Joshua Cole becomes selectman

Republican-nominated Joshua Cole, a real estate attorney who said he has experience bringing all sides together, emerged as the fifth member of the  Wilton Board of Selectmen during a special meeting of the board July 30 at town hall.

After an hour of interviews and nearly an hour of closed door deliberations, the selectmen voted 3-1 to have Cole fill out the term left vacant by Mike Kaelin, who had begun as a Republican but switched to unaffiliated and resigned in June because of a busy work schedule as a litigation attorney.

Deborah McFadden, the lone Democrat on the board, was the no vote. She threw her support to Democrat-endorsed Ceci Maher, the executive director of Person to Person, a nonprofit agency that serves poor working families in Fairfield County.

The board now includes three Republicans — Cole, Lori Bufano and First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice — unaffiliated David Clune and Democrat McFadden.

It was a special meeting, and there was no opportunity for public comment. If there had been, there would have probably been plenty of it, because a crowd of about 20 people attended to show support for one nominee or the other.

Republicans in the crowd included state Rep. Gail Lavielle.

During the interview session, Cole described himself as a young family man with interests in economic development to help support the town’s tax base. He expressed a particular interest in making the most of the downtown area, and said he has enjoyed sitting in on the workshop meetings of the Plan of Conservation and Development.

Following the meeting, he gave a brief interview in which he was reminded by reporters that he had run for Board of Selectmen last November and lost, but now has a seat anyway.

“I’m happy and ready to serve,” Cole said. He said he did not see his selection as a vindication of his failed race, because he had not run for personal reasons, but only wanted to serve.

“I wanted to serve and I got this opportunity,” he said.

No unaffiliated candidates submitted a petition directly to the Board of Selectmen for the seat.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen is Aug. 6.