WATERTOWN-OAKVILLE — With Election Day approaching, the political parties in town are taking steps to make an impact on local government.
The Independent Party is looking to alter the status quo this year by endorsing three candidates for Town Council.
Gary Lafferty will be running as the sole Independent Party candidate this year.
The Independent Party has announced its endorsement for Democratic candidates Paul Rinaldi and Rachael Ryan.
The party wishes to create a more transparent town government and encourage more residents to be involved in boards and commissions with this election. In Watertown, Board of Education and Town Council positions are elected. All other board and commission positions are appointed by members of the Town Council.
“We have to be proactive,” said Ms. Ryan, stating that if elected she wants to spur the Town Council to take more forward-thinking action.
She wants the town to plan for the future and think long-term when making decisions.
Mr. Lafferty said that the Independent Party is thinking outside the box when it comes to new ideas to benefit the town.
“The Town Council needs the same thinking,” he added.
If elected, Mr. Lafferty wants to open Watertown to new ideas that he has seen implemented in neighboring towns. He points out that towns like Southbury are seeing increased business and infrastructure development and that Watertown needs to actively seek similar results.
A platform the party endorses is encouraging Independents and unaffiliated voters to become involved in town government. All three candidates want to see more diverse party representation on the town’s boards and commissions. Currently, those unaffiliated cannot be appointed to a board or commission.
“[We need to] open up the talent base,” said Mr. Rinaldi. He believes that there are a lot of experienced residents in town and that they are currently being excluded from being involved because of party alignment.
The Independent Party wants to appoint members to boards and commissions based on merit and qualification, not party affiliation.
Currently the Republican Party, which has a majority on the Town Council, can appoint people to town boards and commissions and has stacked them with Republican Party members.
The Independent Party does not have any candidates for the Board of Education, but supports Democratic candidates Cheryl Albino, Jason Malagutti and Joshua Lambo.
Currently there are no Independents present on the Town Council or the Board of Education. The Independent Party hopes that this election will change that by voicing their support for a more inclusive local government.
“They will do everything they can,” said Independent Chair Richard Wick, supporting Mr. Lafferty, Ms. Ryan and Mr. Rinaldi.
The party has high hopes for election day on Tuesday, November 5 and has been working to get voters involved.
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Those interested in the Independent Party and their views may visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Political-Organization/Watertown-Oakville-CT-Independent-Party-271506013365288/.