WALLINGFORD — Candidates are beginning to line up for Town Council, which could have two open seats after two veteran incumbents announced they'll be running for mayor.
Republican council Chairman Vincent Cervoni and Democratic Councilor Vincent Testa have both filed paperwork to run to replace Mayor William Dickinson Jr., who after 40 years has decided not to seek a 21st term, leaving their two seats on the council potentially up for grabs.
The council is made up of nine at-large members that each represent the entire town. Six members can be from one party, leaving at least three minority representation seats.The council currently has a six-seat Republican majority.
According to the Town Clerk's office, eight people have filed paperwork to run for the Town Council: Democrats Jesse Reynolds, Sam Carmody, Jason Zandri, Mike Glidden, John Fortin and Bruce Conroy, and Republicans Christopher Regan and Jeff Necio.
Of the eight, two are incumbents — Carmody and Zandri. Fortin, Conroy and Necio couldn't be reached for comment.
“It has been an absolute honor to have served the families of Wallingford over the past year and a half on the Town Council," Carmody said. "I am looking forward to running for a second term and continuing to work hard to support and improve our community so it is a place where people want to live, work, raise their families, and retire. During my time on the council, I have strived to work across the aisle and provide commonsense leadership and decision-making on all matters that have come before us. I remain committed to improving our community’s infrastructure, enhancing Wallingford’s economic development, and supporting fiscal responsibility.”
Zandri doesn't expect to get the endorsement of the Democratic Town Committee and said he will collect the 390 signatures from Democratic voters necessary to petition for a place on the ballot.
While each party can nominate up to nine candidates for the council, both have in past elections nominated six candidates, the maximum number that can be seated from each party. But anyone not endorsed by the committees can petition for a spot on the ballot. If there are more than nine people running from one party, a primary would be held to determine the nine who will appear on the ballot.
Aside from those who have already filed the paperwork to run, other council members have signaled their intentions to run for re-election, including Republicans Thomas Laffin, Autumn Allinson and Joseph Marrone.
Councilor Christina Tatta said she will announce her intentions at the June 14 Republican Town Committee meeting.
"After that, I'll make my decision publicly known, but I'd like to tell the RTC first," she said.
Laffin said much has been done but there's more work to do, and he wants to be part of it.
"I’ve enjoyed my time on the council so far and we have gotten a lot of great things accomplished, leading the town to be the best in the state, at least I think so." Laffin said. "I'm very proud of Wallingford. But of course there is more to do and we can always grow and improve. I hope I’ll have the support of the voters to be a part of the next era in Wallingford’s town government."
Glidden, Reynolds and Regan were members of the ARPA Application Review Committee that voted in March not to continue its work because of friction with some council members. About a month later the council asked each member if they would finish reviewing the applications, and Glidden and Regan were two of three members of the 10-member committee who agreed. They, along with member Jackie MacNamee, began meeting again last month.
Reynolds said he wants to be a part of the town's post-Dickinson "new era." He said his professional background in public health research and program evaluation, and overseeing regulatory requirements for federally funded research, along with his educational background in statistics and research methodology, are qualifications for the council. "My skill set will lead to more straightforward and beneficial outcomes for the entire town, especially our business community and non-profit sector," he said. "I bring a unique set of qualifications to the decision-making process in Wallingford."
While there have been improvements in town, including expanding public parking and the new police station project, there is more to be done, he said.
"As we transition into this new post-pandemic era, there are many questions about the future that need to be addressed. I will push for more emphasis on improving the conditions for our youth in town, including educational and recreational opportunities. Ensuring the safety of our citizens and protecting town property should always be a top priority, and this requires more proactive solutions.
"We are ushering in an exciting era in Wallingford with this year’s municipal election,” Reynolds said. “I will bring an effective and necessary voice to the Town Council, expediting the process of addressing our town’s needs in a practical and bipartisan manner."