As published in the Record Journal, Thursday May 5, 2011
By Robert Cyr
WALLINGFORD — Local elections are many months away and town councilors are waist deep in municipal budget deliberations, but many have already determined what they plan to do in November. Most of the Town Council members said Wednesday that they are interested in running again for their seats. This year, Democrat Vincent Testa Jr. will run for mayor, his second attempt at the office. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., a Republican and the second-longest serving mayor in the state, has said he has not even started thinking about whether he’ll run or not.
Testa’s bid for mayor precludes him from running for council, a position he’s held for eight years now. He said he enjoyed his spot there but has set his sights completely on winning — and then retaining — the mayoral office.
“We have plenty of good people to fill my council position and we’ll be fine,” he said.
Democratic Town Committee Chairman Vinnie Avallone said he was not worried about finding six strong Democratic candidates for council seats, the maximum amount either party can hold on the council. There are now three Democrats and six Republicans on the council.
“We hope we get six — both parties obviously have the desire to have a majority on the council,” he said. “We haven’t had any trouble in the past getting candidates and we haven’t seen any trouble so far this year.”
Avallone said he’s received two notices of interest for council seats, including Jason Zandri, who along with Republican Councilor Craig Fishbein helped save the Fourth of July fireworks display when the town cut funding for the event.
Official party endorsements are in July.
Fishbein said he started an exploratory committee to begin fundraising for his run this fall and will switch it to a candidate committee within 10 days after a possible party nomination. Other Republicans, such as Chairman Robert F. Parisi and Vice Chairman Jerry Farrell Jr., said they had not begun to think that far ahead, and were still uncertain whether to make their run official yet.
“I’m leaning toward running, but I’m not really ready to commit, to be honest,” said Parisi, who has a combined 33 years on the council.
Republican Town Committee Chairman Robert Prentice did not return calls Wednesday. Councilor Rosemary Rascati, a Republican, said she would seek a fourth term “if the party will have me.” Republican Vincent Cervoni, still in his first term, said he would seek another.
Democrat John Sullivan, also in his first term, said his last campaign cost more than $4,000, but he would likely run again.
“But it’s still kind of early in the game,” he said.
Democrat Nicholas Economopoulos said he also intended to run again.
Republican John Le-Tourneau, now in his second term, said he would seek a third.
“I feel like I still have some unfinished work to do,” he said. “The first term is a learning experience and the second term is rolling up your sleeves.”