‘It’s a Phenomenal Group’: New Canaan Democrats Endorse Candidates for Local Offices at Caucus


An estimated 30 to 40 registered Democrats in New Canaan on Tuesday night gathered for a caucus at Lapham Community Center to endorse party candidates seeking local offices this coming Election Day.

DTC-endorsed candidates for local offices, L-R: Jim Kucharcyzk, Beth Jones, Cindy Franco, Brendan Hayes, Gerry Harrington, Joe Paladino and Arnold Karp. Missing: Ed Vollmer.

DTC-endorsed candidates for local offices, L-R: Jim Kucharcyzk, Beth Jones, Cindy Franco, Brendan Hayes, Gerry Harrington, Joe Paladino and Arnold Karp. Missing: Ed Vollmer.

Those in attendance by voice vote endorsed incumbent Beth Jones for selectman, Joe Paladino (incumbent) and Jim Kucharcyzk for Town Council, Brendan Hayes for Board of Education, Gerry Harrington (incumbent) for Board of Assessment Appeals and Cindy Franco, Arnold Karp and Ed Vollmer for constable (all incumbents).

“It’s a phenomenal group of people,” Democratic Town Committee Chair Jane Himmel told NewCanaanite.com in a phone interview following the caucus. “Beth works so hard and has the biggest heart and is as much the soul of the town as anybody. We’re thrilled Joe is returning to the Town Council and Jim has so much experience and done so many different things. He’s a great addition and such a thoughtful guy and really does his homework. And Brendan Hayes is a newcomer to town government, he is terrific, the son of educators and his mother was a school principal. Just a very smart, humble, thoughtful guy.”

Held in the Douglas Room at Lapham, the caucus included speeches from nominators as well as candidates, Himmel said. Democrats John Emert (Town Council) and Alison Bedula (Board of Ed) are not seeking re-election on Nov. 3.

“It was a very convivial night, a very heartwarming night because many people know each other and there’s a lot of praise and affection and camaraderie,” Himmel said. ‘The Democrats really enjoy each other and working together.”

DTC endorsement for each candidate went uncontested.

Here are biographies of each candidate (with the exception of Karp—to come later), supplied by the DTC:

  • Beth Jones. Contributed

    Beth Jones. Contributed

    Beth Jones (selectman): An incumbent member of the New Canaan Board of Selectmen since 2011, Beth Jones previously served on the Town Council from 2007 to 2011. A lifelong resident of New Canaan, she serves as a board member of the League of Women Voters and is a member of the Kiwanis Club. In addition to those activities, she is on the Community Emergency Response team, is a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, the New Canaan Community Foundation and Staying Put, a program helping to enable elderly residents remain in their homes. Most recently, she is on the town committee evaluating ways to support the New Canaan Playhouse’s financial viability, keeping it open and remaining as a vital element of the Village’s attraction as a family and commercial center. During the past two years on the Board of Selectman, she has worked with many others to bring the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development to completion, enhancing open space, promoting sustainability and strengthening the town’s pedestrian focus. She has also been a strong proponent of developing a master plan for Waveny Park, the town’s “Crown Jewel”, so the town’s many groups continue to benefit from its open space in ways that retain its character for years to come. She has worked on the “Solarize New Canaan” project and has pushed for more solar energy use in the town’s schools and buildings. She is proud to see the completion of the new Town Hall and looks forward in the next term to seeing completion of the Locust Ave. parking lot and the Saxe Middle School Auditorium and classroom addition project.

  • Joe Paladino. Contributed

    Joe Paladino. Contributed

    Joe Paladino (Town Council): A resident of New Canaan for nearly 20 years, Joseph Paladino is running for his second term on the Town Council. Proud of his accomplishments to date, brings an independent, Democratic perspective to the Council. As a member of the town council, Paladino is a constructive influence who works well with his diverse colleagues, all of whom have unique strengths and talents. A self-employed building contractor in Fairfield County since 1988, he specializes in historic preservation of unique properties and oversees a construction firm that both remodels existing homes and designs and builds new ones. Previously, he was program director at the Norwalk YMCA and Senior Program Director at the Ridgefield YMCA. He and his wife, Lori Centner Paladino, have three children, all of whom went to New Canaan schools. His youngest will be a senior at New Canaan High School in the coming year.

  • Jim Kucharcyzk. Contributed

    Jim Kucharcyzk. Contributed

    Jim Kucharczyk (Town Council): Jim Kucharczyk, a former member of the New Canaan Board of Education and Board of Finance, is running for a seat on the Town Council. Along with his involvement in those town boards, he is a past member and president of the New Canaan High School Crew Board of Directors and a past Board member of New Canaan Baseball. In other civic and social activities, Kucharczyk is a past member of the Board of Directors of St. Christopher’s Inn, a facility in Garrison, NY, that provides temporary shelter, counseling and medical care to those suffering from psychoactive substance abuse. In his professional career, Kucharczyk is senior director, Supply Chain Management for Cigna Corporation in Hartford. In that role, he supports Cigna’s worldwide operations, including hardware, software, consulting and professional services, network services and call center technology. Previously, he was director of Management Consulting Services for Joseph H. Cohn, a partner/vice president for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and held other highly responsible positions with other management firms. A resident since 1997, he has been married for 33 years and has three children who graduated from New Canaan public schools.

