Glastonbury Republicans keep numbers on Town Council, BOE

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Nov. 8, 2013
Town Council members, Republican Kurt Cavanaugh (left) and Democrat Tim Coon, were chatting with voters outside Smith Middle School on Nov. 5. Photos by Steve Smith.
Town Council members, Republican Kurt Cavanaugh (left) and Democrat Tim Coon, were chatting with voters outside Smith Middle School on Nov. 5. Photos by Steve Smith.

Glastonbury Republicans retained their majority on the Town Council and Board of Education after the election on Nov. 5. Incumbents Whit Osgood, Kurt Cavanaugh, Chip Beckett and Larry Byar will all return to their council seats, along with newcomers Karen Boisvert and William Finn.

Democrats Tom Gullotta and Tim Coon were also re-elected. The votes for the ninth seat were too close to call. Incumbent Jill Barry appeared to have 2,348 votes to fellow Democrat Leslie Ohta's 2,333. The closeness of those totals triggered an automatic recount, which must take place at least five days after the election. Officials said that recount would take place early in the week of Nov. 11.

Beckett, who will return as council chairman, said the Republican Party in town has always represented the average people of Glastonbury. “I think it's focused on local issues, and is not focused on national things that people talk about,” he said. “I think people are generally satisfied with the town – both the services that are offered and the price that it costs for those services. Everybody would like lower taxes, but I don't think anyone would like to drastically decline services. I think we treat our employees fairly, our roads are well done, and our buildings are maintained. I think we've walked that middle ground well. This is not something new. Glastonbury has always had a very locally-focused government that does a good job for the rank and file citizens.”

Beckett added that the campaign was quieter than in the past, and that everyone, Democrat and Republican, are seen as friends, co-workers and neighbors of Glastonbury's residents. “It's important to remember that they are all volunteer positions,” Beckett said, “and these people are all looking to improve their community. I don't think you can cast aspersions on anybody running to make their community a better place and be part of the process.”

Democrat Doug Foyle was re-elected to the Board of Education for a four-year term, as were incumbent Republican Rosemary Coggeshall and newcomer Eric George.

Of the 21,770 eligible voters in Glastonbury, 24 percent turned out on Election Day, compared to about 28 percent two years ago.

Democratic Town Chairman Bob Zanlungo said he was disappointed that the Democrats were not able to gain a seat. “I think it was the voter turnout,” he said. “The turnout was less than it was two years ago, when half the town was without power. I don't know where the apathy is coming from, but we've got to drill down on that.”

Beckett agreed that the turnout was very low, and said the federal shutdown may have contributed to some of that apathy, but locally, there were no hot topics. “We had no burning issues in town,” Beckett said. “We had no major investments of infrastructure for a referendum question that would draw people to the polls.”

“All the candidates put their heart and soul into it, and did everything they could,” Zanlungo said. “They did us proud, working to make Glastonbury a better place.”

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