May 14, 2013
Canton, CT – The eleven towns that make up the eighth senate district in both Litchfield and Hartford counties held their biannual convention this evening to elect two members to the Republican Party’s State Central Committee. Two term representative, Rich Tutunjian of Barkhamsted won reelection to serve two more years, and new member Marianne Clark of Avon won the opportunity to serve her first term.
Both members represent Republican State Senator Kevin Witkos who holds the seat in the eighth. Witkos became a Senator after serving as a state representative in the House for two terms when first elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 2003, making his total service in elected office ten years upon completion of his recent term. Witkos was unable to attend the convention due to the legislature being in session.
All eleven towns of the eighth district sent their allotted delegates to participate in the voting process of the convention; Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby, Hartland, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury and Torrington. Simsbury’s Republican Town Committee Vice Chair Greg Piecuch chaired the event and Torrington’s Republican Town Committee Chairman Wendy Traub served as Secretary. Both Piecuch and Traub have ran for state representative seats in recent election years.
Nominating incumbent member Tutunjian, former Simsbury State Representative Rob Heagney told delegates he felt Rich was an active member who could be found at events all over the district and was a good representative for all towns who belonged to the eighth. Heagney believed he shared Republican principles such as limited and smaller government and thought Rich should continue to serve on the State Central Committee.
Seconding the nomination, Barkhamsted Republican Town Committee Chair Juliana Simone, told delegates she was proud to second Tutunjian’s nomination for three reasons: Consistency, attendance and fairness.
In terms of consistency, Simone said Rich after serving two terms or four years, was still as active today as when first elected. She observed how some newly elected state central members are initially enthusiastic and go to their district RTC meetings and events but either soon tire of the position and resign because the tasks conflicted with their schedule or the role wasn’t what they thought it would be, or they keep their membership but do less and less each year as they lose interest and motivation. Tutunjian has done neither of these, she concluded, and he has remained consistent as an active member who attends regular RTC meetings of all district towns and events throughout the state.
In terms of attendance, Simone said out of 72 state central members, Rich Tutunjian was one of fifteen members who have a 100% attendance record.
As for fairness, Simone observed Tutunjian as a super delegate at the state conventions when his endorsements were sought by candidates, he could both go with the party block who felt one particular candidate was the best choice at this time or he could choose someone to support who was not expected to win the convention but needed encouragement to run for another office in the future or needed to be recognized for their belief in the party and its principles.
Votes were cast after the nominations, and Tutunjian achieved the needed fifty percent or more determined by the Rules Committee beforehand (Brian Ladouceur, Jr. Chair of Avon; Dan Jerram, First Selectman of New Hartford and Juliana Simone Chair of Barkhamsted). 39 votes were cast in his favor: two no and one abstain from Hartland and four absent.
Nominating newcomer Marianne Clark from Avon was Avon’s Republican Town Committee Vice Chair Steve Hunt, who told delegates about when he first met his fellow RTC member at their annual committee booth where she volunteered a lot of time and then he saw her again the following year doing the same. He mentioned how often she walked the walk as a Republican by opening up her house many times for fundraisers for the party and for candidates and volunteering at election time.
Seconding her nomination was another Avon RTC member and friend, Catherine Durdan, who recited some of Clark’s Party resume that was handed out to district town committees she visited while campaigning for the state central seat when it was believed she would have a challenger. Simsbury Republican Town Committee Vice Chair, Greg Piecuch, who is an attorney, ran as a State Representative candidate in 2010, and was the proxy for one term state central member Lisa Wilson Foley, hoped to replace her upon her retirement this year.
After some discussion, it was resolved Clark would be the nominee for the current term as Piecuch, in his thirties, has plenty of time ahead of him to occupy a state central membership for the eighth district.
Durdan told delegates among her Party volunteer work, Clark is a member of the RTC nominating committee, a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission in Avon. Votes cast after the nomination resulted in Clark achieving the needed fifty percent with 37 votes cast in her favor.
Secretary Traub calculated the votes and said the majority vote was aye. Chairman Piecuch asked if there was any other business and hearing none asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.
In their acceptance speeches, each State Central member thanked those who nominated them, Senator Witkos, the delegates and various others. Rich Tutunjian and Marianne Clark also spoke about their goals and enthusiasm in representing Connecticut Republicans.
Tutunjian suggested a blog he followed to the room to use if they needed information on what public hearings or committee meetings were being held each day at the Legislative Office Building, as well as Governor Malloy’s schedule, since sometimes district members searched him out as a source for these details.
For the direct source, go to: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABulletin/Bulletin.asp
This is the actual link to the printed bulletin found in the LOB lobby where all of this information is given for the day, week and session.
Notables in attendance were former State Representatives Anne Ruwet of Torrington and Rob Heagney of Simsbury; district First Selectmen Dan Jerram of New Hartford and Mike Criss of Hartland; RTC Chairs Ron Aubel of Colebrook, Wendy Traub of Torrington, Juliana Simone of Barkhamsted, Sean Askham of Simsbury, Brian Ladouceur of Avon, and retired but long serving Torrington Chair Ann Giannattasio, as well as former state central members Mayan Antonucci and Lisa Wilson Foley who also was a lieutenant governor candidate in 2010 and fifth congressional candidate in 2012 as well as many fellow RTC officers, former officers and members. Former 2008 First Congressional candidate Joe Visconti from West Hartford was also present.
After the convention, Lisa Wilson Foley in thanks for Greg Piecuch’s service as her proxy, gave him her seat at the upcoming annual Prescott Bush dinner which she’d reserved but will not be attending. Delegates who wished to celebrate the convention results met at a nearby restaurant for food drinks and conversation.
For more photo’s: http://barkhamstedrtc.com/?p=1887