  • Brendan Hayes. Contributed

    Brendan Hayes. Contributed

    Brendan V. Hayes (Board of Ed): A managing director at the financial services firm, Millstein & Co., Brendan Hayes is the father of three children, two of whom are in the New Canaan schools with the youngest at the Nature Center. With the many educational needs to be addressed before the town, Hayes’s expertise in investment banking and finance will facilitate the Board of Education’s ability to consider the strategies best suited to support the programs that enhance the town’s reputation for educational excellence. Brendan has a particular understanding of today’s academic and educational challenges. He is the son of educators and currently serves on the Newcomb Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council at Tulane University. Brendan, whose children range in age from 11- to 4-years old, has served as a youth sports coach in town. Professionally, he is a managing director in investment banking for a growing boutique firm, Millstein & Co. At Millstein, he provides advisory services for companies and creditors in recapitalizations and restructurings, which involve complex negotiations. Previously, he was a Director and Vice President in Lazard’s restructuring group. He graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business with an MBA and holds a BS degree in Mathematics and History from Tulane University.

  • Cindy Franco. Contributed

    Cindy Franco. Contributed

    Cindy Franco (constable): Cindy Franco, a 34-year resident of New Canaan who has long been active in a variety of town programs, is running for constable. In the town, she was a volunteer at the Waveny Care Center, providing physical therapy to the residents. A member of St. Aloysius Church during her 34 years, she developed the first music education program at the school in 1995 and served as a part-time volunteer introducing parents to the school. She is also one of the founding members of Spencer’s Run, attending weekly meetings with Park and Recreation officials and the town council for more than a year. Married, she has a grown daughter. Professionally, she has worked in the fashion industry for more than 20 years, rising from the cutting rooms to the show rooms, before moving into fashion production and radio and television work. In her broadcasting work, she was a member of AFTRA and SAG. Her fashion background also includes work in the bridal industry where she specialized in helping brides find original gowns, working with Couture designers in New York City.

  • Gerry Harrington. Contributed

    Gerry Harrington. Contributed

    Gerry Harrington (Board of Assessment Appeals): Gerry Harrington, a 35-year resident of New Canaan, is running for Assessment Appeals Board. Harrington is well-known in New Canaan, having been a residential and commercial real estate agent for more than 20 years. Previously, she worked in the real estate department of Cummings & Lockwood, a law firm, General Electric and Brookhaven National Laboratories. Her four children all attended New Canaan schools and have since graduated from college. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in English, and is a former board member of the American Association of University Women. Active in civic organizations, she is on the Board of the Long Ridge Swim and Tennis Club and vice president of the River Hills Ski Club.

  • Arnold Karp. Contributed

    Arnold Karp. Contributed

    Arnold Karp: Arnold Karp is the founder of Karp Associates Inc., a New Canaan-based multifaceted firm specializing in professional construction management, real estate consulting and development, the building and development of distinguished custom homes and diverse, unique renovations. He has been at the helm of Karp Associates for over 30 years, overseeing acquisitions, design, construction and project management. As a long-term resident of New Canaan, Arnold’s commitment to the town extends far beyond his renovation building projects. He has been a board member of a number of charitable and philanthropic endeavors that includes a 17-year Board Member of the New Canaan YMCA, a member of the past Town of New Canaan Master Planning Committee and the New Canaan High School Building Committee, as well as a founding member of the Chabad of New Canaan. Arnold’s other involvement in the surrounding communities includes his Board and Treasurer positions in The Mill River Collaborative, the public/private park in Stamford, and past Board President of the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. Arnold graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Management with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He also received a Boston University Teaching Fellow Award and more recently the BU Distinguished Alumni Award. Arnold resides in New Canaan, CT with his wife, Lisa, and his three daughters.

  • Ed Vollmer. Contributed

    Ed Vollmer. Contributed

    Edward C. Vollmer (constable): A 32-year resident of New Canaan, Edward Vollmer supports the town through his membership on various town committees, including the Democratic Town Committee. He also serves on the Board of the New Canaan Historical Society. A U.S. Navy veteran, Ed has also worked as a New York State Police Officer. He is a graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Along with those career positions, he has also worked as a creative director for a New York City advertising firm. In 1979, he co-founded a medical device company, Unimar, Inc., a role where he worked with physicians in the U.S. and abroad developing and marketing specialized medical devices.

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