MILFORD — Promising to provide tax relief to city veterans and the elderly, improve infrastructure and create even better schools, Alderman Kerri Rowland accepted the nomination as the Democratic mayoral candidate Wednesday.
Kerri Rowland will campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr.
"The status quo is not good enough. We can do better; we must do better," Rowland said to a crowd of about 250 people at City Hall, where Democrats selected a slate of candidates for Board of Aldermen, Board of Education, Planning and Zoning Board and constable in each of the five districts.
Rowland was nominated by state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, while Speaker of the House James Amann nominated Alan Jepson for city clerk, calling the former three-term mayor "the political gold standard [who] engenders universal respect and appeal."
Democrats entered City Hall through a gauntlet of young girls who distributed colorful pro-Rowland signs, which the audience waved wildly when Rowland responded to the unanimous vote for her candidacy, "Thank you for the nomination. I accept."
"Kerri has the unique ability to problem solve, to get things done," Slossberg said.
The nominating convention was short on surprises but did not lack in ceremony. Members of a local Boy Scout troop presented the colors, Rev. Carleton Giles delivered the invocation asking for blessings on "those who aspire to lead us to further greatness," and the 10-voice Coastal Chordsmen sang the national anthem and other selections.
After a brief caucus of district members, which seemed merely a formality, Democratic Party Chairman Richard Smith had each district chairman stand to present their slate of candidates, which was followed by a unanimous vote.
Smith thanked the candidates for their willingness to serve their community saying, "This is where the rubber meets the road."
April Moss Ellis brought her two daughters — Kayla Ellis, 10, and Sydney Ellis, 8 — to the political event. "I'm trying to help them understand the importance of the electoral process and we're here to give Kerri our support," Ellis said.
Board of Aldermen: Ray Arnold and incumbent James Patterson
Board of Education: Mike Taylor and Greta Stanford
PZB: Kathy Patterson
Board of Aldermen: Nick Veccharelli and Barbara Lambert, both are incumbents
Board of Education: Tracy Casey and Dave Steinlauf
PZB: Janet Golden, a former Republican who changed party affiliation at the end of her term on the Board of Education. "More of my philosophies meshed with the Democratic Party and I found more of a home here."
Constable: Kevin McGrath Sr.
Board of Aldermen: incumbent Martin Hardiman and Susan Manning
Board of Education: Dave Bonder and Jim Quish
PZB: Kim Rose
Constable: Linda Hardiman
Board of Aldermen: Philip Vetro, incumbent, and Jessica Blackletter
Board of Education: Dave Amendola and Dave Hourigan, both are incumbents
PZB: Jennifer Carey
Constable: Claire Phelan
Board of Aldermen: Robert Nunno and incumbent minority leader Benjamin Blake
Board of Education: James Santa Barbara and David Defluneri
PZB: Victor Ferrante
(Photos by Bob Adams)