Ansonia Republicans nominated Mayor David Cassetti Thursday to lead another slate of candidates into the November municipal elections.
After being nominated by Second Ward Alderman Lorie Vaccaro, the mayor told about 75 Republicans in the Ansonia Armory that he’ll follow more of the same policies that led the GOP to power in 2013 and to a landslide re-election in 2015 — albeit with some longtime party stalwarts no longer on the slate.
The Cassetti Pitch
With members of his family standing behind him at the podium, Cassetti said the Republicans’ record since taking over city government in 2013 means voters will return them to power in November.
The mayor noted the city has held the line on taxes, with no increases since 2013, and slight decreases in other years. At the same time, the city provided significant funding increases to its school district, he said.
Meanwhile, he said the grand list has seen a $8 million increase, with more businesses coming to the city — and one longtime mainstay of the business community, the Farrel Corp., staying put.
That’s because the city was willing to put “skin in the game” by building a road into the Fountain Lake Commerce Park, where the company recently unveiled a gleaming new $11 million headquarters.
“While every other major manufacturer is leaving Connecticut, we kept ours,” Cassetti said.
Cassetti also noted the city has become more transparent since he took office, including a “hyperactive” presence on Facebook.
“City government has never been more open,” he said.
But the party will head to this year’s elections with a slightly new-look slate of Aldermen’s candidates.
Republicans currently dominate the board by a 12-2 count. The only Democrats on the board are the Third Ward’s Joseph Jeanette and Denice Hunt.
The Republicans did not nominate candidates for the Third Ward in 2015. But this year they nominated the mayor’s brother, Joseph Cassetti, and Domenico Filippone.
Filippone wasn’t present at Thursday’s nominating convention. The mayor said he works as a banker.
Joseph Cassetti is a former Aldermen who has been a member of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
He received a 37-month prison sentence in 2011 for his involvement in a marijuana growing and distribution scheme.
He said after Thursday’s caucus that “I’ve paid my debt to society.”
“I would say this about that: lessons learned,” Joseph Cassetti said. “When you learn a lesson from somebody else, you tend to not put too much value on it. When you learn a lesson yourself you pay a price and the learning sticks. I would say that I learned a lot.”
Elsewhere on the Aldermanic slate, Fourth Ward Republicans preferred former tax board and Ansonia Housing Authority chairman Ed Norman over current Alderman Martin Dempsey, who was appointed last year.
In the Fifth Ward, GOPers chose newcomer Chicago Rivers over longtime incumbent Joan Radin, who has frequently criticized Cassetti’s administration during Aldermen’s meetings.
Rivers was one of several people who urged Aldermen not to adopt a proposal to exclude people convicted of crimes from coaching in youth sports organizations, leading Cassetti to pull the plug and revise the initiative.
It’s unclear whether Radin will collect signatures to force a primary, or run as an independent. The Valley Indy left a message for her Thursday night.
In the Sixth Ward, incumbent Patrick Henri opted not to run for re-election. Republicans nominated Kevin O’Brien, the former president of the Ansonia Youth Soccer organization, as well as incumbent Joshua Shuart.
The Board of Aldermen’s President, Phil Tripp, said he was surprised Radin wasn’t endorsed by Fifth Ward GOPers, saying she’s served her constituents well, and noting she received more votes than any other Aldermanic candidate outside the Hilltop in 2015.
Tripp and Cassetti have clashed over city issues several times. But Tripp said that he supports the party’s endorsed slate of candidates.
Cassetti said his message to voters until Election Day will be simple — “economic development and keeping taxes stable.”
He said he looked forward to debating the issues with the Democratic Party’s nominee, Tarek Raslan.
Early Fundraising Totals
The GOP has the early advantage when it comes to campaign cash.
The mayor has raised $11,575 in individual contributions this year.
As of July 10 his committee had $9,316 in cash on hand.
Meanwhile, the Republican Town Committee has raised $350 in contributions this year, and had $2,636.36 on hand as of July 10.
By comparison, the Democratic Town Committee has raised $3,270 this year, and had $4,872.37 on hand as of July 10.
The Republicans’ full slate is below. An asterisk denotes an incumbent.
David Cassetti *
Town And City Clerk
Janet Waugh *
Judy Larkin-Nicolari *
Board Of Education
Vinnie Scarlata *
Aretta Kotalis *
Board Of Aldermen
Charlie Stowe *
Randolph Carroll *
Lorie Vaccaro *
Phil Tripp *
Rich Kaslaitis *
Joe Jaumann *
Joshua Shuart *
Frank DeLibero *
David Blackwell *
Peter Gujski *
Dan King *