A Democratic sweep for Norwalk school board at-large seats
Updated 7:54 am, Wednesday, November 8, 2017
NORWALK — The Democrats had a clean sweep when it came to filling at-large Board of Education seats Tuesday.
All four candidates endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee were elected to fill the at-large positions, unseating incumbent Shirley Mosby, who was endorsed by the party in 2013 but failed to net their support this year.
Incumbent Heidi Keyes was re-elected with 53 percent of votes. Newcomers Barbara Meyer-Mitchell and Sarah LeMieux were also elected, alongside Bruce Kimmel, who previously served on the Board of Education from 2005-09.
“I think running a third time and getting on again is amazing, I think we’re doing some amazing things in Norwalk Public Schools and it’s a great place to be,” Keyes said. “I’m happy to continue the momentum.”
In tally numbers released by the Secretary of State, Keyes garnered 8,441 votes, followed by Meyer-Mitchell at 7,913, LeMieux at 7,312 and Kimmel at 7,093.
For Republican candidates the vote numbers were; Marc D”Amelio at 4,557, Thomas Donaher at 4,216, Thomas Cullen at 3,977 and John Steve Tessier at 3,818. Working Families Party candidate Shirley Mosby received 2,007 votes.
Though it was a positive night for the Democratic candidates, who ran on a cohesive platform dubbed Democrats for Educational Excellence, the Democratic Town Committee has been criticized for a lack of minority candidates. Norwalk’s public school population is just 30 percent white, but the Board of Education — with the exception of one seat yet to be filled by appointment — does not have any minority representation after Tuesday night’s election.
Mosby was the only minority candidate, endorsed by the Working Families Party, and earned just 13 percent of the vote. Newly elected Democrats pledged to work on behalf of all Norwalkers, and said they’re hopeful to see more diverse candidates step forward in future elections. At press time, Mosby had not returned a request for comment.
Meyer-Mitchell, who is the co-founder of the Facebook page “Norwalk Parents for Education,” said she will continue to use the platform to encourage parents from all walks of life to run in future elections.
”This is such a challenging issue for Norwalk and what I have been doing for the past year is to cultivate a new generation of parent leaders and continuing to give them a voice in the community,” Meyer-Mitchell said. “We’ll work very had to support the next generation of parents and we hope very much that we will have great minority candidates that are fresh voices who represent our parent community.”
Though he was not elected, top Republican candidate Marc D’Amelio said he was pleased with his first-ever campaign. D'Amelio grabbed nods from 32 percent of voters.
Among the top issues candidates are focusing on this year are special education, continued support of the five-year facilities plan and three-year Strategic Operating Plan, and improved communication between the board and the community to improve the perception of the board and the school system as a whole.
Those elected will serve four-year terms, to be completed in 2021. An organizational meeting to select the new board chairman and form committees will be held Nov. 21. The Democratic Town Committee is expected to fill the seat left vacant by Yvel Crevecoeur, who resigned late last month.
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