On November 7th, we saw a massive voter turnout that started at 6:00 am and didn't stop until the polls closed. So many of our friends and neighbors came out to show their support for our row A candidates. Thank you to our candidates for your passion, experience, and commitment to our town and to our Democratic values.
Our deepest appreciation to Ben Tamsky and Laura Graham for their hard work, sweat equity, and can-do attitude. Our row A Democrats finished in the top four. Congrats to Ben for his election to the Board of Selectmen, and we look forward to what's next for Laura and her steadfast dedication to our town.
For the Board of Education and Finance as well as Constables, our row A Democrats had the highest vote totals in comparison to Republican candidates (BoE, BoF, Constable) and Forward Party (Constable). Way to go Meg, Farouk, Deb, Bill, Farrah, Joe, Peter, Lorraine, and Don. Sandy Grimes (Treasurer) and Steve Adams (Assessment Appeals), while unopposed, still received robust vote totals too.
Many, many Democrats had a hand in our successes last night. The list is long and includes folks who came out to the Saturday DTC door knocks, showed up to Wednesday phone banks, gave generously to our DTC, wrote letters to the editor, attended events, and volunteered yesterday at our polling precincts.
If you haven't had a chance already, please take a moment to drop a line of thanks and gratitude to our candidates. We were well represented on row A from top to bottom.
A video message from Connecticut State Treasurer, Erick Russell
A video message from Connecticut Attorney General, William Tong
Board of Selectmen
Laura Graham for First Selectman
Laura grew up in Old Mystic and graduated from Stonington High before earning her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Her journey as a writer and illustrator led her to Italy before she and her family returned to Stonington a decade ago. Laura founded an international sales and marketing business based here in Stonington.
With her excellent communication skills and unwavering commitment to our small town’s quality of life, Laura is the leader we need for Stonington: River to River.
To learn more about Laura visit: https://www.votelauragraham.com/
Ben Tamsky for Selectman
Ben Tamsky has lived in Stonington, with his wife Eleanor, since 1982. They have one child, Lorraine. Ben and Eleanor have operated their business, Brightworks,Inc., from their workshop in Mystic since 1989.
Ben became interested in community issues in 1994, when a group of local residents got together to purchase the old Cottrell Lumber Co. property for the purpose of building a waterfront park. Ultimately, the property was purchased by the Mystic Fire District and the park was built. Ben has remained active in the continued maintenance of the park through his membership on the Mystic River Park Commission. He served as Chair of the Commission from 2019-2023.
Ben served on the Stonington Zoning Board of Appeals from 1999-2009, during which time he learned a great deal about how zoning affects the everyday lives of residents. This education has led to a continuous effort on his part to help friends and neighborhood groups become educated in how our local government functions, and how they can navigate Town Hall for more positive outcomes.
Ben served on the Planning and Zoning Commission from 2009-2015, and was Chair from 2013-2015. During this time many new zoning regulations were debated, and the Commission adopted stricter guidelines for building in flood zones, as sea-level rise became more apparent. This Commission also wrote the current Plan of Conservation and Development.
Ben continues to assist residents with their land use issues. He believes that bringing the people that live in town into the decision making process is of utmost importance, and hopes to make our local government operate more transparently than it currently does.
Laura is endorsed by the Southeastern Connecticut Connecticut AFL-CIO
Ben is endorsed by the Southeastern Connecticut Connecticut AFL-CIO
Board of Finance
Farrah Garland for Board of Finance
Farrah Garland is a 35-year-old doctoral candidate, activist, advocate, educator, and artist. They have lived in Stonington for 11 years, and in Groton for five years before that.
Farrah is a disabled, nonbinary person and spends much of their time doing disablity rights work. They sit on a State disability council, where they've thrived working with Democrats and Republicans alike to achieve often challenging goals, including financial analysis and policy work. Farrah freelances as a speaker about disablity rights, queer identies, diversity & community at universities, corporations, and non-profits.
Farrah has owned and worked for several small businesses. For one, they sold their own handmade items both locally and internationally at retail. They also operated a health & wellness practice with several employees. Farrah's favorite thing about being self-employed, aside from setting their own hours, is being able to find ways to give back -- whether donating profits to Safe Futures or Planned Parenthood, or volunteering products and services to the VA or Sails Up for Cancer.
Farrah co-founded Stonington Pride, a small, unofficial community organization that celebrates the diversity, strength, and beauty of our town. They find joy making things better for the people around them, especially the most marginalized. Farrah often quotes JFK's comment "A rising tide lifts all boats," modifying it somewhat to "accessiblity benefits everyone!"
Farrah looks forward to working tirelessly on the Board of Finance to increase equity, sustainablity & accessiblity.
Farrah is endorsed by the Southeastern Connecticut Connecticut AFL-CIO
Farrah is also endorsed by the Young Democrats of New London County
Deb Norman for Board of Finance
Deb Norman is a current member of the Board of Finance where she has served since 2019. She is also the owner of Grand and Water Antiques in the Stonington Borough. As a small business owner, she has brought an incredible perspective to the Board of FInance and will continue to serve our community well.
Bill Sternberg for Board of Finance
Bill recently retired in 2022 after 38 years of Federal service. Under the Hatch Act, as a federal employee, Bill couldn't run for office. But now we are lucky that he decided to throw his hat into the ring to run for the Stonington Board of Finance.
