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Vavrek, Republicans Sweep to Election Night Victories

Town Republicans won in every contested race. Voter turnout was low.

First Selectman Steve Vavrek touted improvements to town roads, a reorganized land use department and a Planning & Zoning Commission that adopted and is following a Plan of Conservation and Development with his convincing 2,671 to 1,515 victory over challenger Phyllis Kansky in Tuesday's municipal election.

"I think we moved Monroe forward," Vavrek said while celebrating with fellow Republicans at the Stone Barn Restaurant. "It was just a team effort. I think a lot of people believed in moving forward in a positive fashion."

"I can agree to disagree with how campaigns were run," he said. "I can agree to disagree with the negativity, but everything's on the right track and there's more to do. I just couldn't be prouder of this town."

Kansky, a Democrat who has served in Monroe's town government in several capacities, most recently as a Town Council member, was reached at her home.

"I want to thank all of the people who came out to support me," she said in a telephone interview. "And the Democratic Town Committee, who worked hard to get me elected."

Democrats had enjoyed a long run in holding the first selectman's seat ever since Karen Burnaska defeated Monroe's first ever first selectman, Kenneth Heitzke year ago, until Vavrek beat the late Thomas Buzi two years ago. Vavrek will now embark on a second consecutive term.

"The Democrats will put up somebody in two years, who will take back that seat, I'm sure," Kansky said.

Republican candidates won in every race that was contested and have majorities on every board and commission, including a victory by incumbent Town Treasurer Ronald Bunovsky Jr. over challenger Philip White 2,322 to 1,663.

Voting results for all positions, boards and commissions are on the Registrar of Voters page on the town website.

All six GOP Town Council candidates won seats, including Chairwoman Enid Lipeles and fellow incumbents Council Vice Chairman Tony Unger, J.P. Sredzinski and Deborah Heim. Among the new Republicans on the council are Frank Lieto and Debra Dutches.

Three Democrats won seats on the council. Among them were incumbents Dee Dee Martin and Michele Mount. Raymond Knapp Jr. will be the new face on the council from the Democratic Party, though he had been a councilman a few years ago.

Daniel Hunsberger, who had served on the Board of Finance, did not win a council seat, as well as Nicholas Kapoor and Patrick Carleton, two young Democrats running in their first campaigns.

Heim was the top vote-getter among the Town Council candidates with 2,639, one more than Lipeles, who finished with the second most.

"I'd like to thank everybody who voted for me," Heim said. "I'm really surprised about the total number of votes. I'm looking forward to working with the current Town Council and doing the best we can do for Monroe."

Three of five Planning & Zoning Commission candidates could win. Karen Martin and current chairman Richard Zini, two incumbents and the only Republicans running for the commission, both won seats.

Brian Quinn, a Democrat, won the third seat. The other two Democrats lost, including Robert Dombroski and Roger Agatston, who is currently an alternate member of the P&Z.

When asked why the GOP candidates fared so well Tuesday night, Republican Town Committee Chairman Jeffrey Guttman said, "We put out facts. We put out the truth. We don't hide behind anything misleading. We don't do what's right for Republicans, we do what's right for the town of Monroe — for every single person who lives here."

Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Patricia Ulatowski was unavailable for comment by press time.

Election Day was marked by low voter turnout and many blamed it on last week's snowstorm, which left many without power, water and phone service for a week or more.

According to the Registrars of Voters Office, 4,260 or 33.2 percent of Monroe's 12,833 registered voters participated in the election Tuesday. That compares with 41.87 percent voter turnout in the 2009 municipal election, a drop off of 8.67 percent.

Both Guttman and Vavrek thanked the voters who showed up at the polls or filled out absentee ballots, no matter who they voted for.

"I want to thank the whole Republican team for coming together and making this happen for the town of Monroe," Guttman said of his GOP slate's success. "And I want to thank Steve Vavrek for running again and for winning again and keeping his momentum going for the best of Monroe."

Vavrek said he promised to improve town infrastructure, including its crumbling roads, two years ago and that he has kept that promise. He also praised the work of Department of Public Works Dir. Douglas Arndt.

"I really want to reach out to some of the people who didn't vote for me and find out what we can do to make things better," Vavrek said.

Rounding Out the Boards

All three candidates running as P&Z alternates won, because three seats were open. Democrat Cathleen Lindstrom and Republicans Jane Benedict Flader and Sean O'Rourke are now commission alternates.

The Board of Finance had three candidate vying for three seats, including Ted Quinlan, a Democrat, and incumbent Republicans Scott Ownes and current chairman, Mark Reed.

John Ostaszewski, a Democrat, ran unopposed to fill a two-year vacancy on the Board of Finance.

Republican incumbents with positions at Town Hall, who ran unopposed, were Town Clerk Marsha Beno and Tax Collector Emanuel "Manny" Cambra.

Four candidates ran for four Board of Education seats. The next board will include incumbent Democrats Lee Reynolds Crouch and Dr. Alan Vaglivelo and incument Republican Mark Hughes. New to the board will be Guttman, who is currently a member of the Town Council.

Constables will be Pat Tomchik, a Democrat, and Victor W. Yanosy, a Republican.

Steve Kirsch November 10, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Ron, Mrs. Mount was at the special meeting this past Monday night. So, I guess when you say "NEVER", you really mean sometimes. While many of the Town Council minutes are not posted on the website (don't ask me why), those that are posted show the Mrs. Mount has attended many meetings. So maybe it is time you make accurate statements when you want to attack someone.
Ron November 10, 2011 at 10:38 PM
Steve....look up hyperbole in the dictionary. And if the Dems in this town can attack anyone at any time for any reason or no reason, so can you and so can I. By the way "many" is your hyperbole. Frankly, Town Council is more productive when she isn't there.
Mickey Spillane November 10, 2011 at 10:44 PM
@Ron - can you give me an example of how it is more productive when she is not there.
Bob Cloutier November 11, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Unfair to single out Mrs. Mount. You might not agree with what she has to say but that should not be misconstrued as being negative. The focus should be on the town leaders of both parties. If their job is to create problems where non exist, then they are doing an outstanding job. Its time to get out of attack mode and instead put an emphasis on the positive steps being taken by their respective parties. Just a thought here. I understand we are coming off an election and that mud slinging has become a integral part of each election. Voter turnout, in part, suffers when negative sentiment runs rampant in a town or within a district. I don't think it is a stretch to say that nearly 5% of the voters stay away as a result. Maybe thats a survey question that should be asked.
Ron November 11, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Disagree does not mean negative and facts are facts. Lots of reasons why people don't vote as you point out. Politics today are tame compared to most periods in our history. In the final analysis voters get what they deserve. It's called a representative democracy. Amen.

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