Torrington candidates prepare for election day


TORRINGTON – Election candidates in the city have spent the past three months campaigning for the election and say they are ready to face voters on election day.

The Republican list includes outgoing Mayor Elinor Carbone, City Treasurer Dan Farley and City Clerk Carol Anderson. For the six city council seats, the list includes school board member Armand Maniccia Jr. and incumbents Drake Waldron, Anne L. Ruwet and David L. Oliver. Frank Rubino is not running for re-election.

For the Board of Education, Republicans Susan DePretis, John Kissko and Jess Richardson are running for re-election. Jim Steck and Tim Waldron are candidates for the Board of Selectmen; for Constable, Rick Dalla Valle, Donna Isely, Ron Raymond Jr. and Bob Starr are on the ticket. For the Public Safety Bureau, the candidates are Darlene Battle and Gregg Cogswell.

The Democrats’ list includes Stephen Ivain for mayor; George Craig for treasurer; and Brian Arnold, Keri Hoehne and incumbents Paul Cavagnero and Sharon Waagner for city council.

Edward Corey, Ellen Hoehne and Travis Tanuis are candidates for the Board of Education. Glenn McLeod and Alexa Keener are candidates for the Public Safety Council; Ruth Nadeau Dwyer, Rachel Hannon-Harrel, Paul Farley and Shante Reynolds for Constable; and Vincent Basquin and Marjorie Farley for the Board of Selectmen.

Ruwet, who is running for her fifth term, said: “I am so excited to continue serving my community in this way, I hope for another term.

Ruwet, the former state representative for the 65th District, was born and raised in Torrington and recently retired from her work in the non-profit sector. She served the state for six years before losing her seat to Democrat Michelle Cook. But, she says, things happen for a reason.

“I am happy with my life and my retirement and enjoying my children and my grandchildren,” she said.

“I love Torrington, and we now have a big boost with the arrival of businesses and housing development, like Penrose (apartments under construction at Franklin Plaza) and Water’s Way (housing offered on Water Street),” a- she declared. “Making a devastated neighborhood a positive element for the city center, after so many years, is exciting. It’s just an interesting phase at this point.

The Water Street proposal, she said, could be a great project. “This is an area that needs a lot of attention, and our economic growth is important,” Ruwet said.

Democrat Sharon Waagner is also seeking re-election to city council after serving her first term.

“When I was asked to run again I said I would because we have too much to face and to sort out,” she said.

Waagner recently spoke out against a Silicon Ranch company solar panel project, which has received Connecticut Siting Council approval and is placing thousands of panels on properties in the Town Farm Road area of ​​Litchfield and the surrounding area. from Highland Avenue to Torrington. Because the project is largely in Litchfield, Torrington was not part of the hearing process with the selection board, which Waagner said was wrong.

“The only people who knew about the project were the people involved,” she said. “You need to involve more city councils – inland wetlands, the Conservation Commission; you have to have intercourse. We missed an opportunity to intervene, and that was a clue to me that we are not aware of everything that is going on.

To curb this perceived problem, Waagner said, she is asking city department heads to provide monthly reports. “That way we can thank them for their work and ask questions,” she said.

Waagner also wants to give more feedback to taxpayers. “I don’t think we listen to them enough,” she said. “We don’t do good PR for projects, so people know what’s going on.

“We have done some good things,” added Waagner. “Franklin Plaza is beautiful and I was on the arts and culture commission when we created the Five Points Gallery. We saw the KidsPlay children’s museum come in; there were a lot of good things.

Kissko, a Republican running for a third term on the Education Council, said he and his fellow council members were very optimistic about the future.

“There are things going on that are starting to work, and we are very optimistic,” he said. “We all love each other and everyone gets along well. People don’t agree, but it’s still respectful. We work well together.

The most important task of the school board is the $ 159 million middle school construction project, which is overseen by the board building committee. But other challenges, like helping students improve their math and reading skills and test scores, and working with the ever-growing ESL population, are also at stake.

“If it hadn’t been for COVID-19, we would be much further along,” Kissko said. “We expect the highest performance children we can get from children, and we now have staff in place who make that happen, working with children. I predict that this year we will take them forward. I look forward to it. “

Kissko said there were probably 20 different languages ​​spoken at home by students in the city’s schools, making teaching English as a second language more difficult than ever.

“They don’t only speak Spanish, but African languages ​​and Central American languages ​​in addition to Spanish,” he said. “We have to help them become able to be successful – they need tools. We are working very hard on this, and the school district has the staff to do it.

“From a staff perspective, we have good people in the central office who work incredibly hard, as well as people who work in buildings… We are ready to keep moving forward,” he said. declared. “Diversity is increasing. The old Torrington is still here, but the new Torrington is above it, in terms of demographics.

Candidates for the Board of Education recently participated in a forum at CAFTA, giving people the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their concerns. “I thought the forum was great,” Kissko said. “Five of the six candidates for the school board are incumbents and we need this continuity. The learning curve for a new school board member is so steep; you cannot continue to retrain people. It’s good to have this consistency.

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