Voters Guide: 2018 Election

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, Wilton voters will go to the polls to choose Connecticut’s next governor, legislators, and other leaders. This voters guide is presented as a service of The Wilton Bulletin, which encourages all citizens to exercise their right to vote. Click here for sample ballots.

Wilton’s three polling places will be open from 6 a.m to 8 p.m. on the day of the election:

  • District 1 will vote in the Clune Center at Wilton High School, 395 Danbury Road.

  • District 2 will vote at the Cider Mill School gym, 240 School Road.

  • District 3 will vote at the Middlebrook School gym, 131 School Road.

Click here for a voter look-up service and a map of Wilton’s district division .

125th House district

Ross Tartell (Democratic Party)
5A on the ballot

Wilton and New Canaan are among the best communities in Connecticut. I have been lucky to spend almost 30 years here with my wife and son. Over the last two years, we all have seen what is happening in Washington and Hartford, and the crises facing our society. Many of us are disturbed by the trends in our world, and — regardless of political persuasion — have decided to “step up our game,” believing things can be better. My choice is to run for State Representative of the 125th District. My priorities include:

1) Renegotiating with the unions for cost savings and pension funding — and making tax cuts and adjustments such as eliminating the estate and gift taxes — while providing the funds to make strategic investments in infrastructure, social services, and education. The social programs we take for granted (compassionate healthcare system, great schools, solving critical problems like transportation) cannot be separated from the significant economic issues we face.

2) Strengthening the public-private partnerships integral to supporting business development. Connecticut needs to create a strong business roundtable that enables discussions, strategically deploys resources, and creates jobs.

3) Training citizens for future jobs. The Connecticut Business and Industry Association estimates there are 50,000 advanced manufacturing and technical jobs that are unfilled. Industry will go where it can procure workers. Connecticut needs to partner with industry to train our citizens to fill those roles.

4) Continuing to support quality schools and education. People are attracted to New Canaan and Wilton because of the schools. We must continue to invest and nurture these assets in our communities.

5) Fixing our crumbling infrastructure, otherwise goods and services cannot get to businesses and people cannot get to work. Fixing this problem requires a dedicated funding source with a lockbox to ensure the funds are not reallocated.

Tom O'Dea (Republican Party)
5B on the ballot

I’m honored and humbled to be your State Representative and it has been both the most rewarding and, at times, frustrating, job of my career.

I have decided to run for re-election because I have been successful in improving the lives of many throughout the district and the state and believe there is more our team can accomplish. I was promoted as the first House Deputy Leader At Large from New Canaan and Wilton and earned the reputation as a bipartisan legislator who makes the state’s long-term interests a priority. While we’ve made excellent strides in correcting some past mistakes, more needs to be done.

If re-elected, my top three priorities will be to reduce state spending and taxes, increase private-sector job growth and improve transportation. In order to accomplish those goals, I will propose a 20% budget cut across the board for each agency except Judiciary and DDS; elimination of the Citizens Election Program, the CHRO, the estate tax, gift tax and tax on social security and pensions; reduce government regulation; streamline licensing; reform unemployment and workers’ compensation laws; and prioritize transportation funding and support public-private partnerships, like a tunnel that allows a 12-minute commute from Stamford to Manhattan.

143rd House district

Gail Lavielle (Republican and Independent Parties)
5B and 5D on the ballot

Resolving Connecticut’s serious fiscal and economic issues requires experience, knowledge, and a bipartisan, collaborative approach.

My experience combines both business and government: more than 20 years in executive leadership positions at international companies, service on Wilton’s Board of Finance and Energy Commission, eight years as state representative.

I am House Assistant Minority Leader and Education Committee Ranking Member, and have  served on both the Appropriations and Finance Committees. I have the credibility, bipartisan relationships, and knowledge of the budget to get results.

Through bipartisan collaboration, I prevented cuts to education, stopped state pension cost transfers to towns, restored funding for seniors and the disabled, stopped transit fare hikes and service cuts, achieved education mandate relief, stopped an eminent domain bill subverting local zoning authority, restored Danbury Line through-train service, and began reforming 8-30g.

