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Dems Nominate Tony Saccone for Mayor

Gales Ferry Fire Chief Making His First Political Run

At a party caucus Monday night Ledyard Democrats nominated Gales Ferry Fire Chief Tony Saccone as their candidate for mayor. It will be Saccone's first foray into politics, a move he said he has considered for about two years.

But it was only a couple of nights ago that Saccone formally made the decision to throw in his hat, and even at the start of the caucus Monday his plans were still unknown to many in the room.

Nominating Committee Chairman Kenneth Koe announced Saccone's candidacy, citing his background as a civil service firefighter at the U.S. Submarine Base and, after retiring as captain from the Base, as chief of the Gales Ferry Fire Co. for more than three years.

"His work experience has included supervising volunteers as well as paid employees, and he has negotiated with unions," Koe said. "He told us about several money-saving initiatives that he introduced into the fire department operations. He is a team player, and has made a favorable impression on everyone on the DTC Nominating Committee."

Saccone joins a four-man race for mayor that includes incumbent Republican Mayor Fred B. Allyn Jr., who is running as a petitioning candidate, GOP-endorsed John Rodolico, and petitioning candidate Robert Lawrence.

Saccone has lived in Gales Ferry for the past 23 years. He and his wife, Noreen, have four children. 

State Rep. Tom Reynolds, D-42nd, was on hand to offer his support to Saccone, someone he has known and worked with for several years, he said.

"I don't know that I've met a more professional, more honest, more hard-working, more ethical public servant than Tony Saccone," Reynolds said. "I feel honored that we will have him to support and to work for this fall."

Democrats also nominated a slate of candidates for Town Council and Board of Education. 

For Council: Mary McGrattan, Bill Saums, Sharon Wadecki, Naomi Rodriquez and Ed Monahan.

For Board of Education: Sharon Hightower, Michelle Hinton, Stephanie Calhoun, John Phetteplace, Rebecca Graebner and Ted Nunes.

Saccone, whose retirement job is in maintenance at Ledyard Senior Housing, said he feels he has the time now to devote to the mayor's job. Asked his top priority should he be elected, he said it would be holding the line on taxes.

"And moving the town forward," he said, "keeping Ledyard safe for our kids to grow up in a safe town."

Saccone said his experience in the emergency services affords him a special insight on volunteerism and recruiting volunteers, something he said is vital to small towns like Ledyard.

"Eighty percent of the firefighters in Connecticut are volunteers, so we need to keep drawing on that resource -- not just for the emergency services, but also for town government and a range of other services," he said.

Saccone said he's been a political watcher for many years. "Just in the past couple years I've been thinking about getting into town politics, mostly because I enjoy the public service aspect," he said.

This will be his first political campaign. "I jumped right in there, didn't I," he said.

Democratic Town Councilor Bill Saums said he was thrilled by Saccone's nomination.

"There's been a lot of discussion about whether the Democrats would put a candidate forward," he said. "We decided that the most important job a political party has is to put candidates forward so that the voters can decide. 

"I've been saying all along I wanted a candidate we could stand behind, not just a name, and tonight we got that person."

Edee Smith July 26, 2011 at 03:09 AM
No political experience. Has never been involved in town politics but he thinks he can run the town. Another Hope and Change candidate
Tom Wadecki July 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Tony has had his share of politics. He leads a volunteer fire company. He is congenial and he is a leader. He will build consensus. Perhaps Mayor Allyn will decide to not run now since the voters have three distinct choices, notwithstanding Allyn. He can gracefully bow out, instead of running under the guise that he is giving the voters a choice. Did anybody really believe him that that was why he was running?
Sharon Pealer July 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM
It's really too bad that the voters won't have as much choice from the ballots for board of ed and town council. The same names run year after year offering no choice so that new ideas can be brought into town. Isn't it sad that these two boards are run by both political parties as closed clubs!
Kenneth Koe July 26, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Commenting for the Nominating Committee of the DTC, half of the Democratic candidates are new volunteers with fresh ideas. Incumbent candidates are valued for their experience. The Democratic Town Committee works hard to select the best candidates to run, but once they are elected, we rely solely on their intelligence, integrity, and insight to do what is best for the townspeople and children of Ledyard.
Tom Wadecki July 26, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Is Sharon Pealer throwing her name in the ring for one of these boards? She only needs 32 names on her petition. I guess it's just easier to criticize than be part of the solution.
Susie Mendenhall July 26, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Like the DTC, the RTC this year is putting forward a Town Council and BOE slate made up of nearly 50% new candidates interested in serving our town. Maybe persons who constantly criticize, should step up and volunteer their time--be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Edee Smith July 26, 2011 at 08:53 PM
leading a volunteer fire department does not make you qualified. I ran a deparment and I am now involved in politics it is a whole difference world. You were probably one of those that thought Palin was not qualified but Obama was. How's that hope and change working out for you. Have you seen the gas prices, the housing market worse than ever, food prices, building supplies, etc. We already have in Ct the highest property taxes in the country, do we need them higher. As I see it change means higher taxes. Let's move more people out of the area and the state. Obama, Malloy, now maybe Saccone how wonderful.
Edee Smith July 26, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Sharon is already volunteering her time with the tea party (real hope). She is very much involved.
Sharon Pealer July 26, 2011 at 09:18 PM
I am not going to volunteer my name to be slung in the mud as I have seen happen with others who run independently in this town. I have done time as a volunteer in the past; spending two years working as a classroom volunteer at one of the schools. I am one of those voters that both parties need to earn the trust of because I am unaffiliated in party designation.
mike campbell July 27, 2011 at 06:39 PM
how do i get a saccone for mayor yard sign?
Carol Ort August 09, 2011 at 11:27 AM
I'd like one of those signs as well, Mike...and I don't even live in Ledyard!! I've known Tony for many years and there isn't a better man for the job!

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