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Democrats, Independents win big in Guilford Board of Education race

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Before the election, Democrats held a majority on the board, with guaranteed minority party representation of four of the nine seats. The minority now includes the Independents and the one remaining Republican board member, Kristen Peck.

At a post-election celebration full of cheering and smiles, Baldwin could barely contain her excitement about her win.

“I am amazingly happy that this town came out to support us,” Baldwin said, adding she was happy voters were supporting the schools as well.

Baldwin, who has been involved with parent-teacher organizations in Guilford, said she was excited to bring that knowledge to the board. “I don’t even have words for how excited I am,” she said before more cheering broke out.

The other candidates who won seats in office included First Selectman Matthew Hoey, who ran unopposed. Incumbent Selectmen Louis Federici (5,943 votes) and Sandra Ruoff (6,094), both Democrats, and Charles Havrda (3,301) and Susan Renner (3,191), Republicans, all were on the ballot, along with Green Party challenger Justin Paglino (324).

As of Tuesday evening before polls closed, Guilford had the highest percentage voter turnout in the state with 50.62 percent showing up to the polls, according to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. By the evening, 8,255 votes were cast from Guilford’s 16,309 total voters.

Republican candidates Parents for Guilford Students — Tim Chamberlain, Danielle Scarpellino, Aly Passarelli, Nick Cusano and Bill Maisano — first began their campaign by claiming that critical race theory was being taught in Guilford Public Schools, which officials said is not happening.

“Our five republican candidates lost the BOE election. But the biggest losers are the children in Guilford,” wrote the campaign on its Facebook page just after 9:30 p.m.

The theory, developed in the 1970s, holds that racism is not just a characteristic of certain people, but is entrenched in American social and political systems, perpetuating the unequal treatment of minority groups.

The group also focused on fiscal responsibility, educational excellence, transparency and accountability and cultivating student skills.

The Protect Guilford Schools platform stated they value an honest, inclusive and equitable education for all children, support teachers and administrators, advocate for continuing science-based initiatives in support of the mental and physical well-being of students, bring the voices of constituents to the process and focus on creating efficiency.

In September, this slate beat Republican challengers, including incumbents Joseph Golino, Ted Sands and Amy Sullivan and newcomers Bill Mulligan and Jim O’Keefe with the highest primary turnout in years, according to Republican Registrar of Voters Gloria Nemchuk.

Outside A.W. Cox Elementary School Tuesday afternoon, Faulkner said she was unsure of what the next steps would be and that it would be figured out once they meet as a board, if she were elected.

“Personally, my first goal is healing as a community because it’s been a very damaging year,” Faulkner said.

Scarpellino, a Republican candidate, stood outside Calvin Leete Elementary School just past 3 p.m. She said if she were to win a seat on the Board of Education, she would be thinking about how she could reassure people.

“I am an honest, fair person,” Scarpellino said. “I would not do what they did to me when I poured my heart out to the board.”

This content was originally published here.

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