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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Party matters

Smith win 3rd term as Dem chief

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— There was very little suspense when Democrats met recently to select its party chairman.
Richard Smith, shown at right, was unanimously endorsed for a third term. The Democratic Party has controlled all four state-elected positions, and for the first time since 1985, Democrats have majorities on the boards of Aldermen, Education and Planning and Zoning.
The only missing ingredient is winning the mayor’s position, which Republicans have held for close to 20 years since former Mayor Frederick L. Lisman was elected in 1989.
Smith said the party is working on finding a strong mayoral candidate, but most importantly the party is concerned with serving the residents.
“I was honored and privileged to have their support to begin the opportunity to lead the party for another two years,” Smith said. “Everyone said this was a Republican town, but they can’t say that anymore.”
Smith said the Democrats’ job is a “delicate balance,” in advocating for senior tax relief and ensuring the children have enough resources to receive an excellent education.
“We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and sharpen our pencils and get into the details,” Smith said. “Seniors can’t be turned out of their homes because they can’t afford to live here.”
Smith said if the Democrats keep their campaign promise to keep taxes down while maintaining services, then the party should be able to take back City Hall.
“We think come next year, people will take a look at our record and see if they support the Democrats’ way of getting things done. People may like to see us have the mayor spot, too,” he said.
Linda Stephenson was named the party’s vice chairwoman, while Linda Gustafson is the secretary and Janet Montalbano is the treasurer.
Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, said the Democratic Town Committee leaders are “intelligent people with good hearts.”
“They have to make sure they have the best interest of Milford as their foremost objective,” Blake said.
Blake said Smith’s unanimous endorsement is “testament to what he’s done over the past four years.”


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