Cheshire crowds gather at Fall Festival, "Jimmies with Jimmy" event to meet Cheshire Democratic Candidates
It was a busy weekend (Sept. 14-15) for Cheshire Democratic candidates at the annual Cheshire Fall Festival, sponsored by the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, and with the "Jimmies with Jimmy" ice cream social and fundraiser for Cheshire Democrat District 2 Town Council candidate Jim Jinks.
Above in a photo slideshow are some weekend snapshots of both events.
FALL FESTIVAL -- Despite some brief heavy downpours on Saturday at the Fall Festival, a continuous stream of Cheshire residents gathered at the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee tent throughout the day. Residents were able to get information about the current local election candidates from CDTC members and the Democratic candidates themselves.
"JIMMIES WITH JIMMY" --On Sunday with a better weather, the "Jimmies with Jimmy" campaign kickoff event was held at Old Bishop Farms and hosted by R.J. Anderson, Jodi Bemis and Pam Daniels.
CHESHIRE--If the current trend of voter registration is any indication, this year’s local election is going to be an interesting one in Cheshire, especially for Democratic candidates.
In the summer of 2018, according to input and official registration numbers provided by Cheshire Democratic Registrar Tom Smith, the trends indicated a Blue Wave was on the rise in the town of Cheshire.
While there has been a slight increase of Democrats in town over the years, since 2014 the Democratic voter registrations have increased to the point where on Aug. 23 there were 477 more Democrats than Republicans in Cheshire. As of Sept. 3, that number rose to 481 more Democrats than Republicans. Smith believes it’s the largest lead by Democratic voters over Republicans in the 30 years he has worked in the Registrar’s office.
“We always get an increase in registrations as Election Day gets closer,” Smith said. “It’s hard to say why the trend continues in the favor of Democrats. It’s likely due to a combination of things.
“The problem is we don’t see as much of the public in the Registrar’s office like we used to. Years ago, the only way to register to vote was coming in to the Registrar’s office. Today, you can go online to register, or to DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), the public library, and you can register in high school or other ways. Because fewer people come into the Registrar’s office these days, it’s tough to get a feel for what people are thinking.”
With the lead in registration numbers Democrats have enjoyed in recent years, you would think Cheshire Democrats would be making a dent in a town that has been mostly red, particularly on the Town Council. While the voter registration numbers slightly favored Dems in the past, the real driving force in Cheshire local elections has been Unaffiliated registered voters who have dominated both Democrats and Republicans 2-1.
However, it is hard to ignore the current trend.
More Democrats are registering than Republicans. If you also consider that many Unaffiliateds switched to Democrats to vote in the 2018 primary, in my opinion it is an indicator that the Blue Wave has arrived in Cheshire.
And speaking of Unaffiliated voters.... the tough nut to crack for Democrats over the years has been two-fold.
First, we are a town where only about 30 percent of voters typically come out and vote in local elections. If the majority of Cheshire Democrats came out to vote, it would certainly make a bigger impact for Democrats. Many tend to stay home during local elections. Those Democrats – the ones who stay home--need to exercise one of their most precious rights as an American citizen and vote this election cycle.
Second, there are the Unaffiliated voters who have the numbers to sway a Cheshire local election one way or the other every election cycle. Here is where Cheshire Democratic candidates might start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel on Election Day (Nov. 5).
A year ago we had our mid-term elections with primaries for both parties held on Aug. 14, 2018. In order to vote in a Democratic primary, you need to be a registered Democrat and to vote in a Republican primary you need to be a registered Republican. Typically, in order to vote in a primary, many Democrat-leaning or Republican-leaning Unaffiliated voters will switch to Democrat or Republican. Last year, at one point with about a week to go before the primary, the Unaffiliated switch to a party favored Democrats 4-1.
When you add in the increase in Democratic registered voters, could we be seeing a perfect storm brewing here? I think so.
I hate to keep repeating myself, but I think this is important for Cheshire Democrats to grasp. While getting Dem-leaning Unaffiliateds to come out and vote is important, if you look at the chart below, especially the current numbers, if the majority of Democrats came out to vote they would make a huge difference in Cheshire on Election Day.
