Press Pool Story
Dozens of city residents attended the City Council meeting on Wednesday, January 25th, in support of Violet Jiménez Sims to fill the vacancy on the Board of Education left by the passing of Democrat Judy Greco. Speakers at the public session before the meeting overwhelmingly favored Sims, the candidate nominated by city Democrats to fill the vacant Democratic seat.
But the Republican-dominated City Council voted down a motion to appoint Sims 10-5. They, instead, by the same margin, voted to appoint Mallory Deprey, the choice of Republican Mayor Erin Stewart.
“What was done at City Hall tonight was very unfortunate,” said Alderman Manny Sanchez (D-3) on Facebook, “and a clear departure from the due process that I have always known to be respectable and honorable in my almost 7 years on the City Council. But what is done in the dark will always come to light sooner or later.”
Democratic Council leader Alderman Carlo Carlozzi, Jr. (D-5) took city Republicans to task, also on Facebook. “What happened tonight at the New Britain Common Council meeting was very sad. For the first time in a very long time (I have been on the council for almost 8 years) an Alderman was denied the opportunity to submit a resolution.”
The city Democratic Party voted on Thursday, January 19th, to support Sims for the seat that, by law, must be filled by a Democrat. “We have nominated Violet Sims to fill the seat on the Board of Ed, left by the passing away of our much-loved Judy Greco,” said Democratic Chair Bill Shortell.
Carlozzi added, “As a part of the Common Council leadership team I was completely left out of the deliberations on filling the seat by the GOP controlled Council. Where is the bipartisanship that we talk about every day and for which we are always striving?”
Many people in the community had rallied in support of appointing Sims.
“Violet is a life-long educator and advocate of quality, equitable education,” said Ronald P. Davis. “She is a native Spanish-Speaker, who grew up and went to school in New Britain, and a deeply experienced teacher of English as a second language. She has post-graduate degrees, currently working on her Doctorate in Education Administration.”
Davis, who is President of the NAACP New Britain Branch pointed out that, “Violet is a member of [the NAACP] Education Committee and is outspoken on current education issues.”
“Violet represents the parents, she represents the little guy, she represents us,” said local activist Aggie Kurzyna, “This is a time to come together for a very worthy and necessary cause to ensure the right person is appointed to the BOE.”
After the vote, Sims offered words of thanks and encouragement to the community on Facebook. “My sincerest gratitude to my friends, colleagues, fellow NB residents, and the Democrat Alderpersons who bravely put forth a resolution asking that I be appointed to the BOE knowing what they were up against.”
“Thank you to everyone who came out in support of Vee Síms this evening,” commented Sanchez. “Having had the opportunity to hear so many people speak about how Mrs. Sims has touched their lives, all of her professional accomplishments, how she has fought tirelessly for our children, and community involvement, spoke volumes about her character.”
Though appointed by the Republican-dominated City Council, Deprey may only serve for a short time, since that Board of Education seat is up for election this fall. Democrats can unseat her in only a few months by nominating a different candidate, supported by Democratic voters.
Sims added, “I will keep advocating for the education (the “great equalizer”, no?) that I believe all kids deserve at least a fair shot at, with deep knowledge of every aspect of my field: from policy to the classroom. I am a mirror of this community that I couldn’t be more proud of, and I hope you are all energized to take over the polls in November. That’s where we need to show up and show out. November 2017. I’ll be there right beside you!”