Candidate Introductions

At our September 26 and October 3 online candidate Q&As, each participating Democratic candidate had the opportunity to introduce themselves. To make finding these intros a bit easier, we’ve collected them in this blog post. We hope you’ll take the time to get to know the candidates a bit better. All intros are three minutes or less. (Many of the intros show the same screen shot, but each one links directly to the named candidate’s intro.)

Sandra Pierog (First Selectman)


Adam Teller (BOS, Town Moderator)


Bob Depietro, introduced by Sandra Pierog (BOS, BOF)


Amanda Gordon (BOF)


John Toomey (BOF and ZBA)


Christopher Davey (BOE)


Anne Decker (BOE)


Rhea Klein (BOE)


Jeff Scala (Planning and Zoning)


Marilee Manning (Planning and Zoning)


Will Avery (Planning and Zoning Alternate)


Kawan Gordon (Planning and Zoning Alternate)


Letrisa Miller (ZBA)


Peyton Rutledge (ZBA Alternate)


Mary Terhune (ZBA Alternate)

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Taxes in Bolton: A Tale of Two Parties

39.47, 39, 39, 38.86, 39.43.

When Sandy Pierog was elected First Selectman in 2017, four months into FY2018, the mill rate in Bolton was 39.47. Today it’s 39.43. The mill rate is lower today than when Sandy took office.

Source: https://town.boltonct.org/departments/tax-collector/mil-rates

During the four years Sandy has been First Selectman, taxes declined her first year, stayed flat the next, declined again, and then rose to a level that is still lower than when she took office.

During the 28 years that elapsed between the last time a Democrat was First Selectman (it was Sandy, in 1989) and Sandy’s election in 2017—that is, over nearly three decades of Republican majorities on the Board of Selectman (not to mention the Board of Finance, Planning and Zoning, and the Board of Education), taxes increased regularly.

In fact, from FY2009 to FY2017, they increased every single year.

Source: https://town.boltonct.org/departments/tax-collector/mil-rates

Which party is better for Bolton taxpayers? Which is #MakingBoltonBetter?

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Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz Endorses Sandra Pierog

Connecticut’s Lt. Governor, Susan Bysiewicz, today endorsed Sandra Pierog’s reelection campaign for Bolton First Selectman. The Lt. Governor notes that “no one is more qualified than Sandy” to lead Bolton. We agree.

Connecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz endorses Sandra Pierog for Bolton First Selectman.
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Bolton DTC Endorses Candidates

At our July 22, 2021, DTC meeting, members of the Bolton Democratic Town Committee (DTC) endorsed the following candidates to run in the November 2021 municipal election.

In nominating Sandy Pierog for her third consecutive term as First Selectman, DTC vice chairman Adam Teller praised her leadership over the past four years and especially her role in guiding the town during the COVID pandemic:

“Under incredibly difficult circumstances, Sandy has worked tirelessly to improve communication between town government and voters, to ensure that town government continued to function even in the darkest days of the pandemic, and has advocated for Bolton voters at every turn.”

Sandy agreed that the past two years have indeed been a challenge,

“The past four years have been challenging and rewarding. We have been able to keep town services available to residents throughout even the worst of COVID. Working with town staff, the Board of Education and others, we have been able to reduce expenses in several areas, increased communication and transparency and maintained the level of services our residents expec. We still have much to do, and I look forward to leading Bolton through new infrastructure improvements, approval and implementation of town charter changes, the addition and expansion of businesses in Bolton and dealing with issues of diversity and inclusion. I am excited to lead this great team of talented candidates.”

DTC chairman Christopher Davey thanked all of the candidates for their willingness to run for office. He noted the mix of seasoned and new faces.

“It’s especially gratifying to see four first-time candidates. They bring to the table a tremendous range of life experience, a fresh perspective and a desire to help Bolton continue to move forward.”

The town will face many challenging issues in the coming months and years, including major bonding questions, implementation of a new town charter, questions about how to grow the tax base, and issues of diversity and broader representation. The good news, Chris said, is that this year’s slate of candidates are more than ready for the challenge. “The candidates we endorsed tonight are the team Bolton needs!”

