Democratic Slate for November 7, 2017
Julia Pemberton is seeking re-election as First Selectman. When she was first elected in 2013, Julia brought with her a list of goals and new ideas for Redding that touched nearly every department, service and employee in the town. Progress has been made on all fronts. From Georgetown and roads, to improved services, constituent engagement and government transparency, Julia brings an entrepreneur’s mindset to the municipal CEO’s job. Julia has sixteen years of service in town in senior leadership roles, having served four years as a member of the Board of Selectmen, and is a former Chair of the Region 9 Board of Education. After a twenty year career in publishing, Julia’s passion for advocacy and public policy led her to the non-profit sector where she was the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Connecticut Challenge. Julia’s advocacy, marketing, and communications skills provide her with the ability to develop effective and fiscally sound policies, and build consensus. Julia has earned a cross endorsement from the Redding Republican Town Committee.
Margaret “Peg” O’Donnell a Certified Public Accountant by trade, has lived in Redding for over 24 years. She and her husband, Scott, have raised their three children in town. Peg founded Topstone Financial Consultants in 1987 and continues to work as a CPA. She spent 14 years as the elected treasurer for the Town of Redding, as well as a year on the Board of Finance. In addition, Peg has been a board member of many organizations in town. Her affiliations include board positions with the Mark Twain Library, New Pond Farm, the Redding League of Women Voters, Redding Neighbors and Newcomers, RES PTA and the Redding Cub Scouts. Her work also affords her many opportunities to interact with residents of Redding on a professional level. These interactions give Peg the broad knowledge of the town, its finances and its residents to ensure that she thinks carefully about the best interests of all Redding residents when issues come before the Board of Selectmen.
Michele Grande was first elected as Town Clerk in 2003 and earned the Connecticut Town Clerk Certification (CCTC) in 2006, Municipal Clerk Certification (CMC) in 2009, and Master Connecticut Clerk Certification (MCTC) in 2014. In her fourteen years as Town Clerk she has upgraded the outdated computer and indexing system, and has been responsible for the upkeep of the Town of Redding website, which was redesigned and improved. In addition, Michele applied for and received a $50,000 records management grant from Connecticut State Library to organize, store, recreate and preserve valuable town records. Michele has served as Fairfield County VP for the Connecticut Town Clerks Association for four years, has been Conference Chairman since 2010, plus maintains an active membership in the New England Town Clerks Association and the International Institute for Municipal Clerks. Michele is cross endorsed by the Republican Town Committee.
Wes Higgins is the candidate for Town Treasurer. Wes and his wife Betsy have owned a home in Redding since 1998. Wes has four children, the youngest two are students at John Read Middle School. Wes is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Food Bank. He chaired their Development Committee in a major capital campaign from 2012-2014 to raise funds for the organization’s new 80,000 square foot facility in Wallingford, CT. Mr. Higgins was most recently Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for Global IRCC (Interest Rates, Credit and Currency) at Morgan Stanley, NY from 2009-2011 and prior to that was Chief Operating Officer of Dimaio Ahmad Capital (a spin off of Credit Suisse) from 2004-2009. Prior to that, he was employed by Credit Suisse for 15 years during which he was a Senior Managing Director and Head of Fixed Income Institutional Sales in the US, ran the Structured Products Business and held positions in both Project Management and Strategic Planning. Earlier in his career he was responsible for Fixed Income sales at First Boston on the west coast. He began his career in Finance at Kidder Peabody, San Francisco. He served as Deputy Town Treasurer during last year, and holds a BA in Economics and Government from Wesleyan University. Wes has been cross endorsed by the Republican Town Committee.
Board of Finance
Jamie Barickman is seeking election to the Board of Finance. He and his wife Hollis have three children and have lived in Redding for more than 20 years. Jamie has been active in the community having served on the Redding Board of Education for 12 years (2001-2013), is a member of the Democratic Town Committee, and is a long-time active member of the Redding Congregational church. While on the school board, Jamie was a strong voice for long-term planning and looking for new ways to improve education outcomes. He was instrumental in the formation of the Board of Finance long-term capital projects committee and co-chaired the successful BOE facilities/long-term capital project committee. He has spent 20 years as a management consultant and is currently the president and CEO of Infirst Healthcare, a consumer healthcare company founded in 2015 and based in Westport, CT. Jamie is running for the BOF because he believes he can add a strategic discipline to the board that will protect and preserve the town’s values, identify solutions to the budget challenges facing Redding over the next 10 years, and foster a collaborative working relationship with all elected officials that will inspire better thinking and greater efficiency. Learn more at www.jamie4redding.com.
