Meet The Candidates

Below are most of the speeches of the candidates who attended last week’s Meet The Candidates’ forum at Tyrrell School. We have tried to include what each candidate said word-for -word whenever possible. In most cases, we caught most of what they stated, or at least their main points. When we couldn’t take in their exact wording or points, we drew whatever we could about the candidate so that you could get an idea for their ideas and background.
While not quoted, some have been approximated as closely as possible to their 2 minute presentation last week. We apologize this could not be done for everyone. We hope this gives at least some insight.

Note that Democrats went first, so they did not have an opportunity to reply to other candidates’ speeches.

Candidates: If you see an error, let us know promptly so it can be fixed .

George Babcock – introduced his wife Denise. Tom Dunn and I have been going over our platforms since July. I don’t think you need to hear anymore about what my or his plans are. We had a good dialogue the other day at the Chamber. So my time is going to be spent with the people on the right. They along with the left have been working tremendously hard. In my elections I’ve never worked with a more dedicated and hard working group of people. (he continued by introducing the candidates)

Tom Dunn- I want to wish all the candidates to keep their chins up and good luck on election day. Introduced his wife, Lisa. I’m seeking my 4th term. I’ve worked very hard since 2002 to keep Wolcott affordable to live in. Important to see how things have improved. I’ll work hard with the team that you choose. Right now my number 1 goal is to open the Town Charter to help save the town more money. We need to open up the Charter for many reasons. Hopefully the team you select will do that. Duing the last two years we’ve been faced with adversity and faced the issues and solved the problems. Vote with what’s proven and vote with confidence – vote 1C.

Town Clerk
Delores “Debbie” Slater – After introducing her husband Scott, she noted the tasks her office is responsible for: Birth certificates, absentee ballots, and othe services. She noted how she enjoys working with her staff and she tries to make it an easy job. She has updated technology and has received a $20,000 grant to peserve and protect older land records dating to 1795. “I love my job. We have a geat town hall. I appreciate your support over the last 4 years and look forward to the next 4”.

Roger Levesque – I am the town treasurer and have been for quite awhile. I would like to have some opposition. Everything should be opposed; I think the end result is usually better. I look I better to get the safes return in town. I work closely with the mayors’ office and the finance office. I’m looking forward for the next two year. Looking at my colleagues, on the Dem and also on the Republican side, there’s many good people and smart people and I hope you’ll support them.

Tax Collector
Lorraine McQueen – For 36 years I’ve served the town of Wolcott. My door is open to any taxpayer who wants to come in and sit down. The Town Hall employees are there to serve the people of Wolcott. Every office feels the same. After 36 years I think I have the experience to run a tax office. I don’t think my 36 years in office is non-descript. Come Nov. 3 I appreciate your support. I wish all the candidates good luck. And hope everyone gets out and vote –don’t sit down and let someone else pick for you. (McQueen responds with more, here)

Vanessa Malena – I decided to run after I learned about the increasing delinquent taxes. When elected will work patiently to use all resources including our own government. Will use state of the art technology to find the delinquents. Not everyone has left town but more are becoming delinquents. I am not a politician; I am a businesswoman who works every day collecting bad debt. I won’t‘throw anyone on the street or businesses out of town, but I will work hard to collect the taxes in Wolcott.

Town Council – District 1
Dave Gentile – I’m a four term incumbent, having served as chairman of finance and tax committee. I also took the lead in getting the communications center build in town. There are more candidates than ever before. You have many choices in front of you. Reading the biographies I couldn’t help notice that many state they have no experience. You must take that seriously when you cast your vote. Do you really want someone with no experience making crucial decisions about your child’s education or how to run a town? In a business would you vote for a board of directors who had no idea how government is run? I don’t think you would. The Democratic ticket on Town Council has the experience in making those decisions. I ask that you vote for the entire slate of democratic candidates.
note: Mr. Gentile has stuck to principles of fairness and justice when other members have sometimes gone with cheaper alternatives to resolving conflicts between the Town and individuals.

