Town committees choose their candidates for fall elections
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Jul. 22, 2011
Republican and Democratic town committees met July 21 to nominate their candidates to run for mayor and Town Council this fall. Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc was nominated by the Democrats to run for mayor, and the Republicans chose Esther B. Clarke to challenge her as their mayoral candidate.
Leclerc beat out two other candidates, Board of Education Chair Mary Alice Dwyer Hughes, and retired firefighter Santo Alleano during the Democratic caucus held at the Marco Polo restaurant. Town Council members Rich Kehoe, Marc Weisberg, Linda Russo, Barbara Ann Rossi, William Horan, Jr., and Ram Aberasturia, who are all current board members, were again nominated by the town committee delegates.
About a half dozen town committee members spoke to second Leclerc's nomination as mayor. Leclerc, the former town council chair, became mayor this past January when then-mayor Melody Currey left to join the Malloy administration.
“As soon as she became mayor, 18 inches of snow fell the next day,” said Peter Bonzani, who praised Leclerc for hopping into a snowplow and riding with drivers to survey the conditions. She was also praised for helping to restore PILOT funds – payment in lieu of taxes – that the town originally lost when Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed a state budget that cut municipal aid to towns. “She stepped up to do the job and is doing it well,” said Don Currey, a prominent town committee member and husband of the former mayor. “She is doing what is right for East Hartford, and she is the right person for the job.”
Republican Town Council members Eric Thompson and Patricia Harmon were re-nominated to run for council. Councilwoman Susan Skowronek's bid to retain her seat failed, and Hector Reveron, Eileen Powers, Lou Ramos and Robert Damaschi, Sr., were nominated to run for Town Council.
Former mayor Susan Kniep was a last-minute entry in the race, announcing her candidacy one day before the caucus. On July 19, Kniep wrote a letter to the Town Council criticizing its handling of the problem-plagued East Hartford Housing Authority. Kniep did not receive a nomination for the council.