Compiled each year as a public service by the League of Women Voters of Darien.
This Voters’ Guide is designed to provide information about the candidates to the public in a nonpartisan and balanced way to assist them in casting an informed vote on Election Day.
Questionnaires were submitted to candidates for local offices, asking one or more office related questions. Responses were limited to a specific word count and are printed exactly as submitted by the candidates. For every ballot position, a voter may write in the name of someone who is not listed as a candidate on a separate line at the bottom of the ballot for “Write-In Votes.”
In the State of Connecticut for those votes to be counted, the individual whose name is being written in, must have registered with the Secretary of State. Write-in candidates for the RTM must register with the Town Clerk no later than the last business day preceding the election.
The League of Women Voters (LWV) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that encourages the informed and active participation of all citizens in the process of government. The LWV of Darien is a local group of both men and women who strive to improve the quality of democracy by increasing voters’ knowledge of candidates and issues.
Vote Tuesday, Nov. 2 — Democracy is not a spectator sport!
(*) Signifies that the candidate is an incumbent.
ABOUT THE REPRESENTATIVE TOWN MEETING
The Representative Town Meeting is determined annually by elector apportionment and cannot exceed 100 members. Legislative powers for the town are vested in this body.
Members serve two-year terms, do not get compensated and are not elected based on party affiliation. Its responsibilities include passing laws and ordinances, appropriating money and approving collective bargaining contracts involving town employees.
Ballots will vary depending on the voting district. There may be write-in candidates in some of the districts, but you must ask at your polling location. Write-in candidates must receive a minimum of 25 votes to serve on the RTM.
Attendance records for RTM members are provided for your information at the end of the RTM question response section.
RTM incumbents are noted with a *.
Districts Have Changed: You Can Find Out Here Which One You’re in, Right Now:
Here are three ways you can find out online:
Voting hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Polling locations are given below, just beneath the heading for each district. Here’s the full list:
Poll Location: 35 Leroy Ave. (School district headquarters)
Vote for up to 10.
17 Sylvan Road
We are a community that offers excellent schools and many opportunities; that cares about its citizens and has a beautiful natural environment. We need to work to empower our residents, listening to and learning from to address issues.
I am concerned about the state interfering in our affairs (our schools); about struggling residents and our elderly that cannot afford Darien and development that impacts the natural beauty of our town. Having a philosophy of “know your neighbor” matters, staying connected, listening and sharing, then acting with their interests on the top of your mind.
*Patti Finn Bumgardner
64 Hanson Road
I have served on the RTM for 13+ years, presently as Vice Chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee and on the Rules Committee, and previously on the Public Works and the Town Government and Structure Committees.
I believe flood mitigation should be a top priority for our town. We must be proactive versus reactive and update our infrastructure, so families and businesses are not severely impacted.
Another important issue is the improvement and maintenance of our parks and beaches to the highest standards of care for our town. Playgrounds, the new basketball and pickleball courts, walking paths and our beaches are being used at an increased level as our community is relishing outdoor space.
A third concern is balancing our capital and infrastructure needs with managing the mill rate. Making prudent investments in the town infrastructure will help maintain and improve our property values.
10 Pembroke Road
*Colin J. Kelly
16 Sherry Lane
*Derek M. Lublin
24 Maplewood Drive
43 Salisbury Road
Education: Darien has a highly regarded education systems, with the High School number one in the State. It is important to maintain a fiscally sound education budget while ensuring continued high educational standards, innovation, and broad program offerings for all students. Productive and informative communication between the schools, the Board of Education and the people of Darien should be maintained.
Infrastructure issues: drainage in Darien. Drainage in some areas in Darien has long been an issue, and work has been done to correct this. However, the changing climate will result in even heavier rainfall in our area. We need to make provision for this now, to protect the town and people’s livelihoods
Affordable housing: ensuring and supporting the provision of affordable housing in the town that is a benefit for the whole town. It will help Darien become an even more vibrant community with an equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future.
*Lois J. Schneider
31 Maywood Road
The three key issues that I currently see facing Darien include: local control, managing growth and implications of recent flooding.
The state introduced several measures which were not passed but opened up discussions about allowing other towns and/or state groups to affect what is happening here. We need to be concerned about this and stay involved not only at the local level, but also the state level.
