Caucus Results: New Canaan Republicans Back New Candidates for Town Council, Board of Ed


New Canaan Republicans on Tuesday night backed four candidates for Town Council and three for Board of Education—an incumbent from each elected group failing to garner the required votes for party endorsement—during the Republican Town Committee’s caucus at New Canaan High School.

Officials said just 285 total ballots were cast during the caucus, which saw most voters exit the high school auditorium even before candidates had a chance to give their speeches. The hopefuls now eye the Nov. 3 local elections, to begin their terms on the Town Council and Board of Ed soon afterwards.

“It’s a great civic duty on your part to attend this,” RTC Moderator John Ponterotto told those gathered at the caucus at the outset, prior to opening voting for those who wished to cast their ballots prior to candidate speeches.

Here’s a table that shows total votes garnered:

2015 Republican Town Committee Caucus Results

Elected BodyCandidate Votes
Town Council (five candidates for four seats)
Steve Karl**223
Ken Campbell**171
Christa Kenin157
Cristina A. Ross150
Roger Williams**130
Board of Education (six candidates for three seats)
Hazel Hobbs**155
Maria Naughton144
Tom Cronin137
Gene Goodman**120
Mary Anne Marcella92
John P. Walsh76
* Information from RTC Caucus Moderator John Ponterotto
** Indicates an incumbent candidate


Williams of the Town Council and Goodman of the Board of Ed each are incumbents.

The RTC by voice vote backed candidates seeking offices where Republican endorsement was not contested: Rob Mallozzi (first selectman), Nick Williams (selectman), Claudia Weber (town clerk), Andrew Brooks (town treasurer), Van Young (constable) and Greg Pepe (constable).

Candidates were allotted three minutes apiece to deliver a speech at the caucus. What follows are segments from each candidate’s speech, including from those who introduced candidates where so noted.

L-R: Cristina A. Ross, Roger Williams, Ken Campbell, Steve Karl and Christa Kenin at the RTC Caucus in the New Canaan High School auditorium, July 21, 2015. Credit: Michael Dinan

L-R: Cristina A. Ross, Roger Williams, Ken Campbell, Steve Karl and Christa Kenin at the RTC Caucus in the New Canaan High School auditorium, July 21, 2015. Credit: Michael Dinan

Town Council

  • James O’Hora (introducing candidate Cristina A. Ross): “I have no reservations that Cristina Ross will serve all residents of New Canaan and given the opportunity to serve, she will serve with dedication, integrity and utilize her proven skills and intellect.”
  • Cristina A. Ross: “I have a track record of experience in having served the town in various appointment capacities on boards, commissions and committees. It is my commitment to represents all the residents of the town of New Canaan, to serve with utmost integrity and be the people’s voice.”
  • Roger Williams: “Right now if you look at it, we have a $90 million, 5-year capital plan, we have a Board of Ed that’s been chugging along at 4 percent annual increases, we have a town around 2.5 percent, we have healthcare rising at 15 percent. If we do nothing—nothing—our taxes are up by 50 percent in six years. Now is the time to have a serious, honest discussion about what this town can afford, what kind of taxes we want to impose upon the citizens who live here, and then we budget back to what we can do.”
  • Ken Campbell: “I have had the privilege of representing you on the [Town] Council for the past 12 years. I have been a member of Public Works, Public Safety, General Government, Ordinance and Education Subcommittees of the Town Council. I have chaired the General Government, Public Safety and Education Committees. Prior to my election to the council, I was appointed to Park & Recreation Commission and I served on that commission for five years before my election to the Town Council.”
  • Tucker Murphy (introducing Christa Kenin): “Currently on the council, we don’t have anyone with children at the elementary school age level—Christa does have two young children, but also has the experience as an attorney and a local leader to fill this gap and engage the young families.”
  • Christa Kenin: “I moved to New Canaan four years ago with my husband and two little girls. Like so many families, we moved here for the top-rated public school system, because education elevates—it elevates our children, our property values and our economy. We all win with a top-rated school system. Equally compelling, we moved for the low taxes and I am running for Town Council because I want to keep New Canaan this way.”
  • Steve Karl: “I own a business in town with a long and proud history, and I have a vested interest in our success and prosperity, especially our community. Over the past eight years, it has been both a privilege and an honor to serve the residents of New Canaan as a member of the Town Council. I take my role on the council very seriously and I have always tried to deliver more than expected when volunteering or assigned to a related task.”
L-R: Maria Naughton, John P. Walsh, Hazel Hobbs, Mary Anne Marcella, Gene Goodman and Tom Cronin at the RTC Caucus in the New Canaan High School auditorium, July 21, 2015. Credit: Michael Dinan

