Raymond Dunbar – Board of Selectmen

    Raymond (Ray) Dunbar has provided a lifetime of service to the town of Branford and has accepted the nomination from the Branford Democratic Committee to run for Selectman. Ray’s service includes years with both the police and fire departments. He was one of Branford’s first EMTs, was a volunteer firefighter and lieutenant with Fire Co. #5. Ray worked for the police department, retiring as a Captain after 34 years of service.

    Ray’s experiences in the Police Department have provided him with a broad education in the Town and its operations. Since 1985, he has served on the boat crew that patrols Branford’s more than twenty miles of shoreline and protects the thousands of boats and boaters in the waters and harbors of Branford. Ray was also a regular presenter before the Board of Finance. In 2011 Ray was appointed the Emergency Management Director for the Town of Branford giving him the opportunity to establish a good working relationship with all town department heads. Elected as a member of the RTM, from 1997 to 2005, Ray represented the Fourth District and was elected to serve as the Moderator for his last two terms. In 2017, Ray was again elected to RTM, this time representing the Second District and he currently serves on the Administrative Services committee.

    Ray and his wife Cindy live in the Stony Creek section of Branford. They and their two daughters all graduated from the Branford school system, his daughters obtaining graduate degrees. Ray served in the U.S. Navy from 1976-80, during which he worked repairing submarines.

    Roberta Gill-Brooks – Tax Collector

    Born, raised and educated in Branford, Roberta (Bobi) is completing her 1st term as Branford’s Tax Collector. During her first term, Bobi has successfully completed 3 of the 4 required courses towards her certification with CCMC (Certified Connecticut Municipal Collector). Prior to her election as Tax Collector, Bobi worked for 31 years at AT&T in Executive Customer Service. She is a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace and is involved in many community organizations. Bobi serves on the Board of Directors for the Branford Community Foundation and for the Branford Early Childhood Collaborative. She is also a member of the New Haven Chapter of Links, Inc. Married with three sons, Bobi is the daughter of former Branford Police Chief, Robert Gill.

    Kurt Schwanfelder – Treasurer

    Kurt was an RTM First District Representative for 22 years, and during that time he held both the Majority and Minority positions as well as Chairman of the RTM Public Services Committee. He has also been a Police Commissioner, served as a member of the Board of Finance, and on the Board of Assessment Appeals. His more than 30 years of service has helped Kurt develop good relationships with town employees and leaders. Kurt is always available to listen to questions and concerns of Branford citizens and involve them in problem solving. Kurt was born and raised in Branford and has many family and business connections in the community. Kurt has been the owner and operator of Britain’s Automotive in Branford, for 46 years and he also owns and rents residential and commercial properties in town.

    Joseph Fazzino – Board of Assessment Appeals

    Since 1972, Joe has been associated with Branford as an Educator, coach and an active participant in many clubs and organizations. He has lived in town for 35 years with his wife, Michelina, and their two children, Anthony and Maria. Joe has served as a member of the Democratic Town Committee, Board of Assessors and the Board of Assessment Appeals, a position for which he is seeking another term. Branford residents are fortunate to have Joe in this role as he thoroughly acquainted himself with the assessment process by completing a four week class given by the Assessors Association where he learned how to effectively explain the assessment process to interested citizens. Joe grew up in Essex and worked as a field engineer for Digital Equipment Corp upon receiving his degree in Electrical Technology. Drafted by the U.S. Army, Joe attained the rank of SP5/E5 as a Senior Systems Analyst. After his release from the service, with the help of the G.I. Bill, Joe was able to finish his college education.

    Ellen Michaels – Board of Education

    Ellen brings extensive experience to the Board of Education. She is a retired educator after working for 37 years in two Connecticut School Districts. Her experience includes work both in and out of the classroom and at the administrative level. In Ellen’s last role as a Director of Special Education, she was responsible for over 750 special education students, more than 160 staff, and she managed over a $20 million budget. Ellen received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Adelphi University in Speech Therapy and both a Master of Science Degree in Communication Disorders and a sixth-year equivalent from Southern Connecticut State University. Ellen earned certification in Administration and Supervision. Ellen currently serves on the Board of Education and chairs the policy committee and represents the Board on the ACES Board of Directors. She was also on the Branford Board of Education for 14 months in 2014-2015. Ellen’s community interests include volunteer work as a Literacy Tutor for The Jewish Coalition for Literacy, with the Homemakers Thrift Shop, the Democratic Town Committee and as a Board member on the Branford Early Childhood Collaborative. Ellen believes we must tap into each student’s unique abilities so they become productive citizens in our ever changing and diverse world, that every student has the ability to learn and to grow and it is a school board’s responsibility to provide them with such tools in order for them to achieve and to become contributing members of our society.