CHESHIRE VOTER REGISTRATION NUMBERS
Dems Rep. Unaff. Other Total
Sept. 3, 2019 5,377 4,896 8,619 263 19,155
Aug. 23, 2019 5,371 4,894 8,608 264 19,137
Aug. 6, 2019 5,352 4,890 8,593 262 19,096
Aug. 2, 2019 5,347 4,895 8,584 262 19,088
Aug. 2, 2018 5,152 4,732 8,496 229 18,609
Aug. 5, 2014 4,421 4,135 7,970 124 16,650
From August. 2, 2018 to Aug. 2, 2019, there was an increase of 195 Democratic voters, 163 Republicans and an increase of 88 Unaffiliateds. More recent increases are slight but do reflect the Democratic trend. From Aug. 6 to Aug. 23, there was an increase of 19 registered Democrats and only four Republicans.
The numbers don’t lie. But to make the numbers work to turn Cheshire red to blue, Democrats and Dem-leaning Unaffiliateds need to get out and vote.
CHESHIRE—At the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee monthly meeting, Courtney Cullinan was voted by the CDTC membership to become Vice-Chairperson. Cullinan takes over immediately for Jim Jinks, founder of Bike Cheshire, who stepped down as CDTC Vice-Chair to focus on and pursue his campaign for District 2 Town Council.
"I would like to thank the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee for their unanimous support for me to serve as the next Vice Chair," Cullinan said. "I am excited to get to work with the committee and utilize my experience in state politics to continue to strengthen our local Democratic party.
"It is with great optimism that I embark on this new and exciting challenge. Once again I would like to thank the members and leadership of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee for their trust and support."
Cullinan brings a wealth of government experience to the position. She is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy at the Connecticut Senate Democrats. Other past positions with the State Senator Democrats include Director of Legislative Services and Deputy Director, Constituent Services.
The CDTC Vice-Chairperson’s duties include presiding over CDTC meetings when the Chairperson isn’t available, assist in policy decisions, connect and work with CDTC subcommittees and assist in the coordination of the campaigns of local candidates.
Chairperson Judy Villa said, “Courtney brings significant expertise to us, which she will employ to help elect our excellent Democratic slate.”
CHESHIRE—The Cheshire Democratic Town Committee announced its endorsement of candidates for the Nov. 5 local election, stressing quality rather than quantity, during its caucus on Tuesday at the Cheshire Senior Center.
The candidates endorsed for re-election include Town Council incumbents Patti Flynn-Harris (At Large), Peter Talbot (4th District) and Jeffrey Falk (3rd District) and Board of Education incumbent Anne Harrigan.
All candidates for office were interviewed by the CDTC Nominating Sub-Committee. Any person interested in getting the Democratic Endorsement to run for office is required to interview with this sub-committee. The sub-committee conducts interviews that follow a specific set of guidelines. Questions asked are tailored to the position the candidate is running for in the upcoming election.
"Heading into this year, as a Party, we were determined to put forward the best possible candidates,” said Jim Jinks, District 2 Town Council candidate and CDTC Vice Chairman. “Our strategy and our respect for the voters demanded a quality over quantity approach.
“Rather than just fill out the slate with names, we are united, supporting our candidates 110 percent. We know the entire slate is ready to work hard, present a vision and reverse Cheshire’s decline.”
TOWN COUNCIL (AT LARGE): Patti Flynn-Harris, Lynn Alvey Dawson
TOWN COUNCIL (DISTRICT): A. Fiona Pearson (1st District), Jim Jinks (2nd District), Jeffrey Falk (3rd District), Peter Talbot (4th District)
BOARD OF EDUCATION: Anne Harrigan, Christopher Affie, Samantha P. Rosenberg, Jami Ferguson
BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS: Laura DeCaprio, Kathy Held
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION: Robert J, Anderson, Matt Bowman
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION (ALTERNATES): Kathleen (Casey) Downes,
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS: Breina Schain, Jerry Devine, Christine Norton
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS (ALTERNATES): Hal “Hap” Jordan
CONSTABLE: Ron Gagliardi, Aleta Looker
The Cheshire Democratic Town Committee is the official body of the Democratic Party in Cheshire. It serves to promote Democratic Party candidates for elected office and local measures that are consistent with Democratic Party values. The Democratic Party endorsements for candidates were finalized at a caucus of the CDTC on Tuesday (July 23).