There are several major new home/business communities that are currently under development working cooperatively with town boards. This needs to be continued as we carefully redevelop areas of town.
We need to be sure that the town infrastructure and schools can support the current development in town (i.e., flooding issues) and any reasonable new development. Please vote for me so I can continue supporting District 1 and our town as we all work thru these important issues.
8 Saddle Ridge Road
The three most important issues facing our town are (i) the pandemic’s impact on our schools, (ii) near term capital needs, and (iii) increasing taxes. The impact on our students and teachers from remote learning, social distancing, and mask-wearing have yet to be fully assessed and understood.
Ensuring that our teachers and staff have the financial, technical and community support they need to deliver a high caliber Darien public school education is the most important issue at hand.
Secondly, our near-term capital needs include three school renovations/construction projects, potential flood mitigation projects, and the need to improve our parks and beaches, all of which will likely require new bond issuance, which impacts the mil rate.
Lastly, the mil rate has grown 27% over the past 10 years. Darien needs a vision for the future. How that vision gets executed requires innovation, fiscal prudence, and transparent community engagement from leadership.
*Bert von Stuelpnagel
61 St. Nicholas Road
Our town continues to thrive based on its outstanding education system, vibrant community and favorable fiscal discipline. These are accomplishments that we all cherish, but also want to be vigilant about. We need to protect what we have, and to develop services further where we can without giving up fiscal discipline.
The Darien RTM has an important role to play in answering these challenges, and I am looking forward to adding another two years to my seven years of service in town government.
As to fiscal discipline, RTM Finance and Budget has a strong role in analyzing and recommending school and town budgets that are sound and effective; I hope to continue to serve on that committee. One warning: Darien residents and their representatives need to be alert to efforts by the State Legislature to infringe on our school district and local authority for planning and zoning.
Poll Location: Town Hall, 2 Renshaw Road
Vote for up to eight.
69 Salem Straits
Two storms this summer showed the soon to be formed Flood Committee will have to consider major infrastructure projects to increase the capacity of piping under I95 to solve previous flooding at Noroton Heights and now downtown Darien.
Secondly, Darien should look to develop and finance solutions locally and avoid as much as possible Hartford’s strings that bind, particularly with programs to build up our resilience that require immediate attention.
Thirdly, I ask my Delafield Island and Tokeneke District 2 constituents to allow piped sewer lines in their neighborhoods such as we have in Salem Straits and Long Neck Point and let the marshes and channels in Scott Cove to come back to what they were when I was a child.
219 Old Kings Hwy. South
9 Sunswyck Road
1) Pedestrian Safety. Darien should be a place where everyone is able to move around and feel safe. Continuing to focus on safe measures such as increased cross walks, sidewalks and patrolling for speeding cars will keep Darien as a coveted location to live.
2) The Changing Environment. Many of town residents and small businesses have faced damage relating to recent storms. These environmental changes are not going away, and we need to learn how to adapt to protect individuals and businesses and ideally lead the area with ‘greener’ ways of living.
3) Maintaining a financially conservative budget. We have learned in the last 2 years that there is no way to predict what the future holds.
11 Homewood Lane
Some of the most important issues facing Darien today, would be
—Address the water/ drainage before the next storm comes.
—Try to facilitate and allow the new down town development to progress as quickly and efficiently as possible.
—Allow for a more organized pedestrian / bicycle infrastructure throughout Darien.
10 Five Mile River Road
*Jacqueline L. Miller
84 Fitch Ave.
I’m Jacquie Miller, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to continue to represent the residents of District 2. I believe that the three biggest issues facing Darien today are infrastructure, in particular the need to respond to recent flooding events, but also to ensure that sidewalks and traffic patterns serve the needs of pedestrians, bikers, and drivers in town; education, making sure that Darien continues to offer first-rate learning experiences to all students; and diversity and inclusion, ensuring that our community is a welcoming and non-discriminatory environment for all residents and visitors.
*Iris B. Mix
4 Wild Rose Lane
I believe the current top issues are as follows:
1) Health and Social Services should be reviewed, improved, and streamlined. The town did well to pivot during the pandemic, however we need to reconsider how we provide services and integrate with charitable organizations. Examples needing improvement are an additional social worker to support our elderly, improved town technology and additional monetary support for our volunteer emergency medical service, Post 53.
