Wallingford Republicans nominate candidates, BOE member eyes council seat

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WALLINGFORD — The local Republican Town Committee has endorsed 13 candidates for the upcoming municipal election, including a sitting school board member now running for Town Council.

Autumn Allinson, business analyst at the Lego Group, was elected to the Board of Education in 2019 — her first run for public office.

Allinson replaces incumbent Chris Shortell on the Republican slate of candidates for Town Council. Shortell, who has served on the council since 2016 after one term on the school board, announced last fall he’s not seeking re-election.

A total of 52 registered Republican electors met at Dag Hammarskjold Middle School on Wednesday night to nominate candidates for mayor, Town Council and Board of Education.

Each party is running six candidates for Town Council and six for school board, the maximum number of seats allowed for one party per governing body, and a mayoral candidate.

Municipal elections are held every two years.

The other Republican Town Council candidates are incumbents Vincent Cervoni, Tom Laffin, Craig Fishbein, Joe Marrone and Christina Tatta.

Board of Education

School board members Ray Ross and Tammy Raccio were the only incumbents nominated.

Karen Hlavac, school board chairperson, and Erin Corso, chair of the board’s instructional committee, are not seeking re-election.

Hlavac, who has served on the school board for 17 years, said Thursday that she wants to focus on her state-level committee work advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

She serves on the state Council on Developmental Services and the state Office of Health Strategy’s Primary Care Subgroup.

“We have a very dynamic group of individuals running for the board,” Hlavac said. “A number of people have come forward and were interested in running, and I thought this was a good time for me to focus on the population that I work with, which is those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Corso didn’t immediately return a call for comment Thursday.

The Republicans also endorsed Rajan Doering, Marla Roscoe, Donna Regan and Jennifer Passaretti for school board.

Doering, a rising senior at Quinnipiac University, ran for school board in 2019.

He said that the reasons he wanted to run again this year are similar to last time — to ensure students have a voice on the school board. He graduated from Sheehan High School in 2018.

He also wants to build on his community service resume, which includes serving as food panty leader at Church of the Nazarene and board member of the United Way of Meriden-Wallingford.

Roscoe, a doctor of physical therapy, worked in home care most recently. She also sells health and wellness products through multi-level marketing company Isagenix.

“I am really passionate about education,” she said. “I have two young children, my oldest son will be going into kindergarten, and I just want to be able to make an impact, and have a seat at the table, to be able to have my voice be heard, and ensure that the education standard remains.”

Regan, a marketing partner for HSB Insurance in Hartford with a background in technology, said she had been asked “a number of times” in the past to run for school board, but felt it hadn’t been the right time until now.

“I have a really unique perspective of that of a parent, kind of down in the trenches,” she said, adding that her three children have all gone to school in Wallingford.

Passaretti serves on the town Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission. She works as a laboratory manager and teacher in the biology and environmental science department at the University of New Haven.

“I'm the daughter of a third grade teacher,” she said. “Education is in my blood. … I want to see our Wallingford students represent us as they go on to bigger and better things.”

Mayoral race

William W. Dickinson Jr. received the party’s mayoral nomination for a 20th consecutive term as mayor.

Dickinson said in his acceptance speech that he and his fellow Republican candidates “are willing to represent the people of Wallingford” and make decisions that directly affect the services local government provides to people and businesses.

Dickinson, 74, is the second-longest serving mayor in the state, beginning his Wallingford mayoral career in 1984.

Dickinson most recently defeated Democrat Jared Liu in 2019 by a margin of 2,198 votes. In 2017, Dickinson defeated Liu by 1,659 votes.

The closest of Dickinson's 19 consecutive victories came in 1987, when Democrat Peter Gouveia lost to Dickinson by 26 votes. Gouveia ran against Dickinson again in 1991 and lost by 35 votes.

No challenger has lost to Dickinson by less than 1,000 votes since 1991. Dickinson won re-election in 2011, 2013 and 2015 by more than 3,000 votes on average.

LTakores@record-journal.com203-317-2212Twitter: @LCTakores

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