WEST HARTFORD — Shawn Daly, the chairman of the republican town committee, said he’s excited about the upcoming election.
“We’ve seen an energizing of our party like nothing else,” Daly said.
The Republican party in town experienced a shake up earlier this year, when its chairman Mark Merritt and town coucilmember Lee Gold left the party to start A Connecticut Party.
But Daly has said that move has created enthusiasm within the Republican party.
“I was really enthused by the response of Republicans in town, especially because there was this feeling that our leadership had us headed in the wrong direction,” Daly said.
In response, Daly said, the Republican party is running four candidates combined for town council and the board of education this November, campaigning on the issues of public safety, transportation infrastructure, schools and fiscal responsibility.
“We feel with our candidates who are running, we felt that we have the right approach to do what’s best,” Daly said. “We’ve listened to the town residents and we’ve heard what their issues are and we feel that we have the right platform to help us turn the town around.”
Candidates this year include incumbents, like town councilmember Mary Fay, as well as newcomers, like board of education candidate Dr. Gayle Harris.
“One of the things we focused on this year was that we did not want to run candidates just to run candidates,” Daly said. “We wanted quality candidates that had experience in running for the most part.”
“[Fay] has served this town very well, fighting for conservative values,” Daly said. “What we’re about as a town, is we’re about less government intervention, more personal accountability and responsibility and the freedom for our residents and business owners to do what they want and what they need to.”
Mark Zydanowicz, currently on the board of education, is shifting focus with a run at town council.
“He’s very well-versed at reaching across the aisle and working with the majority party and creating things that really help the town,” Daly said. “He’s done a wonderful job with the school system and we knew that bringing him on board to run for town council is exactly what we need to help us.”
Also running for town council on the Republican slate is Alberto Cortes, a former corrections officer, who ran in 2019.
Harris will be the sole Republican candidate on the board of education ballot this year.
“What has changed is that we’ve gotten away from our basics of education,” Daly said. “We’re now more concerned with all of these outside forces, instead of getting back to what’s best for our kids, which is learning the basics. Dr. Harris understands that and she wants to make sure that we get back to that focus for our school systems.”