2) The town needs a plan for flood mitigation and response. This will require cooperation between town planning and zoning, public works, local businesses, developers, and property owners. It will require a review and update of environmental focused building codes. Improvements on town owned parks, beaches and other land should undergo environmental assessment.
3) The town needs to continue to improve and expand sidewalks, bike lanes, and dog parks to support outdoor access to town resources.
Poll Location: Noroton Heights Fire Department, 209 Noroton Ave.
Vote for up to 11.
17 Park Lane
To me, the three most important issues facing our town are:
1) Keeping local control of our schools and planning and zoning. We don’t want Hartford regionalizing our high-quality school district or tell us what we should build in our quaint New England town.
2) Keeping our town fiscally responsible while making certain that our schools stay exemplary and our parks, beaches and surrounding areas stay the beautiful town where we chose to live.
3) I’d like to see our RTM encourage the BOE [Board of Education] to follow an inclusive review process so that curriculum materials accurately reflect community values. I would also like to encourage the BOE to use financial appropriations where appropriate because they have proven to be a very effective tool.
*Adele M. Conniff
8 Wheat Lane
Having served on the RTM Parks & Recreation Committee for the past fourteen years, my focus remains on our parks. The pandemic brought increased appreciation of our parks with usage substantially increasing, highlighting the need for further investment.
Elsa and Ida brought dramatic flooding and damage which particularly affected Pear Tree Beach. We need to fix the boat ramp and invest in the “back” beach, raising the parking lot, or we may soon lose the beach completely. Darien’s beaches are among our great assets.
I hope to continue serving District 3.
17 Leeuwarden Lane
4 Chester Road
Hello Mother Nature!!!! This summer we’ve seen hurricanes and flooding and tree removal, oh my. Just look on social media or read letters to local papers and you see how as a town the issues of proper drainage and the removal of trees are taking center state.
Mother Nature has taken a toll on local businesses through flooding and has driven some Darien residents to take issue with what they view as the unnecessary removal of trees in preparation for future storms. These are challenges that must be resolved in the near term as time isn’t necessary on our side.
I’m encouraged by the amount of discussion going on concerning these issues and look forward to a day when you can pick up the paper and the only discussion of the weather is in the weather section.
16 Hillcrest Ave.
I believe preserving the excellent quality of our school district is the single most important issue in town every year. This year, the evident impact of climate change in increased flooding is also a vital problem that we need to address. Finally, I believe we need to do both of those things in a fiscally prudent manner, utilizing our resources in as efficient a manner as possible.
*M. Carolina McGoey
28 Kensett Lane
1. Diversity and inclusion: making Darien a more inclusive & diverse town is a very important issue that we are facing and making sure our schools are educating our children for the world we are currently living in which is more diverse and inclusive should be a priority.
2. Flooding: definitely one of the issues of most concern for me and our town. We need solutions and we need them now.
3. Taxation: our residents should not be over taxed for the purpose of having a very healthy rainy day fund and the funds that are a surplus to this fund should be properly deployed to make sure we are prioritizing and fixing the problems we currently have.
50 Kensett Lane
26 Georgian Lane
20 Denhurst Place
The three most important issues facing our town relate to the impact of the pandemic. They are: Delivering quality education to our students; Supporting local businesses; and following medical guidelines to minimize the spread of the various iterations of the Covid virus.
Poll Location: Precinct 4 – 1 Hindley School, 10 Nearwater Lane
Vote for up to 11.
17 Harbor Road
To assure the continued quality of our schools, provide support for:
—All COVID safety protocols
—Learning/social/emotional needs that have arisen due to pandemic
—Redesign/construction process to remove portables, redesign libraries, determine appropriate classroom size/count for Hindley, Holmes, Royle
—Challenging state regionalization efforts that provide no clear benefits
—Support efforts directed at climate sustainability
—Maintain town infrastructure
—Review/update flood mitigation plans—take action when benefits justify cost
—Promote personal responsibility for maintaining areas adjacent to waterways
—Aggressively seek grants to help fund sustainability projects
—Maintain parks and pursue further development thoughtfully and with public input
—Enforce traffic laws to support pedestrian/car safety
—Continue campaign to lock cars overnight
Ensure that all proposed capital projects are thoroughly planned/rigorously reviewed to ensure beneficial, timely and fiscally sound outcomes
You can contact me at: MBanks@darienct.gov.