Having spent almost four decades defining requirements and establishing budgets for technically complex multi-million-dollar government contracts; and having spent over two decades managing a technical and financial oversight program for a contract portfolio valued at over $500 million a year, Bill brings highly relevant skills and experience to the table. Additionally, his time on Stonington’s K-12 Building Committee, where he served as Vice-Chair from 2013 to 2016, and on the Athletic Fields task force prior to that, has given him significant insight into Stonington town government.
He looks forward to talking to Stonington residents about their concerns and issues as the Fall campaign progresses.
Board of Education
Meghan Blanchette for Board of Education
Meghan has lived in Stonington since 2019, when her family moved near to the beautiful West Vine Elementary school. Having grown up in Rhode Island, New England is home for her and she is excited about putting down roots in the strong Stonington community.
Community is at the heart of why she's running for the Board of Education. She believes that people cannot survive, let alone thrive, without connection and support.
Meghan moved to Stonington when her daughter was just a toddler, because she knew of the town's vibrant academic record. She wanted more details, especially around how we prepare students to join an ever-changing and growing world. And with her daughter now in the school system, she is paying close attention, and will work to ensure all our local schools are adequately equipped and staffed.
Meghan's background is in marketing and communications, with a focus on connecting people and sharing ideas. As such, over the last few years, Meghan has joined various committees and advisory groups. Meghan believes strongly that our schools should matter to everyone, whether or not you have a child attending. The choices made around academics, social supports, and staff create ripple effects as we raise future generations. Ultimately, she believes we owe it to all children to put in the time and sweat to listen to, defend, and empower them.
Meghan is endorsed by the Young Democrats of New London County
Farouk Rajab for Board of Education
Farouk is the current Chair of the Stonington Board of Education. He was also the Democratic candidate for the State Senate in 2022 for the 18th District. Farouk's experience on the Board of Education is invaluable and he looks forward to continuing to serve.
Sandy Grimes for Treasurer
Sandy Grimes was born and raised in Stonington and has lived here his entire life along with his wife of 52 years, Terry Santos Grimes (retired Registrar of Voters), their sons: Michael, Ethan, and Timothy, their three daughters-in-law, and their six grandchildren. Sandy graduated from the University of Hartford and holds a master’s in education from Connecticut College. He retired after 40+ years of teaching sixth grade: elementary level and middle school math.
His commitment, service, and volunteerism include former President of Deans Mill School Parent Teacher Organization, former President of the Board of Directors for the Stonington Community Center, 25-years on the Sandy Point Patrol, soccer coach, and Meals on Wheels volunteer. He is a lifetime member of the Stonington Borough Fire Department, St. Mary’s Church, Knights of Columbus, Portuguese Club, Elks Club, and the Westerly Yacht Club. He has served on committees for the Town of Stonington including facilities, dog park, and fields where he helped create new athletic fields.
He has had the honor of holding a series of elected positions in town including over 40 years as a member of the Stonington DTC where he is currently serving as Vice Chair. He has been elected to multiple terms on the Borough Board of Warden & Burgesses as fire and water commissioner, Justice of the Peace, Constable, and a six-year term on Board of Finance serving as liaison between the board and all Stonington non-profits as well as the Board of Education. He introduced the public comment portion of the board's agenda alongside John O'Brien. He is now serving in his third term as town Treasurer.
"As the current town Treasurer, I am aware of where all the money is spent. With that in mind, I feel responsible to maintain an ongoing, productive relationship with the Boards of Finance, Education, and Selectmen.
I have always believed that I should give back to the community I was raised in and I hope that the voters will allow me to continue that privilege as Treasurer."
Board of Assessment Appeals
Stephen Adams for Board of Assessment Appeals
Stephen “Steve” Adams has dedicated his life to public and community service for 4 decades since he was first elected to the Fairfield Representative Town Meeting in 1983 while in law school. Steve has been an active member of each community that he has resided in, serving on a Board of Education, Chair of Planning and Zoning Commissions in two towns, Chair of a Recreation Commission, a member of an Inland Wetlands and Conservation Commission, a member of the Tolland Judicial District Attorney Grievance Review Panel, and numerous other boards and committees.
A practicing attorney in Connecticut for 37 years with a solo general practice, Steve currently is a board member and corporate Secretary of the Wyndham Land Trust, Chair of two Juvenile Review Boards, a member of the Day Kimball Hospital Medical Ethics Committee, the Secretary/Treasurer of the Windham County Bar Association, a board member of the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, a Rotarian, a board member of the Village at Long Wharf Homeowner’s Association, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Mystic where he serves as a lector, altar server and usher, and as an active member of the Stonington Democratic Town Committee.
If elected to the Board of Assessment Appeals Steve promises to listen carefully to each taxpayer that comes before the Board, to treat them fairly and respectfully, and to judge each case based on the facts and the law.
Steve is the proud dad of three amazing adult children spread over the Western Hemisphere, Liam, Christian and Frances. When he finds time for it, Steve’s interests include cooking, gardening, beekeeping, hiking, foraging for wild mushrooms, playing a really lousy round of golf, and hopelessly rooting for the Mets for over 55 years. He hopes that you will still vote for him in spite of the latter.
"My guiding principle has always been that we have a responsibility to use our God given talents to leave this world a better place through our actions than what we found it in when we arrived here.”