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Budget Video—Again

Well, the July 13 referendum failed in Bolton. So First Selectman Sandra Pierog again invited Board of Finance chair Emily Bradley and the Board of Education to participate in recording a new video. This one addresses the latest reductions made to the budget, explains the differences between the budget and the capital improvement plan, and offers answers to some commonly stated questions and misunderstandings about the budget.

Please have a look, and be sure to get out next Tuesday, July 27, to vote! Polls will be open from 6 am to 8 pm at Ryba Hall, St Maurice Parish Center, 32 Hebron Road in Bolton.

The full budget document can be viewed here (PDF). The Board of Education’s proposed budget can be found here.

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Budget Video

Yesterday Bolton First Selectman Sandra Pierog, Board of Finance chairwoman Emily Bradley, and Board of Education member Christopher Davey filmed a special segment at Community Voice Channel in Bolton. The topic: When voters head to the polls for the budget referendum on Tuesday, July 13, what are they voting on? What’s in the budget, and what has changed from last year?

Please have a look!

Bolton 2021–22 Budget Explanation video /CVC
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Notice of DTC Meeting to Select Candidates

Notice is hereby given that the Bolton Democratic Town Committee will meet on July 22 at 7 pm for the purpose of endorsing candidates for the November municipal election.

This year endorsements are to be made by the DTC rather than by a caucus of all town Democrats. This change from past practice is the result of a temporary rules change made by the State Democratic Party to ensure that party endorsement of candidates can proceed during the COVID pandemic.

While all registered Democrats in Bolton are welcome to attend the July 22 DTC meeting (and any DTC meeting, for that matter!) and are welcome to share their views on candidate selection during the meeting, only members of the Bolton DTC will be able to nominate and vote on candidates.

To ensure we have adequate space to hold the meeting—currently scheduled to be held at my home in Bolton—please let us know if you are planning to attend.

If you have thoughts about potential candidates, would like to be considered as a candidate, or want to RSVP for the meeting, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Christopher Davey
Chair, Bolton Democratic Town Committee

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Increasing Access to the Ballot Box

Exactly 170 years ago this past Sunday (February 21) the electorate in Bolton favored Democrats in the town’s municipal election. The Hartford Courant, which at the time was ardently opposed to the Democratic Party, derogated the Democrats as “Loco-Focos.” By 1851, the term was used only as an insult (with roughly the same punch that “liberal” had in the late 1990s and early 2000s). But a decade earlier it had described a faction of the national Democratic Party that was fed up with Tammany Hall’s politics-as-usual approach to governance. Ralph Waldo Emerson described the Loco-Foco wing as “fanatics in freedom; they hate tolls, taxes, turnpikes, banks, hierarchies, governors, yea, almost all laws.”

Today we would struggle to recognize the Loco-Focos as Democrats. Other than their support for labor unions, they seem to have favored the sort of laissez-faire capitalism that led last week to families in Texas being billed thousands of dollars for several days’ worth of electricity. The broader party, too, would be almost unrecognizable today.

The main through line linking the antebellum party with its twenty-first-century descendant is a focus on people and, specifically, on making the democratic process more universally accessible. In the early nineteenth century, that meant support for universal white male suffrage and elimination of the requirement that electors own property.

Clearly the Democrats’ understanding of “universally accessible” was woefully inadequate. At the town election in Bolton in 1851, only white males could vote. Three years earlier, in October 1847, the state—including 90 percent of Bolton voters—had resoundingly rejected a constitutional amendment that would have enfranchised Black males.

Today our state legislature is again considering whether to expand ballot access. The issue, thankfully, is no longer whether our Black citizens or women or non-Christians or those who didn’t own property or were illiterate should be allowed to vote. (At one time or another in Connecticut’s history, each of these classes of people were barred access to the ballot box.) Today the concern is how we can make voting easier for all.