Rob Dean is seeking election to the Board of Finance. Robert Dean has lived in Redding for 30 years with his wife Mary Hoskinson-Dean, and their three children graduated from Redding’s schools. Rob served for 19 years on the Planning Commission as secretary and assistant chair; and as a practicing architect his firm is one of the region’s leading firms specializing in the highest quality of residential design. Thirty years of winning and serving demanding clients, running a business, and meeting a payroll give Rob a wealth of real-world experience relevant to Redding’s financial operations. His lengthy public service has been dedicated to sustaining Redding’s best “Clean and Green” traditions. Rob has degrees from Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, and has held professorial appointments at Columbia and Syracuse Universities. Rob sees Georgetown’s future as central to Redding’s future. Without the right outcome, Redding will become locked into a marginal tax base — and may be unable to sustain its residential property values or the excellence of its schools. The Wire Mill’s national-award-winning physical planning, which Rob previously helped bring about, did not prevent failure from good-faith financial decisions that went awry. Thus Rob has shifted his attention from physical planning to the town’s need for wise financial decision-making. Be sure to follow Rob’s Facebook page to learn more about his views.
Edward Miller is seeking election to the Board of Finance. He and his wife Katharine have lived in Redding since 2000 and their two children both attend Redding public schools. Ed cares deeply about Redding and has served in numerous elected and volunteer positions, including as a member of the Redding Board of Education (BOE), the Redding Parks and Recreation Commission, and as a volunteer for the Mark Twain Library and other organizations. While on the school board, Ed worked tirelessly on behalf of Redding, twice serving on the Collective Bargaining team, serving on the Superintendent Search Committee, Chairing the highly successful Kindergarten Study Committee and the BOE facilities/long-term capital project committee. Ed is a lawyer by training and has corporate experience managing multi-million dollar budgets. Ed is running for the BOF because he believes he can drive the BOF to take a more strategic, long-term approach to the Town’s finances that preserve the pillars of our community, protects taxpayers and respects the views of citizens.
Region 9 Board of Education
Gwen Denny is seeking election to the Region 9 Board of Education. Gwen is currently a member of the Redding Board of Education. Gwen’s involvement in the Redding schools began in the PTA when her older son was in preschool at Redding Elementary School. During her five years on the Executive Board of the PTA she focused on learning about the budget process, and was an active member of the BoE/PTA Liaison Committee and community member of the Tri-board’s Superintendent Search Committee. After stepping down from the PTA board, Gwen became the Redding co-president of the Easton/Redding PTA Council, collaborating with representatives from all five schools in both towns. Gwen has been employed at New Pond Farm Education Center in Redding where she is responsible for scheduling programs for school groups from all over Western Connecticut. Gwen is committed to working diligently to maintain excellence as we tackle the challenges posed by declining enrollment.
Cheryl Graziano is seeking election to the Region 9 Board of Education and is a strong proponent for providing high quality, inclusive and effective education. Cheryl is a certified public accountant who currently leads the global accounting, controls and compliance activities at a Fortune 500 company. She has 22+ years of experience, which includes budgeting, accounting, financial reporting, regulation and auditing. Nearly ten of those years were spent working at a professional association advocating issues at the federal level and providing education to constituents. Cheryl and her family have lived in Redding since 2011. She and her husband Peter Graziano are proud parents of three daughters who attend Joel Barlow High School and John Read Middle School, respectively. In addition to her practical experience in finance and accounting, Cheryl has over 10 years of volunteer leadership experience serving in the Flocktown-Kossmann School and Redding Elementary School chapters of the Parent Teacher Association. Cheryl has volunteered for other programs such as Junior Achievement and currently serves as a philanthropy liaison of the Redding chapter of the National Charity League and is a Committee member of the Redding Easton Basketball Association. Connect with Cheryl’s campaign on Facebook or visit her website.
Redding Board of Education
Heather Whaley is seeking election to the Redding Board of Education, where she has served since her appointment in February. Prior to serving on the Board of Education, she was an Alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals. An author, playwright, and screenwriter, Heather has been a fundraiser for arts education in public schools, having worked to benefit The Story Pirates, an arts and literature program based in New York City. Together with her husband Frank, a filmmaker and actor, she has raised money for arts programs in New York City public schools, and for the theater program at John Read Middle School. Heather has also worked as an organizer for the Connecticut chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and helped organize the state of Connecticut for the Women’s March. Heather and her family have lived in Redding for five years, and her children attend John Read and Joel Barlow. Heather is passionate about supporting arts programs in our schools, knowing that they serve not only to enrich student’s lives, but can also provide lifelong inspiration, and perhaps the path to a career. Please visit the Facebook page: Heather Whaley for Redding Board of Education.