We have lots of ways that you can learn about what is happening with Democrats here in Cheshire. Here are some of them:
CHESHIRE - The Cheshire Democratic Town Committee, Cheshire Democratic Women's Club and Cheshire High Young Democrats marched in the Memorial Day parade on May 26.
The Cheshire Democrats were warmly greeted by spectators along the parade route as the Cheshire Democrats handed out tiny flags to spectators.
Above is a photo slideshow along with a video of the marching Democrats.
Joe Barba: Former Cheshire Selectman, Town Councilor and chairman of the CDTC remembered after recently passing
The recent passing of Joe Barba, 83, an active Democrat in Cheshire for years who was elected to the first Town Council, brought back some fond memories for some members of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee.
For some he was a good listener and to others he was an honorable man who always kept his word and backed Democratic ideals and policies.
“I've known Joe Barba for most of my life,” said Ron Gagliardi, CDTC member and a former Cheshire Town Councilor. “He was 10 years older than I was, but I knew him because I was close friends with his younger brother, John, since elementary school. We lived in the same neighborhood in Hamden. As a Hamden teenager, I helped on one of Joe's Cheshire campaigns. I think he was running for Selectman.
“When we moved to Cheshire in 1972, I looked up Joe and his wife Agnes and got involved in Democratic politics. Joe was the Chairman of the (Cheshire) Democratic Town Committee. (Late CDTC chairman) Ernie DePietro and I were fledgling politicos at the time and we both looked up to Joe as our political mentor on the Committee. We earned our "wings" thanks to Joe Barba. I was always impressed with Joe's level of preparation and his keen understanding of the issues and with his leadership skills.”
Barba was a member of the Cheshire Board of Selectmen. When the Cheshire town government switched to the current Town Council form of government with a town manager, Barba was elected to the first Town Council in 1972.
Barba also served on the Cheshire Public Building Commission from 2008-2015 and was a member of the Cheshire High Addition Building Committee.
Barba was also active in church as a parishioner and Trustee of St. Thomas Becket Church.
“I knew Joe, but mostly through church and professional work, not via Cheshire Democrats and his public service,” said Pat McKinley, chairperson of the CDTC’s Finance Committee. “He was a good man, more of a listener than a talker.”
According to his obituary that ran in the New Haven Register, Barba was also an accomplished civil engineer and received his degree in Civil Engineering at Yale in 1958.He was also an investment advisor and served in the U.S. Army from 1958-1964.
“I kept in touch with Joe and Agnes over the years, even after he was no longer involved with Cheshire politics,” Gagliardi said. “I'm glad I was able to join his brother John, Joe and Agnes for breakfast at their Cheshire home earlier in April. Sadly, it would be the last time I would get to visit with him.
“I recently had the opportunity to talk about Joe Barba with a few of our current CDTC members who never got to meet him. I wish all of our members could have known him. He was an honorable man who always kept his word and who always backed Democratic ideals and policies with his votes and with his financial support. I will miss him.”
Here is a link to Barba's obituary that appeared in the New Haven Register - https://legcy.co/2DUH6Fo
It's that time of year again when Cheshire town officials begin discussing the town's operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Residents are urged to attend a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday (March 19) if you have any questions or want to express any concerns regarding Town Manager Sean Kimball's recent budget proposal. A complete calendar of operating budget meetings for the Town Council, all open to the public, are listed below.
Kimball has proposed an operating budget - $115.58 million - that would result in a rise to the mill rate at 33.65 mills compared to the current 32.62 rate, meaning an increase of $185 to taxes in town.
As is always the case, the bulk of the budget is for the Board of Education and for the upcoming fiscal year the proposed education budget is at $74.3 million. Other items addressed in the budget include a contribution to teachers' retirement and the addition of four public safety dispatchers for the Cheshire Police Department.
Discussions among Town Councilors regarding Kimball's proposal began Thursday.