Our district values respect for the individual, and I’ve been proud to stand up for many successful bills that protect personal health, reproductive, and lifestyle choices, workplace fairness, human rights, safety from gun violence, and more.

But restoring Connecticut’s economy is also a matter of respect for constituents, and here the legislature has failed. My focus is on changing this — purposefully over time, starting immediately. We must put Connecticut’s finances in order by reducing taxes, reducing spending, renegotiating state union contracts, limiting borrowing to essentials, reducing unfunded liabilities, and stimulating job growth with a friendlier business environment.

My constituents must be able to count on a future in Connecticut, and my priority is to make sure that they can. I would be honored to continue to serve the 143rd district.

Endorsements: CBIA, National Foundation of Independent Business, CT Realtors, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, CT Association of Retired Teachers, Planned Parenthood. Distinctions: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Candidate and CT Education Association (CEA) Honor Roll.

Stephanie Thomas (Democratic and Working Families Parties)
5A and 5C on the ballot

I am a strong believer in civility in every walk of life, including politics. I will not stand idly by when our state is at risk of taking on the tone and tenor of the federal government. I will focus on ideas, will work with others, irrespective of party affiliation — and whatever the outcome of these bipartisan discussions, will remain civil and respectful.

As a fund-raising and strategy consultant to nonprofits for over 20 years, I have been tasked with coming up with creative solutions when other plans have failed. With a master’s degree in nonprofit management from New York’s New School University, I have devised workable plans — quickly and effectively — to help organizations thrive for the long term. I have never worked with a group that hasn’t asked me to become its leader because my commitment is always 100%, without ego, but with absolute resolve to accomplish the goals set forth.

I believe I have the passion and the experience to represent the people of the 143rd Legislative District while addressing the key issues facing the district, as well as the state. I will fight to: leverage every one of your tax dollars, safeguard us from gun violence, protect funding for public education, advocate for voting rights, fund infrastructure investment, protect the environment, and remove barriers to opportunities for individuals and businesses alike.

The world is changing rapidly; our economy is changing rapidly. We cannot afford to be left behind. Let’s put our differences aside and get to work making our state tops in the nation. I am willing to think outside the box, bring new voices to the table, and work tirelessly to advance the needs in our district.

26th Senate district

Toni Boucher (Republican and Independent Parties)
4B and 4D on the ballot

Why am I the most qualified person to represent the 26th state Senate District?

First, thank you, constituents, for the opportunity to serve you. It’s been a pleasure getting to know so many of you. You’ve made an incredible impact on my life.

I serve the people of Connecticut because they gave my family and me so much. We were immigrants with nothing, no education, no money and no English. My service pays it forward for families like mine that receive a better life in our state!

I’ve been an impoverished immigrant, mother, grandmother, and businesswoman who broke glass ceilings in global firms and started my own small businesses. My real-world budgeting experience means I bring common-sense solutions to Connecticut’s issues.

I know the legislative process and my constituents. We share similar values. I’m a social moderate. I’m pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-environment, and helped write the assault weapon ban after the Sandy Hook tragedy. I’m a fiscal conservative. I’m pro-business, pro-free market, and anti-tax.

I have a record of cross-party voting. The Independent Party endorses me.

I’m a go-to problem solver not driven by politics and special interests. What’s right isn’t always popular. My principles guide me to do what I believe in my heart is right.

My vision for Connecticut comes from living both sides of the economic ladder and listening to people’s concerns, not just pursuing my own agenda. I champion issues that matter to all Connecticut residents.

Connecticut is eroding. Home values and the economy are shrinking. The state is unaffordable for too many. The tax base is shrinking.

You need a proven leader who understands creating and growing businesses and jobs to make Connecticut viable. I am that proven leader and ask for your vote on Nov. 6th.

Will Haskell (Democratic Party)
4A on the ballot

My name is Will Haskell and I am the Democratic candidate for state senator in the 26th District, which includes all of Wilton.

A couple weeks ago, my opponent and I discussed our platforms at a local Kiwanis Club meeting, and she mentioned that she believes money is the most important thing to Connecticut voters.