Charles Marsella – Voters see our topics in the paper but don’t get to meet us without this forum. I’m blessed growing up in this town. My dad was president of the Wolcott little league. He spent tireless hours building the complex. He brought me up in a political background and how very blessed I am with him bringing me up. Over the years I’ve brought budgets to 7 of 8 mayors as Deputy Chief, Assistant fire Chief, and Chief, working with mayors and council members for the budget. Always putting the townspeople first. I want to represent everyone well and ask you for the vote and vote for the entire Democratic Team.

Jeffrey Lumia – I have been in town since 1972, currently serve as President of the Hitchcock Lake Association, Board of Directors for the Wolcott Land Trust, and as a member of the Industrial and Development Committee. I only have 2 minutes so I want to say what was asked of me: Why am I running? After I look at it, basically it boils down to this town. It is what made me the man I am today. The teachers, the volunteers, the politicians. I’m here to thank everyone who has served no matter what party you are on because you are what makes up Wolcott. The mayor and everyone else who gives to their town – it is what makes us a great town. I’m into our neighborhood where we’re building an infrastructure of community. Our neighbors are working like never before. It’s not for politics, or a political game. Its about my family, my neighbors and my town. I ask you for your vote Nov 3rd. Support our people, we have a great ticket. Support our town. Thank you.

Dave Valletta – Thank you for those in the Town for helping me in the last two weeks. I can’t thank you enough. I could spend the entire 2 minutes thanking you for that. Thanks to the Police Department, Fire Department, and EMS for the terrific job you did. Chuck (Marsella), Chris (O’Brien)were both there. It’s about community. Bill Fogarty did a fantastic job on the 1st charter revision – a guy we can emulate and respect. I want to recognize two guys who have left the Council – Mark Wagner, Marino did a fantastic job.
This would be my 4 term. There will be lots to do. A tough budget season. We’ve had some easy budget budgets in the past when in the good times you could figure there could be a slight increase. But times are different now. I have the experience and would like you to re-elect me for another term.
Mr. Valletta also serves as a baseball coach for the past 15 years and a volunteer with the DARE program.

Mike Bokon – My first term on the Council was a mixed bag. One of my accomplishments was to save the senior shuttle. “Scuttle the shuttle” is what I call the attempt by some members of Town Council to stop senior bus. In the era of belt tightening. Thanks to our work, the senior bus still works. I would like to see a greater senior tax exemption. We should honor their accomplishments. Mike Bokon will never abandon his seniors. He tried to work for Charter Revision but was unsuccessful. If we were to open the Charter, the Tax Collector duties should be more clearly defined. Also, we could streamline efficiency to allow the mayor to choose some venders instead of being hampered by expenditures over $5,000 without going to Town Council.

Roy Balkus – I have no political experience but my 35 years of corporate experience and on the Board of Naugatuck Saving Bank –as senior VP, disaster recovery coordinator, and CIO should qualify me for the Council. Some of my duties included making sure that the bank is financially sound. This included strategic planning when our bank acquired another bank. Over the last few months campaigning, the most common complaint I hear is that politicians are only being seen every 2 years. Well I want to change that. I’ll open up my Facebook account and the only thing I have to hand out is a pencil – and it has my personal cell phone number. I’ll hand it out to anyone to make sure I am approachable and available.

Town Council – 2nd District
Mike Perrone – (could not attend, but message was read) – Thankyou for everyone who has voted for me in the past. If re-elected I would like to control the amont of bonding and to see staggared terms and term limits for commissions.

Francis Masi – I would like to thank the people for the opportunity in representing them in town government. The Town Council works for the betterment of the community. I’m not in this for any personal gain, except maybe lowering my own taxes. I’ve dedicated my town to help improve the lifestyle of the homeowner and taxpayers in Wolcott. The only promise I will make is that I will work for the taxpayers of Wolcott. I will also work on tax relief for senior citizens and veterans.
note: Mr. Masi has steadily kept an eye on the everyday aspects of our town, including traffic flow and public safety.

