Top 10 of 2017: #9 – Democrats Make Gains in City Council Elections

Many important stories have been covered by the New Britain Progressive in 2017. It may be difficult to name only a few articles as the top stories of the year, but there are a few the New Britain Progressive would like to share as our Top Ten.  Other Top Ten stories can be found at “Top Ten Stories of 2017.”

The most significant change that came from the 2017 city elections were the gains for Democrats in the City Council. Prior to this year’s election, the Republicans held a dominating 12 to 3 majority over the Democrats. But city voters delivered a stunning setback for city Republicans and a significant victory for Democrats by electing a Council with a 9 to 6 Democratic majority.

The voters electing the Democrats to that 9 to 6 majority made two articles, together, the #9 story on the New Britain Progressive’s Top 10 of 2017. Those articles were, “A Split Decision in New Britain’s City Elections” and “Magnuszewski Elected as City Council’s Top Leader“.

A Split Decision in New Britain’s City Elections

November 8, 2017

Democratic Mayoral candidate Merrill Gay and Democratic Chair Bill Shortell

Democratic Mayoral candidate Merrill Gay’s campaign, in which he had said he wanted to revitalize and build-up city Democrats, brought a split decision in the 2017 city elections. The Democratic team led by Gay won victories over Republican incumbents across the city and won a 9 to 6 majority on the City Council, but Gay, himself did not prevail in this year’s election for Mayor.

On the other side of this year’s city elections, incumbent Republican Mayor Erin Stewart retained her own position in the Mayor’s office, but city voters denied her a governing majority on the City Council. Voters cut down Stewart’s 12 to 3 Republican Council majority by half its number, delivering control of the Council to city Democrats.

Unofficial results show Democrats winning a 9 to 6 Council majority and three of the five Board of Education seats up for election.

While the unofficial results show incumbent Republican Tax Collector Cheryl Blogoslawski retaining her position over Democrat Lanette Spranzo Macaruso, Democrat Ron Jakubowski defeated Republican incumbent Mark Degrandis in the election for City Treasurer.

In the At-Large Council election, Democrats Eva Magnuszewski, Manny Sanchez, Richard Reyes and Katie Breslin won, while Democrat Yvonne Muniz received the sixth highest vote. In the At-Large Council election, the five top candidates are elected.

The Council’s Republican leader, Daniel Salerno retained his seat in the At-Large Council election, but incumbent Republicans Jim Sanders, Jr., Daniel Davis and Tremell Collins were defeated, along with Republican Desiree Costa.

In each of the city’s five Council “wards” each voter can vote for two candidates and the top two in each ward are elected.

In Ward 1, incumbent Republicans Willie Pabon and Jamie Giantonio held their seats in the election against Democrats Veronica DeLandro and Molly McGuire.

In Ward 2, Democrat Brian Keith Albert defeated Republican incumbent Jerrell Hargraves, while Republican Kristian Rosado retained his seat. Democrat Lamar Bowsky received the third highest vote.

In Ward 3, Democrats Iris Sanchez and Aram Ayalon easily won over Republicans Joel Moret and Jason Gibson.

In Ward 4, Republican incumbents Don Naples and Robert Smedley retained their seats against Democrats Bobby Berriault and Ann Speyer.

In Ward 5, Democratic leader Carlo Carlozzi won re-election and Democrat Francisco Santiago joined him in winning that ward’s two seats. Republicans Carmelo Rodriguez and Miriam Geraci were defeated.

On the Board of Education, Democrats Daisy Sanchez, Annie Parker and Violet Sims won, along with Republicans Nancy Rodriguez and Nick Mercier. Incumbent Republican Mallory Deprey was defeated.

In the election for Mayor, Stewart unofficially received 5397 votes to 4159 for Gay.

Magnuszewski Elected as City Council’s Top Leader

November 15, 2017

In its first meeting of its new term, the City Council has elected Democratic At-Large Alderwoman Eva Magnuszewski (D-AL) to its top position, the President Pro-Tempore.

Ald. Eva Magnuszewski (D-AL). Frank Gerratana photo.

The President Pro Tempore of the City Council is the official leader of the Council. The President Pro Tempore is also effectively the deputy mayor of the city, being second in line to manage the city, if the Mayor is absent from the city, incapacitated or leaves office.

Magnuszewski, who returns to the City Council after a two year hiatus, having not run in 2015, won the highest number of votes in the election for At-Large Council members in the 2017 election.

Incoming Democratic Ald. Francisco Santiago (D-5) made the motion to elect Magnuszewski, and the Council voted to approve on a voice vote.

“I would like to thank my colleagues, the voters, but most of all, my Mom, who is at home watching,” said Magnuszewski.

She thanked the voters for electing the Council members, saying, “If I met you while I was out door knocking, thank you for your time. I will not forget your kindness or your concerns.”

“To my colleagues,” Magnuszewski said, “I look forward to working with and listening to all of you, no matter the party affliation.” She encouraged the Council members to, “keep our words kind and helpful,” and, “our dialogue issue based.”

“We are here for a common purpose, and that might mean sometimes finding a third right answer,” said Magnuszewski. “Let’s show New Britain that we can do that.”

Magnuszewski announced that the Democratic Council members had selected Democratic Ald. Carlo Carlozzi Jr. (D-5) as the new Democratic caucus Majority Leader. She also announced that Council Democrats have selected Democratic At-Large Council members Ald. Emmanuel Sanchez (D-AL) and Ald. Richard Reyes (D-AL) to serve as Assistant Majority Leaders for the Democrats.

The former President Pro-Tempore, Republican Ald. Jamie Giantonio (R-1) announced the new leaders for the Council Republicans’ caucus. Republican Ald. Robert Smedley (R-4) will serve as the Republicans’ Minority Leader, while Republican Ald. Kristian Rosado (R-2) will serve as the Assistant Minority Leader for the Republican caucus.

Magnuszewski announced that 2017 Ward 1 Democratic Council candidate, Veronica T. DeLandro, was selected to serve as the City Council’s Clerk of Committees.

The incoming Council also approved their standing rules for the new term of office, Council committee members and Council liaisons to city boards, commissions and organizations.