Several contested RTM races heighten election excitement
Published 12:05 pm, Thursday, November 2, 2017
WESTPORT — On Election Day, many Westporters will have a choice when voting for Representative Town Meeting.
This year, five of Westport’s nine RTM districts have contested races.
Every district sends four elected officers, each elected to a two-year term, to the town’s RTM for a total of 36 elected members.
Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. District nine is moving its usual polling place from the Westport Library to the Town Hall Auditorium due to construction at the library. Election day registration will be located in the Town Hall first-floor hallway.
Districts one, two, three, and nine have five candidates running while district five, the election’s most contested race, has eight RTM candidates. Uncontested RTM races include districts four, six, seven, and eight.
“In years past, District Five had trouble getting four people to run and now they have eight running,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Tim Wetmore said.
Wetmore said candidates in the Fifth District, located in Westport’s Greens Farms neighborhood, may have been mobilized by the debate over the Cribari Bridge.
(Vote for up to four in your district)
Kristin M. Purcell
Christine Meiers Schatz
Louis M. Mall
Sylina Jacobs Levy
Andrew J. Colabella
Lisa Parrelli Gray
Peter A. Gold
Thomas C. Bloch
Dewey J. Loselle III
John G. Klinge
Ellen Lautenberg Hendel
Carla L. Rea
Wendy G. Batteau
Charles E. Carey
Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Ellen Lautenberg also took note of increased participation in this year’s RTM races. “It seemed that we had generally more people interested in running for RTM this election year,” Lautenberg said. “My guess is that part of it stemmed from the Presidential election and people just being more tuned-in to thinking about elected office,” Lautenberg added.
Both Lautenberg and Wetmore said while many RTM candidates and members are affiliated with a political party, the RTM itself is a nonpartisan body and, per town charter, political parties cannot officially support RTM candidates.
What issues will come up in the RTM’s upcoming session?
“I think the school and town budgets are going to be even more of a big issue than ever before due to the state’s financial problems,” Lautenberg said. “Even though the RTM doesn’t have a lot of the day-to-day responsibilities for Planning and Zoning, I believe issues around the 830G affordable housing mandate and town development may come before the RTM in some way. I would expect that expenditures around Compo Beach and Longshore Golf Course are going to come up.”
Wetmore pointed out the uncertainty in predicting politics.
“I think whatever you think the issues will be for the coming RTM, they’ll probably be different,” he said.