Republican take control of the Board of Education

Published on Thursday, 7 November 2019 17:04


BRISTOL – Allison Wadowski has won a seat on the Board of Education, solidifying Republican control for the next two years.

On election night Wadowski was ahead by 30 votes. A recount at City Hall Thursday determined she actually drew 23 votes more than Democratic incumbent Karen Hintz.

A total of five Republicans and four Democrats were elected to the board this time, divided between two-year and four-year terms. The Republicans are incumbents Jen Dube and Kristen Giontonio, and newcomers Eric Carlson, John Sklenka, and Wadowski. The Democrats are incumbents Chris Wilson, Thomas O’Brien, Karen Vibert and newcomer Shelby Pons.

Hintz had attended her last meeting as part of the board the night before. At that time she said she did not anticipate the recount would change anything so she paid tribute to everyone she had served with on the board.

“I feel like I have learned so much and built lifelong friendships,” she said. “It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth it.”

She especially thanked the school district employees.

“Every four years we all are tasked with taking a group of well-intentioned citizens who know virtually nothing about how to run a school district, but firmly believe that they can fix things. I was one of them. We all get in here, we learn that we don’t know much. Moving a school district is like steering a cruise ship, it’s very slow going, it’s arduous, but the staff here makes it worth it. They extend such grace and such patience and such dedication to getting us up to speed so I thank you all for that,” she said.

With the top four vote getters winning seats on the board, the final results for the two-year terms are:

Democrats: Wilson, 5,685; O’Brien, 5,641; Hintz, 5,477.

Republicans: Carlson, 5,714; Wadowski, 5,500; Michael LaFleur, 5,226.

With the top five vote getters winning seats, the results for the four-year terms are:

Democrats: Vibert, 5,582; Pons, 5,490; Morris Rippy Patton, 5,354.

Republicans: Dube, 5,768; Giantonio, 5,594; Sklenka, 5,567.

The unusual division of board members into four-year and two-year terms stems from a Charter Revision Commission recommendation back in 2013 to limit the board members to two four-year terms each, starting with the 2015 election. Voters approved the changes at referendum in 2013.

That in turn led to a concern that eventually all nine board members could be term limited at the same time, resulting in a whole new, totally inexperienced group coming on the board at once and facing a steep learning curve.

So last year the commission came up with the staggered term alternative, with alternate groups of board candidates coming up for election to four-year terms every two years. For that to work, this year some of the candidates had to run for a two-year term.

Inauguration for all this year’s election winners will be Monday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., at Bristol Central High School in the auditorium.

A recount earlier in the day for the City Council District 3 seat declared Brittany Barney as the winner, with a total of 1,613 votes, versus Cheryl Thibeault’s 1,608.

As of Election Night Barney was ahead by just one vote.

State law requires a recount if the difference between the candidates is less than 20 votes or less than 0.5% of the total number of votes cast for the office.

Barney joins fellow Democrat Mary Fortier as the top two vote getters for the third district. Fortier got 1,874 votes, Republican Camerin Crowal got 1,389, and write in candidate Ajmal Mehdi got 1.

The final result for Council District 3 means for her second term Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu will be working with a council where all six seats are occupied by her fellow Democrats.

For more information on the ballot results, visit

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Thursday, 7 November 2019 17:04. Updated: Friday, 8 November 2019 09:29.