Rachel Wisler – I wish I could wow you with all my political accomplishments. But I can’t because I’m new. But I’m not new to Wolcott. I’ve lived here for 38 years, raised family here, own a business in town and have been active in community for 15 years. You might not know my name but should know my face. I’ve done spelling bees, tree lighting, pageants. You name it I’ve done it. Two months ago there was a need in town for feet for heat – so I called and organized volunteers. It was a successful program. We now have a lot of people and residents who enjoy hot water on cold winter days. I could go on and on for all the volunteerism in town. All those years I’ve listened to what people have to say. Not just listened, but heard. We have some good people who have served. But need some new blood and new thinking. We need to retain what is good and improve it. Plan for future needs. We’ve all been affected by the economy today, and have had to make some changes and adjustments. I have in my personal life and in my business. Government needs to told to do the same. I want to be your voice. Please vote for me. Thank you.
Ms. Wisler’s photo can be found here.

Harry Fitzgerald – was sick with possibly the flu and could not attend. Harry has served as Wolcott’s Zoning Enforcement officer, past chairman of the Planning and Zoning Comission, and the Board of Assessment appeals.

Randy Petroniro – I decided to run for the Town Council because I chose to act rather than complain. Because I placed my name on the ballot, the Democratic Party has attacked me personally and my business. Is this political process just beholden just to them without a choice for someone like me? No wonder no one wants to place their hat in the ring. I know how to give back to the community – at Lions fairs, car washes, and other fundraisers. I’ll give a local businessman’s view. It should not be the political partisians who are asked to be re-elected year after year. The Town Council has forgotten the voices of the people and need to remember who elected them. I hope you will judge my future performance and not just on my past. Please vote for Randy Petroniro, a choice badly needed.

Town Council 3rd District

Mike Santagotta – To the Junior Women’s Club, thank you for all the wonderful things you do in this town. This town is based on volunteerism. I moved here – my parents moved here when I was 3. My commitment to this town has volunteerism, whether it be for the fire department, board of education, town council and coaching little league, I love this town. I welcome the opportunity to continue my role on the Town Council. Wolcott is a great place to live and raise a family… He noted his finance expertise as a qualification for running for the Town Council and that he has used that in his experience on the Town Council.
note: Mr. Santagotta has been been a very effective member in working on labor agreements in the best interests of the tax payers, a successful compromise budget proposal in 2008, as well as continuing to work for residents along the Clinton Hill waterline.

Art Lerz – Thankyou to the ladies of the Junior Women’s Club. I want to represent all the residents. I will work to keep spending down and taxes low.
note: Mr. Lerz presently serves on the Park and Recreation Commission

Carl Dambrauskas – My wife Ann Marie and two children moved into a new house in Wolcott in 1994. I had previously lived in Wolcott for 32 years. Living here and travelling around CT for various sports teams I can honestly say that there’s no other town I’d like to live in. Some members of my family asked me: Carl – why run? Well, I can’t say no to a cause I believe in. For myself I attended Kaynor Tech and Waterbury State Technical College. I have worked at Anstro Manufacturing for the past 20 years as an engineer. Problem solving skills needed for a productive engineer are the same for serving on Town Council. Coaching youth basketball and soccer are two of my fondest memories in town. Knowing the decision –whether we agree or disagree you understand it is made with respect. I look forward to hearing from you.

Chris O’Brien – confusion is one of the most common tactics in politics. It is also why many people are turned off to running for office. It has inspired me for why I decided to run for office for the first time two years ago – Improving communication in town. This may I started a blog – Wolcott Whisper. You can find it at On it, I have included articles about how tax money is spent, and I have included non political articles as well. Every week I try to put up a weekend calendar of events you might enjoy here in town. Some of these include one about a BBQ contest, and the haunted trail in Peterson Park. I’ve also included some articles on issues that have come up in newspaper. Amongst them was on Jan 20th we proposed opening the Town Charter. I thought money could be better spent and we can get residents more involved. One more vote needed, but we were blocked. No matter if we’re in power or someone else is we’ll introduce good ideas though because it’s a good idea. I also want to address an ad in the Wolcott Community News about a tax rate decrease proposed on June 2nd . On the town website you’ll find minutes from that meeting. But in order to achieve that tax decrease, there were cuts in police department, snow plowing and the senior citizens bus. . We helped restore that funding. I hope you’ll consider re-electing me to be your eyes and voice for the future.