55 Dubois St.
Among the many issues confronting Darien:
Open, Transparent & Participative Government: To increase civic engagement we must expand public access to all aspects of town government. That’s why I have dedicated the last 15 years to my work on TV79, to bring our leaders and their decision-making into our homes. We need to engage more citizens to join boards and commissions and to volunteer for civic groups.
Flooding: We need to evaluate what can be done to our infrastructure to cope with the inevitable consequences of global warming, both its impact on the shoreline and inland waterways.
Maintain Home Rule: We need to preserve our independence from increasing state attempts to regulate the way we run our town, its zoning and access to mass transit. We know what’s best for our town, not Hartford.
I have served on the RTM since 2003 and welcome the opportunity to continue my service.
15 Dubois St.
10 Walmsley Road
1. Pandemic Response
20 months into the pandemic and there’s still a lot of confusion about how to keep our community safe. I believe we need to listen to science and scientists and base our recommendations accordingly;
2. Climate Change
Storms are getting worse, just as climate scientists have been telling us they would. Our town infrastructure needs to be able to handle larger volumes of water and higher winds than they used to. We can’t keep mother nature at bay, but we can be better prepared for the next weather event;
Darien is a vibrant, thriving community. But we have a reputation of inhospitality. We need to turn away from the mistakes we made in the past. Let’s make affordable housing and equitable zoning a priority. Plus, it’s time we had a local non-discrimination act that clearly states all are welcome to live and work here.
23 Walmsley Road
20 Seagate Road
The three most important issues:
—balancing P&Z [planning and zoning] decisions that preserve the character of our town’s New England tradition with requirements of contemporary growth
—supporting the goals of the school district in terms of enhanced curriculum, secure and safe facilities, and the efficient conclusion of the current renovation projects
—continuation of the collaboration, inclusion and civility in the budgeting process so as to keep taxes low, consistent with the needs of a developing and prosperous community.
Underlying each of these themes is the importance of citizen participation in the decision making process.
I have served as chair of the RTM’s Town Government Structure and Administration (TGS&A) Committee, coordinating updates to the Town Charter — clarifying responsibilities of staff departments, regulations relating to plastic and paper bags and the blight ordinance. Re-elected and re-assigned to TGS&A, I look forward to continuing modernization of the Town Charter.
22 Nickerson Lane
The most important issue facing Darien in the future is maintaining its high reputation as one of the most desirable places in the country to raise a family. I am a second generation Darien parent who has raised my family ( a third generation) in Darien. Darien requires hands on participation by all of its residents. We can never leave our guard down allowing the town’s future to be left on automatic pilot. A strong and steady course with vision must be followed. We must always be on the look out for opportunities to improve the quality of life for all residents.
An example of this vision is finding a way to secure the Ziegler property to enhance Darien’s open space, reduce the need of another elementary school and supplement our waterfront activities.
18 LaForge Road
1 — Preserve Pear Tree Beach from town plans to develop it
2 — Flooding: Comprehensive plan to control flooding. It’s been a problem since at least 2006
3 — Local control of zoning, property taxes, housing, education and curriculum
22 Pleasant St.
Poll Location: Town Hall, 2 Renshaw Road
Vote for up to 11.
27 Edgerton St.
5 High School Lane
1 — The quality of our schools and education system
2 — The health and safety of our town residents – walking/pedestrian safety, traffic and speed concerns, Covid and other public health matters
3 — Promoting diversity and inclusion throughout all aspects of the town
5 High School Lane
There are quite a few very important issues facing our town; the issues I am most passionate about are:
—maintaining the quality of our schools
—ensuring the safety of our residents (from pedestrian safety to Covid safety and everything in between), and
—promoting inclusivity — in all its forms — in our community.
