WALLINGFORD — Board of Education member Tammy Raccio has switched political parties and intends to run for re-election this fall as a Republican.
The announcement came during the Wallingford Republican Town Committee meeting Wednesday evening.
Raccio, 52, was elected as a Democrat to her first term on the school board in November 2017.
Raccio said Thursday that Wallingford Democratic Town Committee Chair Robin Hetrick informed her last month that she likely would not receive a Democratic endorsement, after which she contacted the Republican party.
Candidate endorsements are slated to be made next week during the parties’ respective caucuses, both of which are scheduled for the evening of July 17.
Crossing party lines
Hetrick said Thursday that she didn’t think Raccio would receive an endorsement because two months after Raccio’s election, she crossed party lines and helped re-elect Republican Roxane McKay as school board chair.
“That did not sit well with many members of the town committee,” Hetrick said.
The Democrats won a 5 to 4 majority on the school board in the 2017 election, the first time they had done so in nearly a decade, and Democratic board members had expected to elect Democrat and veteran board member Michael Votto as chair.
Raccio said in a January 2018 statement to the Record-Journal that she wanted to maintain “continuity in leadership” due to “the unprecedented state fiscal challenges.”
Raccio said Thursday that looking back, she doesn’t think her decision to help re-elect McKay impacted anything day-to-day for the board.
“It’s a challenging time,” she said. “We don’t know what’s happening at the state a lot of the time (but) we’ve made some great strides in the last two years, doing what’s best for the kids and families.”
The board even managed to return $411,000 to the town in the 2018-19 fiscal year budget, she said.
Hetrick added that Raccio hasn’t attended “a single meeting of the town committee in two years.”
“I understand she has a busy schedule and has done some great things for the town and for children,” Hetrick said.
But party members, she said, “wanted someone who was going to be a little more present at town committee meetings and at town committee functions.”
When asked why she didn’t attend meetings, Raccio said she wasn’t a member of the Democratic town committee.
During her time on the school board, Raccio has taken on a number of projects, including earning a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Quinnipiac University in May 2018.
In April 2018, she participated in the the Next Steps parent leadership program with the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center, of which she became a representative, and is expected to graduate in September from the Partners in Policymaking training at the University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
At the state level this year, she was appointed to the state Department of Education Bureau of Special Education transition task force and was co-chair of the family engagement sub-committee of the Department of Education Family Engagement Community of Practice Group.