Steven Olmstead – It looks like some tough competition out there. I like a good race. I’ve run quit a few of them. This year I decided to run a different kind of one. I love the town of Wolcott. I actually convinced my son to move back here from Northfield. I don’t think there’s too much wrong actually with the town. I think it’s going pretty good. I’d like to see it continue to go that way, but I’d like to have you vote for me. Anything I’ve been a part in I’ve served that organization and the people more than for myself. A man once told me – don’t listen to what a man says but walk with them and you’ll know what kind of man he is. God bless and thank you.

Gale Lanza Mastrofrancesco – The last thing on my mind not too long ago was to run for office. But then something occurred to me. The Town Council is lacking what is 50% of our population – a female voice. There hasn’t been a woman on our TC for almost 10 years. I’m disappointed in the two parties. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself an activist or feminist in any ways. But they certainly deserve a role. We have women governor, Congresswoman, state officers and women and in all other aspects of government. It’s time for Wolcott to join the 21st Century. I’d be naïve to say being a woman is all that’s required to be elected. We also have to look at wasteful government spending. (I’ve done it before, working through) a grassroots effort (in Hartford where) we defeated legislation which would have watered down our school curriculum. Let’s speak with an equal voice. I ask for your vote.

Board of Education
Teresa Peneau – I’m a RN at St Raphael’s in the operating room. My husband Dave is a firefighter and Dep. chief in Co. 1 and a fulltime firefighter in Meriden. All 4 of my children are in the Wolcott schools. Two at WHS, 2 at Frisbee. My family and I have been involved in many volunteer activities in Wolcott. My position as a taxpayer and parent can offer a fresh perspective in how our money is spent. I want to maintain our standards for the CMTs but think we can aim higher while keeping costs down. No system is perfect. I have four kids with four different academic needs. I have the energy commitment and competence to get the job done. I understand the needs and will put our children first while making sure our tax dollars are used efficiently.

Mark Baldwin – I grew up in Wolcott. Currently I think the Board of Education does a great job and have for many years. If I’m elected I’ll work together regardless of party to ensure that ever y student in every school gets the education they deserve at a fair price to the taxpayers.

Helen Audibert – I have a great deal of experience. For education, I have been a teacher for 36 years. I also was a teacher for teachers at CCSU. My three sons all went through Wolcott schools. Also a daughter in law school came through Wolcott schools. I was proud to see my granddaughter graduate from WHS this past June. I still have some grandchildren in the schools too. One has just started Kindergarten this year, some are at the middle school and a few at the high school. I’ve been on the board for four years, good attendance records and have attended as many other events as I can possibly get to. I have a great deal of experience and hope you’ll consider that on Election Day.

Anthony Gugliotti – Tony has lived in Wolcott for 42 years. He has currently lived on Colman Drive and has lived there for 25 years. He originally grew up in the Hess Drive area from the age of 8 right behind Wakelee School. He grew up there as the school was being built. He attended the original Alcott school when it was an elementary school. He graduated from WHS, and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Fairfield in 1983. He now serves as the Board of Education’s Vice chairman, Chairman of the Finance and Personnel committees. In the past he has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, two Charter Revision Commissions including one as Chairman. He has served on the Library Building Committee and as past chairman of the Democratic Party. He currently works at a sheet metal fabrication company in Stratford. His daughter graduated from WHS in 2001, and his wife is a director at the largest daycare program in Wolcott. Gugliotti says: Education is my passion. My father instilled me in that belief. I have and will continue to pass on that passion to the childen in Wolcott. Getting a quality education takes good people.

James Pape – It has been an honor and a privilege to have served as board chairman. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last two years. Its about giving these children a good foundation for life. A good education, in a safe environment. I’m proud of my record on the board in the past 6 years. I’ve been to every meeting and every subcommittee meeting whether on that committee or not. I always strive to reach higher. I welcome the Junior Women for giving me an opportunity for offering all the candidates a chance to share their views and wish everyone good luck.