Operating Budget Schedule (Special Council Meetings):
Tuesday, March 19, 7:00 p.m. - Council Chambers Town Council Public Hearing
Tuesday, March 19, following Public Hearing – Room 207-209 Programmatic Budget Presentations: Administration & Finance, Employee Benefits, General Services, Planning, EDC
Wednesday, March 20, 6:30 p.m. - Room 207-209 Budget presentations: Public Safety (Fire, Police, Animal Control, Inspection Dept.); Social Services
Monday, March 25, 6:30 p.m. - Room 207-209 Budget presentations: Recreation, Pool, Public Health, Library, Artsplace
Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 p.m. - Council Chambers Budget presentations: Education
Wednesday, March 27, 6:30 p.m. - Room 207-209 Budget presentations: Town Clerk, Public Works/Parks, Water Pollution Control, Public Property
Monday, April 8, 7:00 p.m. - Room 207-209 Budget Review
Tuesday, April 9, 6:30 p.m. - Town Council Regular Meeting]
Thursday, April 11, 7:00 p.m. - Council Chambers Public Information Session and Budget Review
Tuesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. - Room 207-209 Budget Review
Tuesday, April 23, 7:00 p.m. -- Council Chambers Town Council Meeting for Adoption
8:15 a.m. - Good morning everyone. It's a wet, dreary day but I am feeling pretty good about our Democratic chances today. If current voter registration numbers are any indication, Cheshire will surely do its part to support all our Democratic candidates across the board.
Heading into today's Election Day Registration at Town Hall, there are 5,342 registered Democrats in Cheshire, 4,925 Republicans, 8,588 unaffiliated voters and 244 “Other party” registered voters. As a result in the uptick of voter registration overall in recent months, a significant milestone has been reached with the total number of voters reaching the 19,000 plateau at 19,099 in all in Cheshire.
8:15 a.m. There was a steady stream of voters at Doolittle (Elementary School) from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.," said Drew Harris, a CDTC member, "There were 177 votes tallied when I vioted at 7:15."
Stay tuned and come back to this Live Blog post for Election Day updates in Cheshire throughout the day.
8:30 a.m. - Couple of special appearances today at Cheshire High. Senator Chris Murphy is expected to be at Cheshire High at 9:45 a.m. to vote and talk to voters. Jahana Hayes, 5th District Congressional candidate, is scheduled to be at Cheshire High at 2:50 p.m. to greet voters.
9 a.m. - If the voting tally from a live report at Norton School at 8:45 a.m. is any indication, Cheshire - perhaps the nation - is in store for a record turnout in a non-presidential election cycle. As of 8:45 a.m. 674 voters were tallied and the voting line was long. In comparison, in 2016 at 8:30 a.m. at Norton the voting tally was 761. Today's early voting number is close to Presidential numbers!
9:30 a.m - Early voting numbers have been impressive as well at Cheshire High. "The first 15 minutes our doors were open we had 51 votes," said a polling site official. "The voting has been steady all morning." As of 9:30 a.m. there were 881 votes tallied at Cheshire High, an increase from 505 at 7:45 a.m.
9:45 a.m. - 103rd State Representive Liz Linehan, Democratic endorsed candidate seeking re-election, made an appearance at Cheshire High greeting supporters and in-coming voters. She has been impressed with the early turnout.
"I just came from Southington and the lines there are all the way out to the parking lot," Linehan said. "It's been absolutely amazing, even more amazing to me is the steady stream of women voters I have seen.
"The motivation is here. People that stayed home in 2016 are coming out in 2018. I've received a lot of hugs and high fives and that has been encouraging too."
10:20 a.m. - After spending early Tuesday morning making appearances along the Connecticut shoreline, Senator Chris Murphy of Cheshire arrived at Cheshire High to vote and greet supporters, including a large group of Cheshire High Young Democrats. Murphy was cautiously optimistic about the large early turnout of voters.
"I've seen and heard about the large early voter turnout, the early voting numbers are big all around the country," Murphy said. "I've seen big early turnouts before and then it slows down a bit. Hopefully these long lines this morning will continue.
"Along the shoreline it was pretty much the same. The lines were long. This big turnout is similar to the presidential election two years ago. Hopefully we'll see these big numbers continue throughout the day."
11:15 a.m. - The steady stream of voters continues at Doolittle with 562 votes at 11:15
11:30 a.m. - The voting number keeps climbing at Norton Elementary School CDTC Chairperson Judy Villa reports 1,264 votes tallied. "There has been a steady stream of voters with big lines at Norton," Villa said.
11:30 a.m. - At Highland Elementary School, 830 votes were tallied.
12:30 p.m. - If you need a ride to get out and vote, Kathleen Maloney is offering a ride throughout the day. Call her at 203-213-9198 if you need a ride to get to your voting site.