Connecticut is one of only seven (mostly Southern) states to not offer early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. While the image of New Englanders gathering on Colonial-era town greens and in wood-shingled town halls on chilly November mornings is cherished by many, it doesn’t reflect present-day realities and needs. We should not allow our nostalgia for an idealized past to get in the way of voting measures whose impact will be felt least in wealthy, white, rural towns like Bolton but will make a huge difference for communities of color and lower-income residents.

As Democrats, one of our oldest legacies—however imperfectly and inconsistently the party has fought for it over the years—is the struggle to bring more voters into the (small-d) democratic fold. By supporting the voting rights legislation currently making its way through the Connecticut Assembly, we will not only be living up to our party’s ideals; we will be strengthening our democracy at a time when some in the country seem hell-bent on rolling us back to the days of Jim Crow.

—Christopher Davey, Chair of the Bolton DTC

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Bolton Democrats’ Response to the Attack on American Democracy

Make no mistake: American democracy was brazenly attacked yesterday. As Americans, we are appalled.

Yesterday’s attack in Washington was the most momentous and traumatic event in American history since 9/11. Unlike that horrific day, however, we knew immediately who had fomented and who had perpetrated this heinous attack on the heart of American democracy. For months, Donald Trump, his congressional enablers, and state and local Republican leaders and officeholders have spread lies and incited their followers. Others have remained silent, ignoring the mounting evidence of the president’s unfitness and authoritarian behavior, seeing them as simply the price to be paid for more tax cuts, conservative jurists, and the implementation of their policy preferences.

What was seen in Washington on January 6, 2021, was inevitable. Reports have already surfaced of perpetrators openly planning on rightwing forums, and, just minutes before the Capitol was stormed, Donald Trump addressed a crowd of thousands of supporters and encouraged them to march on the building. How they could so easily and so quickly overwhelm the Capitol police must be investigated. More important, those who for months have peddled lies and sought to overturn the outcome of a free and fair election—the most secure in our nation’s history, according to the current administration’s own officials—must be held responsible for their behavior.

Those who participated in yesterday’s insurrection against the United States government must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Those in Congress who falsely and willfully undermined the public’s confidence in our legitimately elected government for their own political gain, and thereby recklessly invited the violent insurrection we saw yesterday, must be called to account by their colleagues in Congress for their conduct in bringing the Senate and House—once among our most treasured and respected institutions—into disrepute. The offenders should face expulsion and be required to justify themselves to their peers.

Donald Trump, who goaded and led yesterday’s would-be “revolutionaries,” must be removed from office, either through exercise of the 25th Amendment or through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate—preferably the latter, as he must be prohibited from ever again enjoying the privilege of holding public office.

History shows that failed insurrections are often followed by successful ones. Those who perpetrated and abetted yesterday’s attack cannot be given the opportunity to try again.

But we must also look to our own history and the ways we have failed to uphold the ideals of our democratic system. Specifically, we must grapple with the legacies of disenfranchisement and unequal access to the ballot box, gerrymandering, unequal treatment under the law, disproportionate policing (clearly the police can exercise restraint; that they chose to do so when confronted by a white mob is telling), and the many inequities that plague our society—scourges that together have created a system of government in which too many of our fellow citizens no longer, or still do not, recognize themselves.

We call on our elected officials, colleagues, and neighbors who have supported Donald Trump to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, his efforts to divide the country, his support for insurrection and the overturning of a free and fair election, and his betrayal of the very Constitution he swore an oath to protect.

—Bolton Democratic Town Committee Executive Board

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Statement on Black Lives Matter/Antiracism

The Bolton Democratic Town Committee believes

    • Black Lives Matter.
    • Racial prejudice in various forms still remains in Bolton, as documented by those who experience it.
    • We all have a responsibility to understand and combat systemic racism and the structures that sustain it.
    • As public officials, police bear responsibility for conducting themselves with transparency and truthfulness.
    • Police must be accountable for their actions.

We pledge to

    • Actively support candidates who are committed to social justice, anti-racism, and the dismantling of systems that perpetuate inequality.
    • Actively support conversations about racial justice in our schools and at all levels of our community.
    • Actively support a reexamination of policing functions to ensure that all races are treated equally and fairly.

Approved by the Bolton Democratic Town Committee on July 2, 2020.

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