    Meredith Gaffney – Board of Education

    Meredith Gaffney has been a Branford resident for almost a decade and is running for the Board of Education because she believes the education of our children is the future. As a member of the Board of Education, Meredith will work to ensure that all Branford children succeed. Her lens for equitable education comes from 30 years of social justice work. Meredith plans to promote sound policies that encourage innovation in our school system. She will be attentive to how the school budget is leveraged so the priorities of students and families are achieved. Meredith is originally from New Jersey and has spent a large part of her life living abroad working with the federal government and UNICEF. She moved to Branford for the family-centric community and school system. Meredith believes that raising a family takes a village & she is committed to making our Branford village the best that it can be.

    Claire Torelli – Representative Town Meeting, 1st District

    Claire is serving her 6th term as a member of the RTM. She serves on the Public Services committee. She previously served on the Administrative Services Committee. As the Front Office Receptionist for Branford High School, Claire cares deeply about her home town.

    Michele Sember – Representative Town Meeting, 1st District

    Michele has lived in Branford for over 20 years and was recently appointed to the RTM. She is eager to continue her service to our town and to make a positive difference in Branford. She and her husband Rob have three adult children who all went through the Branford school system. Michele is a former PTA Co-President at Mary T. Murphy School and has been a speaker at forums throughout the state of Connecticut, partnering with many political leaders to help increase awareness about the opiate crisis. Michele currently works as a Medical Secretary.

    Alisa Waterman – Representative Town Meeting, 1st District

    Alisa currently serves Branford by being a member on the Economic Development Commission where she brings her experience as a local small business owner. Alisa is interested in promoting growth of bioscience and technology companies and their presence in Branford. She is the Chief Science Officer of FreeThink Technologies, a Branford bioscience company that was recently selected as “Murphy’s Innovator of the Month” by Senator Chris Murphy. Alisa resides in Branford with her husband Ken and they are the parents of three children. She is running for the RTM in the 1st District.

    Richard Saltz – Representative Town Meeting, 1st District

    Rick is running for the RTM so that as a representative he can make a meaningful impact for our town. Rick is specifically interested in encouraging economic prosperity and promoting an environmentally friendly and sustainable community. He is concerned about the traffic flow through District 1 and would like to encourage mass transit, environmentally friendly vehicles and pedestrian/bicycle safety. Rick and his wife, Lynn moved to Branford eight years ago to be close to the shoreline. He has served Branford before when appointed by the First Selectman to the Clean Energy Ad Hoc Committee. For the last twelve years, Rick has filled the role of Chief Financial Officer at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, where, along with the fiscal responsibility for an independent school, he has managed over ten, sustainable and environmentally conscious building projects. Prior to moving to Branford, Rick and Lynn raised three children in Weston, CT where they lived for 30 years. In Weston, Rick was chair of the Democratic Town Committee, member of the Board of Finance and the Board of Police Commissioners.

    Peter Hentschel – Representative Town Meeting, District 2

    Peter Hentschel, AIA, represents District 2 on the RTM. He serves on the Rules and Ordinances Committee. A graduate of both Yale University and the Yale School of Architecture. Peter is the cofounder of Tecton Architects in Hartford, a multi-disciplinary design firm embracing new technologies. A licensed US Coast Guard ship’s Master, Peter has participated in several underwater archeological shipwreck excavations. He and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Stony Creek.

    DeeDee Hakun – Representative Town Meeting, District 2

    DeeDee has lived in Stony Creek for 27 years and has served as Assistant Democratic Registrar of the 2nd District since 2008. She has also served on the Stony Creek Association Board. After retiring from a successful career as an executive in retail, DeeDee has been active in pursuing a variety of interests; Ceramic Art, Animal Rescue and local civics.