I couldn’t disagree more. Voters in this community want legislators who fight for values, not just money. Especially in this political moment. Donald Trump’s administration has systematically oppressed immigrants and people of color, openly mocked and harassed women, embraced the NRA, and elevated a man with multiple, credible accusations of sexual assault to a lifetime Supreme Court appointment.

We cannot close our eyes, plug our ears, and pretend that Connecticut is immune from the dangerous state of national politics. This past legislative cycle, my opponent voted with the Republican caucus 97% of the time. In this moment of moral clarity for our state and nation, we deserve better than partisanship.

That’s why I’ve centered my campaign on listening to and learning from voters. I’ve heard from parents who had to return to work just two weeks after the birth of their child because Connecticut does not have earned paid family leave legislation. I’ve spoken to high schoolers who organized walkouts because they worry that the next school shooting may lie around the corner. And I’ve met voters in countless living rooms who know that today’s Republican party no longer represents their values.

I’m proud to have earned the support of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the National Organization for Women. I’m proud to have the endorsement of President Barack Obama, Congressman Jim Himes, Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. And I’m especially proud to have earned the support of thousands of voters in this district, Democrat and Republican. On Nov. 6th, I hope I can earn your vote as well.

Judge of Probate

Doug Stern (Democratic Party)
10A on the ballot

It would be the honor of my life to serve my community as Judge of Probate.

I have a diversity of life experiences that will make me a well-rounded judge of probate who can empathize with all of the citizens of Norwalk and Wilton, from all backgrounds and walks of life. I grew up an ordinary kid from the area and spent four years attending Vanderbilt University.

After a brief career in finance I knew that my work needed to be more engaged with the human condition around me, and attended Tulane University’s School of Law. After passing the bar, I decided to practice law on my own focusing on criminal defense work, and along the way get deeply involved in my community through government, nonprofits and political organizations. Over the years I am proud to have represented hundreds of underprivileged clients in Norwalk under very challenging circumstances. Drug addiction, poverty, mental illness and family issues are often times all present by the time I help clients navigate the criminal justice system.

I have developed a temperament and a directness that helps me serve the needs of those who truly need it, and provide stern legal advice while being sensitive to the many emotions at play during the most significant and stressful moments of my client's lives.  Along the way I became a board member of the Family & Children's Agency and an officer of the Norwalk branch of the NAACP. I was confirmed by city hall to serve on Norwalk’s Zoning Commission and later decided to run for office and was elected to the city’s Common Council At-Large.

I am deeply committed to serving my community. I would love to help the citizens of Norwalk and Wilton in this new way and promise to serve this position with honor.

Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr. (Republican and Independent Parties)
10B and 10D on the ballot

The probate judge administers the operation of the probate court. They appoint guardians and conservators and settle disputes involving trusts and estates, as well as the disposition of property of a deceased person.

The probate judge helps families through some of their most challenging times by fairly, efficiently and compassionately guiding them through the legal process.

I have practiced law for over 35 years. I have received mediation certification from Quinnipiac Law School as well as certification as an arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association. For the past 25 years I have had the judicial role of due process hearing officer for the Norwalk Public Schools, presiding over more than 1,000 due process hearings.

I have spent 28 years in elective office representing the people of Norwalk and Wilton, including six years on the Norwalk Board of Education and 22 years as state representative for the towns of Norwalk, Wilton (1993-2003) and New Canaan.

I am a husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. Family is the most important thing in our lives. I am a lifelong Norwalk resident who attended Norwalk public schools as did all three of our children. I have been married to Barbara for the past 35 years and, with her, have raised three amazing kids. We recently became grandparents. I am blessed to still have my amazing mother at 93 years young. I have lived and worked in Norwalk and Wilton my entire life and have been the beneficiary of its diversity. I volunteer for numerous, charitable and educational organizations both in Norwalk and Wilton, including the Side by Side Charter School and, as a coach for the Wilton YMCA Special Olympics. I know and understand the diverse people of Norwalk and Wilton and would be honored to serve as their Judge of Probate.