Democrats choose McFadden as standard bearer

The Democratic Town Committee July 19 chose its own chairman, Deborah McFadden, to be the standard bearer for the local fall election and run for the Board of Selectmen.

McFadden is a former selectman who ran unsuccessfully for first selectman in 2015. She did not attend the Democratic caucus held at the Comstock Community Center, because of a family emergency, so there was no comment from her that night about her election plan, but she said in a statement July 20 she is impressed with all the Democrats endorsed that night.

“I am excited about the high caliber of our candidates being put forward by our caucus. They will serve Wilton well,” McFadden said.

McFadden has been involved in Wilton community affairs for 20 years, including several terms as town constable. She has served on the boards of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, the Wilton Security Council and Trackside Teen Center. She is an advocate for bipartisan cooperation in managing the town’s challenges. Prior to moving here, she served as an executive in the Mayor’s Office of Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a former member of the Electoral College.
The remaining candidates, and their qualifications according to a press release, are:

Deborah Low for Board of Education. Low worked in the Wilton Public Schools from 1987 to 2007, serving as principal of Wilton High School (1998-2004) and assistant superintendent of Schools (2004-2007). In 2007 she left to become Ridgefield Superintendent of Schools (2007-2015). In Ridgefield she championed such initiatives as full-day kindergarten, improved math and reading instruction, and greater attention to students’ social and emotional needs. She increased high school instructional hours and improved community and parental outreach. For two years she has served on the town Social Services Commission. She is the mother of two Wilton school graduates and has lived in town for 20 years.

Gretchen Jeanes for Board of Education. Jeanes is a consultant with Bright Power, a New York energy management company, where she manages residential New York State Energy and Development projects. She was formerly a senior analyst and manager with American Express. She is also a sales agent with William Raveis in Wilton. She serves on the executive committee of the Cider Mill PTA and has held similar positions with the Miller-Driscoll PTA and is a member of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee. She is a member of the Junior League and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She has two children in the Wilton schools.

Richard Creeth for Board of Finance. A sitting member of the board, Creeth is a former four-term selectman, former chair of the DTC, and longtime advocate of energy efficiency who was instrumental in the formation of the Wilton Energy Commission. He is a former member of the tri-board, comprising members of the Board of Selectmen, Board of Education and Board of Finance. As a member of the finance board he has devised and helped to institute financial tools that more precisely determine the effect of proposed expenditures on the mill rate.  

Doris Knapp for four-year term on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Knapp, who has served on the commission for 10 years and is currently its secretary, has lived in Wilton for 45 years. She is an attorney specializing in family and juvenile practice, having represented children and parents in child protection, abuse and neglect matters.

Eric Fanwick for four-year term on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Fanwick, who previously served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for five years, has served on the Water Pollution Control Authority for seven years. He is a senior systems analyst for OrthoNet, a leading healthcare management company headquartered in White Plains, and formerly ran his own technology consulting company. He has lived in Wilton for 18 years.

Bas Nabulsi for two-year term on the Planning and Zoning Commission. A former three-term member of the commission, Nabulsi was a member of the commission when it developed its current Plan of Conservation and Development. He is a partner in the Stamford law firm, McCarter & English, and specializes in intellectual property law. He has also served on the boards of the World Affairs Forum and the Women’s Business Development Council. He has lived in Wilton for 35 years.

Tom Gunther for Zoning Board of Appeals. Gunther, a banker in New York City for 20 years, entered the technology field in 1997, and now represents a company in the networking and cloud space. He has lived in Wilton since 2007. Prior to that he served for 12 years on the Mamaroneck, N.Y., Zoning Board of Appeals, 10 years as its chairman. Gunther is an active member of Wilton CERT.

Jaclyn Coleman for Zoning Board of Appeals Alternate. Coleman is a real estate attorney and managing member of Jaclyn S. Coleman, PLC., a New York firm representing both sellers and purchasers in residential transactions in the five boroughs, Westchester County, and Long Island. She is also experienced in commercial real estate sales and acquisitions. She has lived in Wilton four years.

Bo Mitchell for Constable. Mitchell was police commissioner of Wilton for 16 years, retiring in February 2001 to found 911 Consulting, which creates emergency management, crisis communication and disaster recovery plans for corporate clients, many Fortune 500 companies nationally. As police commissioner he wrote the department’s strategic plan and reorganized the department, expanding the force from 36 to 44. He has lived in Wilton since 1970.

Ernest Ricco for Constable. Ricco, owner of Ricco Enterprises, a construction and property management firm, has been the chairman of the Wilton Democratic Platform committee since 1999 and is responsible for the “Listen to Wilton” platform adopted this month. He is a member of the Connecticut State Platform Committee and has been a delegate to Democratic state and national conventions since 2000.  He is a 20-year coach at the high school and collegiate level, presently secondary coordinator for the 2017 Staples High School football team. Prior to moving to Wilton in 1994, Ricco held numerous government posts, including town councilman in Stratford. He and his wife Brenda have six children, all of whom have attended Wilton schools.  

“It is in the best interest of Wilton that there be Democrats represented on all boards and commissions for balance,” said Tom Dubin, DTC vice-chair and chair of Wednesday night’s caucus. “This strong line-up more than fulfills that goal.”