22 Edgerton St.
There are certainly many issues facing the town of Darien. As the current RTM Chair of District 5 and Chair of the RTM Public Health & Safety Committee, I feel Pedestrian Safety, Construction Congestion, and Vehicle Speeding are three of the most important in town affecting all citizens. While these concerns do get addressed by town officials, more work is needed to be done. Noroton Heights, Middlesex Middle School, and the High School, all in District 5, are impacted by these concerns. Addressing these three topics will continue to be a priority for the RTM and me.
131 Holmes Ave.
28 Holly Lane
15 Libby Lane
Three most important issues facing the town:
Flooding over the summer has shown us we have much work to do to keep our town and its homeowners and business owners safe in the future. We need to work towards understanding how we prevent catastrophic flooding in areas of town that have been hard hit and what that will cost.
2. Repairing and modernizing three elementary schools
These projects are essential for these schools to continue to operate safely and comfortably for all students and staff
3. Management and growth of town owned land
As the town grows so does the demand on parks and town land
*H. William Smith
2 Tyler Drive
I believe the three most important issues facing Darien are identifying, prioritizing and funding
(i) essential infrastructure projects such as repairs to Town-owned roads and bridges,
(ii) flood mitigation projects and
(iii) priority capital projects at the Town’s schools and municipal facilities. As RTM members we need to act as good stewards of the Town’s resources and be prepared to exercise our oversight function to ensure that tax dollars are used wisely.
Poll Location: Poll Location: School district headquarters, 35 Leroy Ave.
Vote for up to 11.
10 Rock Spring Lane
The most important issue facing our town continues to be ensuring that our schools provide the highest quality education experience. The public school budget accounts for 2/3 of the entire town, tax supported, expenditures. Furthermore, a quality public school education is the major reason young families choose to purchase homes in Darien. As a parent of three kindergarten thru 12th grade DHS grads, I will continue to support our excellent schools.
Other issues that we need to focus on are maintaining a safe environment in town and ensuring that we have local management of planning and zoning. With several major development projects underway there are going to be significant changes in coming years and we will need to keep a careful eye on how these changes will effect our schools and public safety. In closing, be sure to lock your cars and…..please get vaccinated.
*Mary Nevin Gauthier
17 Harriett Lane
Darien is a wonderful multifaceted community, and the RTM provides an opportunity to thoughtfully participate in our local government. Personally, I believe the three most important issues facing our town are:
—Approaching the growing environmental and sustainability concerns at the local level with cooperative solutions.
—Continuing to proactively navigate the effects from the pandemic. This includes everything from addressing the economic impacts and providing support to our education and public health systems to thoughtfully approaching growth and development as our town dynamics evolve.
—Preservation of and support for green space within our town.
719 Post Road, Apt. 317
I have been a member of the RTM since 1987, and served as a chairman of District 6 for several years.
1. The MOST important issue facing Darien is working to reduce the amount of flooding happening in so many places in town. The big solutions sought and required are available, but very difficult to achieve. The Flood Mitigation Strategy Advisory Committee needs to be revived, and access to appropriate agencies sought.
2. Certainly maintaining the excellent reputation of our schools goes without saying. Recent disagreement on curriculum is not helpful to this pursuit, and should not reach the non-partisan RTM.
3. Minimum basic improvements for Pear Tree Point Beach are all that are necessary. This is the case especially now as we face frequent unpredicted weather events, and Darien will be devoting resources to flooding remediation.
208 Old Kings Hwy. North
1. Pandemic recovery and response
2. Storm remediation and preparedness 3. Improvements to education infrastructure
23 Fairview Ave.
10 Musket Lane
I have lived in Darien for over 12 years, and my husband and I have raised our two children in this wonderful town. While there are many important issues facing our town the three most important issues I see are:
1. An aging inventory of school and town buildings.
2. An uncertain source of state funding and a potential for new state charges.
3. Preserving and enhancing our parks, beaches, library and all the programs in town that are such an important part of this incredible place we chose to live. I ask for your vote to serve our community by providing the leadership necessary to accomplish these goals.
67 Raymond St.
I have been honored to have served Darien as an RTM member since 2017. The RTM’s unique non-partisan structure is special to me and I want to continue to Darien’s town government.