Colleen Pilato is seeking election to the Redding Board of Education. Colleen’s involvement in the Redding schools began with the PTA at RES, when her daughter started Kindergarten there in 2015. Colleen is currently the RESPTA’s Vice President of Programs, ensuring the funds raised by the PTA are effectively spent on programs that best serve the students. She has also been the Room Parent for her daughter’s Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms, which has allowed her a first-hand view of what is happening in those classes and the school, in general. Colleen earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Union College, and lead Continuous Improvement programs in large corporations, until she chose to put her career on hold to raise her daughter. Her professional experience as an agent of change, supporting and guiding corporations as they pursued business excellence, has prepared her to now help support and guide our schools as they pursue academic excellence. Colleen is interested in both the well-being of our students and in educational innovation, so that as a community, we prepare our students to live engaged and fulfilling lives. Colleen looks forward to the opportunity to advocate for our schools, our students and our families. Connect with Colleen4BOE on Facebook.
Toby Welles is seeking re-election to the Redding Planning Commission, where he has volunteered since 2003. In 2016 he was appointed Acting Chair following the passing of long time chair Diane Taylor. Toby Welles and his wife Mary Bailey have lived in Redding for 25 years, and he is a native of neighboring Weston. An abiding love for the scale, natural beauty and rural character of Redding that drew them here also saw him volunteer as a member of the Planning Commission in 2003. His work on the commission has included helping draft the the 2008 Town Plan of Conservation and Development, deliberations on numerous subdivision matters, supporting work on open space grant applications and planning of the incentive housing zones. He has a son at Joel Barlow and enjoys hiking the many trails of Redding. Professionally, he has worked in the field of industrial design for 45 years, and has developed noteworthy designs in numerous fields ranging from medical devices to trains, furniture, consumer products and seating systems for the disabled. He is also a highly skilled in 3D computer graphics. His broad experience in balancing disparate agendas in getting projects through the production pipeline is beneficial in balancing the concerns of the Town and outside stakeholders who come before the Commission.
Amy Atamian is seeking election to the Redding Zoning Commission, where she has volunteered since 2005. Amy and her partner Jan came to Redding over 16 years ago from the hustle and bustle of neighboring Ridgefield, and have enjoyed the bucolic setting of Redding ever since. Amy first became a member of the Zoning Commission at the beginning of the extensive Wire Mill rezoning review, and is dedicated to the site’s revival. She also serves as the Zoning Commission’s representative on the Water Pollution Control Commission, where she has been involved in the technical review and planning for plant upgrades. Amy has an MS in Information Systems Engineering from NYU/Polytechnic and a BFA in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has worked in the environmental engineering field for over 30 years, and has been involved in GIS/IT analysis for a variety of land planning, water/wastewater infrastructure, and site remedial investigation programs across the country.
Zoning Board of Appeals
Scott Smith is seeking re-election to the Zoning Board of Appeals where he has been serving since 2013. Scott and his wife Mary have 3 children who will all be attending the John Read Middle School during the 2017-18 school year. Scott is an Associate Professor in the Legal Studies Department at Post University in Waterbury CT. He is the former Board President of the Redding Elementary School PTA and the Boys & Girls Club of Redding-Easton. Scott’s demonstrated commitment to the well-being of the community combined with his legal background makes him well-suited for service on the ZBA. According to Scott, “The role of a ZBA is to stand between the citizens of Redding and the Zoning Regulations and to provide relief for unique hardships that could not have been contemplated by the drafters of the zoning regulations. The work requires a careful ear and deep dedication to maintaining the rural nature of our town. I am proud to serve alongside the other dedicated volunteer members of the ZBA and the more than 100 volunteers who help our government run.”
Daniel W. Barrett is seeking election as an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals (a position to which he was appointed in Spring 2017 to fill a vacancy). Dan has lived on Gallows Hill Road for about 10 years, and is a former member and chair of the Redding Board of Ethics. Dan is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT. Prior to joining WCSU, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Health Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. At WCSU, he has served as the President of the University Senate, Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and the Director of Faculty Advising. In addition, he has authored a text book and multiple articles in social psychology. In 2016 he was appointed to the Connecticut Legislative Task Force to Study Best Practices with Regard to Open Educational Resources. Dan is committed to preserving the open spaces, natural habitats, and visual splendor of Redding, while realizing that zoning rules can sometimes create genuine hardship for property owners, as defined by state statute. Dan was recently elected as Chair of the Democratic Town Committee.