L-R: Maria Naughton, John P. Walsh, Hazel Hobbs, Mary Anne Marcella, Gene Goodman and Tom Cronin at the RTC Caucus in the New Canaan High School auditorium, July 21, 2015. Credit: Michael Dinan

Board of Education

  • John P. Walsh: “I am running for a seat on the Board of Education because I want to help broaden communication between the board and all of the school parents, taxpayers and all of our families of New Canaan. I want to listen to your ideas and be your representative on the board. I want to nurture a healthy, lively dialogue on all the topics that need addressing.”
  • Hazel Hobbs: “All my life I have had a passion for education and the power it has to change people’s lives, no matter their age. Being on the Board of Education has allowed me to use the skills I gained as a teacher for pre-K through college graduates, Greenwich principal for 16 years, founder of a private school, and a lifetime community volunteer … Due to the fast pace of technology, experts are predicting that some of the children in the primary grades today will be going to jobs when they graduate that don’t even exist today. This is why the informed, collaborative development of our Board of Education goals is so important to us.”
  • Mary Anne Marcella: “It seems suddenly public education is headed in the wrong direction. Many of us our busy and we can’t follow every change, and we simply trust and want to believe that we are in capable hands. Well, I have more real and active experience than most people regarding understanding the educational environment today, and there are very big changes. And I have notice that the more people learn about these changes, and the more they see that this is about more than a shift in standards, that they don’t like them.”
  • Gene Goodman: “There is a lot more to this than just the dollars. For New Canaan schools to remain as good as they are, we must stay ahead of the many challenges out there. For example, the never-ending barrage of federal and state mandates. We work hard to minimize their impact on our local curricula and budgets, creating a wide array of student course offerings with minimal budget impact, instituting programs that reflect actual versus perceived community values, finding the appropriate balance between teacher as lecturer versus teacher as educational guide in today’s online, Internet-based and social networking world.”
  • Maria Naughton: “[Some] know me as someone who has given public talks and information sessions about the many changes taking place in education. Most recently, I worked on getting a student data-privacy bill through the Education Committee in Hartford, as one of my passions is protecting student data and their privacy. Those changes are what brought me to this point today, where I call myself an advocate for parents, students and families in our community. As an advocate, I understand how important it is for all of us to be aware. Public schools are in transition, there’s no doubt about that. What’s happened, though, is that the amount of local control that we have as parents and taxpayers is diminishing over our local schools and our budgets.”
  • Joy Cronin (introducing Tom Cronin): “Our children began their education at West School elementary where Tom and his three siblings started so many years ago, and we believe they all benefitted from that strong foundation.”
  • Tom Cronin: “As Joy mentioned, I am retired, I am fortunate to spend time with my children during their years in our school system … I know the importance of board policy and governance. I appreciate the fact that the key stakeholders are not always in the room, but must be represented as if they were.”

Calling them “outstanding Republicans,” Ponterotto prior to the speeches acknowledged two RTC members who were not seeking re-election this year: Town Councilman Tucker Murphy and Board of Education Vice Chair Scott Gress.

“For well over a decade, Tucker Murphy has graced us with boundless energy, organization and enthusiasm and her leadership in positions on the Town Council, Board of Ed, Chamber of Commerce—I really could go on, but if I were to list all her accomplishments we would be here till Labor Day,” Ponterotto said. “The RTC and I would like to thank you for adding so much to the quality of life in this town in all the work that you have done. You’re an exemplary Republican, tireless public servant and we thank you.”

He also thanked Gress as “a leader on the Park & Recreation Commission, on the Board of Ed, many other organizations that have served the lifeblood of this community.”

“He has been a terrific Republican and a valued public servant and we thank Scott, as well,” Ponterotto said.

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