42 Mansfield Ave.
Building resilience in Darien requires tackling the following three issues:
1) Progressing and funding an educational system that supports all learners
2) Investing in public health and safety including:
— — assessing the impact of climate change today on our community while proactively working to make changes to mitigate potential future impacts
— — sidewalks and traffic safety improvements – best practices in policing – proactive public health programming
3) Supporting and fueling a thriving town business community that is rooted in businesses that improve the lives of town residents. A fantastic example of this is the newly proposed Montessori childcare educational center.
*William Van Loan Jr.
60 Raymond St.
22 Circle Road
Darien must continue to move forward in our fast changing, global society. As such I believe our elected officials must focus on creating a community where we can all actively listen to each other to find common ground be it with regard to our schools or the pressing needs of our citizens and business owners. We must also accept that climate change is real and any further development must consider how they will impact our environment long term.
RTM ATTENDANCE RECORDS
The following are the attendance records for the Representative Town Meeting members for the past year.
There were 10 meetings in the 2020-2021 RTM calendar, excluding an organizational meeting, but some members joined after the year’s session began. The attendance record notes both how many meetings were attended as well as how many meetings for which they were eligible.
Candidates on this year’s ballots are noted by *.
Sarah M. Baldwin 10/10
Amy Barsanti 9/10
*Luis Brakman 10/10
*Patti Finn Baumgardner 10/10
Curtis A. Butler 9/10
Diane G. Conologue 10/10
*Patrick Keane 9/10
*Colin J. Kelly 9/10
*Derek M. Lublin 9/10
*Karen McNicoll 10/10
Cassie Ann Mecsery 9/10
Holly S. Mitchell 10/10
*Lois J. Schneider 10/10
*Jenny Schwartz 9/10
*Bert von Stuelpnagel 10/10
Priscilla Wong 9/10
Elizabeth C. Bacon 7/10
Michael A. P. Casolo 10/10
*William Cusack 10/10
*Mia Handler 9/10
*Susanne Handler 10/10
James Henry Howe 9/10
Robert K. Lyons 10/10
*Jacqueline Miller 1/1
*Iris B. Mix 8/10
Cheryl Russell 10/10
Clara C. Sartori 10/10
Barbara L. Thorne 9/10
Stacey Tie 10/10
Michael C. Wheeler 10/10
Penelope Wilson 10/10
*Adele M. Conniff 10/10
Jack H. Davis 9/10
*Holly Giordano 10/10
*Eric Golus 9/10
*Elizabeth Lane 9/10
Petr Marousek 10/10
*M. Carolina McGoey 9/10
Marcy A. Minnick 9/10
*Sue-Ellen Mitchell 10/10
*Thomas Moore 9/10
*Seth Morton 10/10
Edward A. Washecka 10/10
Scott Zimmerman 10/10
*Martha Banks 10/10
Meghana Bhat 9/10
Nicholas N. Branca 9/10
*Jim Cameron 10/10
*Christine Castles 10/10
Werner Domittner 10/10
*Eric Kanigan 9/9
*Frank Kemp 10/10
*Joseph Miceli 8/10
*Andrew Millar 8/10
Rolf C. Obin 9/10
Brian J. Rayhill 10/10
Jan S. Raymond 7/10
*Sandra Savage 10/10
Mark R. Adiletta 8/10
David F. Bayne 10/10
*Kenneth Fiveson 7/10
Lindsay Kelly 8/10
Megan Kilcourse 10/10
Harry McLaughlin 10/10
Jennifer M. Moller 6/10
*Christopher Noonan 1/1
*Erin Noonan 1/1
*James Patrick 10/10
*Laura Pesce-Gray 8/9
*Waddill Platt 9/9
*Ann Reed 10/10
Shiela B. Sherwood 9/10
*H. William Smith 10/10
Michael Sean Wheeler 4/9
Frank H. Adelman 9/10
*Barry Baldwin 10/10
Amy R. Chickles 9/10
Mary Nevin Gauthier 1/1
*Janet Grogan 9/9
Susan R. Lauritzen 10/10
*Liza Lucas 10/10
*Martha Luz 10/10
*Sarah Madson 9/9
*Peter Orphanos 10/10
Richard Poli 9/10
*Shannon Silsby 10/10
Christopher H. Taylor 9/10
*William Van Loan Jr 9/10
*Theresa Vogt 10/10
Robert A. Werner 10/10
Tara A. Wurm 9/10