12:45 p.m. - CDTC member Pat McKinley voted at Cheshire High and the voting number at 12:35 was at an impressive 1,670.
"I just voted at the high school and checked right in with no line or wait at all," she said. "Workers told me I'd timed it just right, as they've been mobbed. (CDTC) HQ is jammed with GOV callers."
1:30 p.m. - Steady stream of voters at Norton when I voted there. Voter count tabulated was 1,580 at that point.
1:45 p.m. - The voting has also been steady at Chapman Elementary School and was at 926. "That is a huge number for us," one polling official said. "The lines started forming early this morning."
2 p.m. - The voting tabulated at Highland was also impressive for a non-presidential election year with 1,053 votes in.
"It's lightened up the past few minutes but up until this point the voting crowd has been steady," a voting site official at Highland School said. "Over 1,000 at this point is huge, very good news.
"We expect it to pick up again with a big crowd expected around dinner time."
2:15 p.m. - CDTC Deputy Chairman Jim Jinks reports 1,082 voted at Highland School.
2:55 p.m. - 1,807 have voted at Norton School compared to 2,410 who voted at 4:40 p.m. at Norton in 2016.
3 p.m. - From Bill Tanner, CDTC treasurer: "I voted at Cheshire High at 8:40 a.m. and the total number of people voting at that time was 472. During the Primary I voted at Cheshire High at the same time (8:40) and the total number of people at that time was 39."
3 p.m. - Voting numbers are still steady with 2,052 tallied. This represents almost half the voters in District 1 (Cheshire High). There are 4,556 registered voters in District 1. Most voting sites in Cheshire had to add voting booths today to accommodate the number of voters.
"We normally have nine voting booths set up for an election day at Cheshire High, sometimes it's even a little less," a polling official said. "We added six more booths today for 15 and that helped the lines go quicker. We expect another big crowd around dinner time."
3:30 p.m. - 5th District U.S. Representative candidate Jahana Hayes appeared at Cheshire to greet and thank supporters and voters and to thank the Cheshire High Young Democrats for their hard work this election cycle. She is upbeat when it comes to the large voter turnout but believes more work needs to be done.
"I feel very excited because so many people are voting and that's amazing," Hayes said. "Everyone has been working so hard in our campaign.
"The large voter turnout speaks to people being energized in our democracy. They understand the need to be an active participant. I've seen that energy everywhere I've been today. I feel good right now, but there is still a lot of work to do between now and when the polls close."
6:30 p.m. - Numbers continue to rise at Cheshire High with 2,720 voters tallied representing over 50 percent of voters turning out in District 1. As mentioned above, there are 4,556 voters registered in District 1.
6:45 p.m. - Voters continue to come out in impressive numbers at Highland School with 1,608 coming out so far and counting. That represents an additional 555 voters since 2 p.m. when the count was at 1,053.
7 p.m. - Voting at Dodd Middle School isn't usually on the huge side but that has changed today. With an hour to go for voting there is nearly 65 percent voter turnout with 888 votes tallied. As a comparison, there was just over 600 total for the recent Primary Day election.
7:15 p.m. - The voter turnout continues to impress polling officials at Norton School (District 4) with 2,589 votes registered on the tabulator machine. "This is a huge number for Norton, especially in a non-presidential election," one polling official said. "I've been doing this for many years and today I've been seeing a lot of new faces voting. That is encouraging."
Rainy weather doesn't dampen the enthusiasm, excitement of Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's rally in front of Cheshire Town Hall
While Saturday morning was wet and dreary, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm and excitement of Democratic supporters, volunteers and candidates at the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee rally in front of Cheshire Town Hall.
Taking part in the rally was 16th District State Senate Democratic candidate Vickie Nardello, 89th District State Representative Democratic candidate Anne Harrigan, and 13th District State Senate Democratic candidate Mary Daugherty Abrams.
Members of the CDTC at the event included CDTC Chairperson Judy Villa and Deputy Chairman Jim Jinks along with members of the general public showing their support.
The slideshow above captures the excitement of Saturday’s rally and the effort to get people to come out and vote on Election Day.
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Communication Relations/IT Committee, a volunteer position. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has been a sportswriter for the New Haven Register for 34 years.