Tammie – Bastenback – I’m running for the school board because we can and must do eveythin we can for the schools. I am a single mother of two children and have a personal stake. None of the present members can make that claim. Only a single mother can address some of the issues today. Concerned and involved parents will bring knowledge to the challenges facing our school aged children. I want to make sure our tax dollars are spent widely on education. First, I would eliminate waste. To make sure we are allocating educational resources to our advantatge, we would form audit committees. Please Support me nov. 3

Monica Morgan – (could not attend but submits this e-mail): I would like to bring a parents voice to the board. Because the current members no longer have children in the school system I think there is a disconnect from today’s issues. Times change and I think that if there is an actual parent on the board to give a parents perspective when making key decisions for the school system it would be an excellent balance.
Monica Morgan also writes about her concern over CMT testing: The focus already this entire school year, CMT prep. I think CMT’s are important but they should not be the only focus.

Patricia Najarian – We’re very conscious of every decisions made in our shool system. The new supreintendenant’s goal includes communicatons. Each month in the Wolcott Community News, we put in our e-mail addresses. Superintendant now has community office hours every Saturday of the month. Hope this will make people comfortable. We work vey hard. The only monies we receive is nothing. But we get the opportunity to see that our children have the very best edutaton. It’s a credit to every single parson who has served. I’m a grandparents and I believe we have student here doing the video from our school system in the tech club ad he’s doing great.

Lumia – I love the town of Wolcott. I’m also a professional student and I reliaze that on Monday when I finish my MBA. What will I do now? Might get my Phd, but not sure. My kids are in school here, my husband went to school here. I think the Board of Ed is tops. Your scores are tops and 168/169. I’m a nurse and a mother. If you get me and my row, you get hard work, passion and I won’t let you down. In addition to being the Chief Nursing Officer ant Sharon Hospital, I have served on the Chesprocet Board of Directors, Finance Committee, Secretary of the Hitchcock Lake association, Frisbie PTO, and a member of St. Pius Church. Also concerned about the health and wellness of our schools. I don’t just believe in change for the sake of change- but I believe in being the change. Thankyou.

Gubitosi – Thank the Junior Women’s club for hosting the event but also for the refreshements and goodies. I had been a family consumer science teacher so refreshements mean a great deal to me. I decided to retire three yeas ago. When I decided to run for board of ed. I have some qualificatiosn to bring to the table. First of all, caring for the students of Wolcott and what they need for a great education. The teachers needs, resources, and objectives. Thirdly, I’m aware of the rough times eveyon is facing for the town of Wolcott and the world. So we kept our budget down to a minimum. And still manage to have great, great scores. And as Mr. paper wold say, we havea bare bones budget and that’s his quote. I’ve learned a lot from the seasoned board members and administrators. For the next term, I’ll have the goal of bringing Wolcott to the next level. Our future is in our children’s education.

Mary Kelly – I am seeking the 3rd term. I could echo the high scores we’ve accomplished because of teachers and administrators. We want the students to do the best that they can. We have before and after school activities. Sometimes children leave at 7 am and might not return until 7 at night because we have them doing homework, sports , and other activities such as the media program they are doing this evening. Yes we want top scores, but also take our students, work our students, and want the best for them and the best education new can give them. I would like to continue to work on these goals. For kids, teachers, administrators.

Cyndi Mancini – I would like to begin by sharing that every one of us in the community is affected whether we have children in schools or not. They have a direct correlation on our property values. My kids are involved at Alcott. Since my first child was enrolled, I’ve attended 15-20 BOE meetings and supported the Board in town council meetings. I’ve contacted all Town Council members. As a reading mother, room mother. I received my bachelor’s degree in accounting and work for Ernst and Young, the 2nd largest CPA firm in nation. I’ve served as the chief finance officer for various companies. Experience in accounting and in financing is valuable in the budget process. I’ve not only my children’s interests at heart but also your children’s interest at heart.

Greg Dandio – I’m a republican candidate running on Row A for the Board of Education. I have 20 years as an administrator, experienced in budgeting, achievement and labor negotiations. My area of expertise is in technology. I would like to bring 21st century learning for them to learn as children and adults. Some are running on platform of change and at least putting parents on the Board of Education. There are 3 candidates including myself on the rep. ticket that have kids on school system. There is a place for others such as the other 3. No need to change, test scores are very high. Administrators are dedicated and want more from the children and we spend less than any other town in CT. We deserve a board that gives guidance and works collaboratively with them. This keeps our property values high and taxes reasonable. My experience allows me to be very qualified in serving the community and our children. In the best interest of our children.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: