an observation repeated often after it became clear the Republicans had won.
Parisi said he thought the town was comfortable with its mayor, and needed stability and reassurance at a time when both are scarce.
"The first thing I think we want to do is sit down and see what goals we're going to set and not try to set the world on fire," he said. "I don't think the public wants it."