Stratford, November 10, 2023: The anticipation for the 2023 municipal election proved warranted as the nominated candidates for the Stratford Democrats, warmly and respectfully known as #TeamStratford, won key races throughout the town as the voters officially registered their opinions on three major topics of the year: election redistricting, school funding, and land use.
For the open governing seats in the election, the Stratford Democrats won 12 of the 20 seats while:
- Adding a seat on the Town Council
- Adding a seat on the Board of Education
- Adding a seat on the Planning Commission
- Defending our two seats on the Zoning Commission
- Losing a seat on the Zoning Board of Appeals
The Town Council has only a single returning member, Democratic Councilwoman and current Minority Leader, Kaitlyn Shake, who secured a resounding victory against the incumbent in District 7, her new home after a politically motivated gerrymandering process. Leading up to the election Shake secured eight major union endorsements, outraised her opponent 2:1 and ran a campaign on her record at the Council, highlighting major victories like securing an extra million dollars for the BOE and working across the aisle to get the work done.
Chris Green held her former District 2 seat in his new voting district, in equally strong fashion. Returning Councilor Alvin O’Neal, District 3, René Gibson, District 4, and Anthony Afriyie, District 5, also posted impressive victories in our five wins in Town Council races. The 10-seat Council is currently split as we await a recount in Phil Young’s District 6 contest early next week.
With experience and fresh faces on both sides of the aisle, we expect an interesting and productive Town Council despite the potential evenly partisan split in numbers. We are hopeful that newly elected members from the other party are open to reaching compromises with their Democratic colleagues to ensure the Council puts forward the best interests of the town.
On the townwide Board of Education race, Democrats Jill D’Angelo-Powers and Chris Cormier won two of the three open seats, adding essential educator and parent/student advocates to the board. This is validation of the strong concerns voiced by community members during the budget process and we look forward to nonpartisan cooperation between the BOE and Town Council.
With forthcoming updated Zoning Regulations aligning with the recently released 10-year Plan of Conservation and Development, our newly elected Commissioners have much to look forward to. We had timely success with these important land boards, winning the two open Planning and two open Zoning Commission seats. In Zone I, representing Districts 1 and 2, Joe Gerics and Linda Manos are Democratic Commissioner-elects for Planning and Zoning, respectively, while in Zone II it is Maxwell Dulin and Ewald Joseph. In Zone I, Paula Sweeley won the special 2-year seat for Zoning Board of Appeals.
Rounding out our 2023 Democratic municipal election winners are Constables Laura Markis Johnson and William Boyd.
Campaigns are interesting periods of time when strangers unite for a common goal. The rare ones are when individuals inspire and power the team and the team, in turn, inspires and powers the individuals. This includes candidates, volunteers, and campaign staff. #TeamStratford was one of those campaigns. And those candidates who did not win – Town Council candidates Rachel Rusnak, District 1, Mark Juliano, District 9, Kathleen Callahan, District 10, Board of Education candidate Celeste Burnett, and Zoning Board of Appeals candidate Karen Tracy, Zone V – inspired us and their communities as much as all of those that did.