    Peter Jackson – Representative Town Meeting, 3rd District

    Peter is serving his third term on the RTM and is on the Education Committee. A practicing architect, Peter was the Chair of the School Building Committee for the Murphy and Tisko Schools from their inception to completion. He and his wife Catherine moved to Branford in 1972 where they raised three children, all of whom attended Branford public schools.

    Linda Erlanger – Representative Town Meeting, 3rd District

    Linda represents the 3rd district on the RTM and serves on the Ways and Means committee. She is committed to helping the town of Branford address our environmental concerns, improve our community infrastructure and enhance our economic development with responsible, sensible and meaningful fiscal decisions. Linda is a long-term Connecticut resident and a Branford 3rd district homeowner for 16 years. A licensed dentist, Linda’s career has spanned a variety of work experiences including dental practice, health care plan management, project leadership and consulting. She is also a volunteer tutor in the Adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program in New Haven. Those who know Linda best describe her as thoughtful, energetic, smart, responsible, solutions-focused and dedicated to continuing her service to the 3rd district community as their representative on the RTM.

    Daniel Adelman – Representative Town Meeting, 4th District

    Dan has represented the 4th District on the RTM for two years and serves on the Rules and Ordinances committee as well as the Administrative Services Committee. His presence on the RTM was immediate as Dan cares passionately about the environment and education. Dan is the father of three adult children and his caring for children has extended to thousands of others as the former President of the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of New Haven. A Trial Attorney in private practice in New Haven, Connecticut, Dan wants to help Branford maintain it’s rural integrity while ensuring a friendly business environment for the town.

    Cynthia Lombardi – Representative Town Meeting, 4th District

    Cindy has been an active member on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) since May 2018 and is on the Branford educational committee. Cynthia proudly serves the 4th District at the RTM and is eager to continue in this role. Cynthia has seen Branford grow since she made her home here in 2003 and she wishes to continue to serve her community and have a positive impact in the town she loves living in. Cynthia earned a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing and has been working as a nurse in the greater New Haven area for 25 years.

    Shahida Soomro – Representative Town Meeting, 4th District

    Shahida moved to the United States in 2000 after being born and raised in Pakistan. She has lived in Branford for 12 years with her husband, Farhan who works for Microsoft and their 2 sons; the oldest, a student at UCONN and youngest, a student at Walsh Intermediate School. Shahida moved to Branford because of the school system, train station, and diverse population. She has been active with the Food Allergy Network and was on the planning committee for the Branford Hill Park opening celebration. Shahida’s interest in running for the RTM is to promote partnership and community. She is currently serving on the RTM as an appointed member. Shahida has a B.S in Computer Science and Post- Baccalaureate in Health Information Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She works as a HIM Coordinator at the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center.

    Kathi Traugh – Representative Town Meeting, District 5

    Kathi was appointed to fill a 5th District vacancy on the RTM in March 2019 and is running for election so she can continue to serve. She has lived on the CT shoreline for over 20 years, and was drawn to Indian Neck neighborhood by its charm and walkability. While a newcomer to Branford, Kathi comes to the RTM with plenty of experience in local government, having served on the Board of Selectmen and other boards and commissions in Madison, CT. She is driven to elected office by a strong desire to see town government be effective and responsive to the people. Her interest areas are long range planning, protecting the environment and government transparency. Kathi works at the Yale School of Public Health in continuing education and is the proud parent of three adult children and two grandchildren.

    Laura Noe – Representative Town Meeting, 5th district

    A Branford resident for 16 years, Laura Noe (pronounced No-ee) is the creator of the First Amendment Wall at the Blackstone Library. The wall invites the community to have an open conversation about freedom of speech and provides chalk and free pocket constitutions. Her intent was to create a space where opposing opinions could exist together. The origins of this idea came to her after seeing how polarized the country had become. A single mom since 2006, Laura started traveling the world with her son, Hudson, when he was 7-years old. In 2015, she published Travels with My Son: Journeys of the Heart, a non-fiction book which recounted their adventures to four continents and her efforts to raise her son to be open-minded, open-hearted, and to cultivate empathy so he could become a citizen of the world. Laura also authored Tree Man, a book that details her brother Ed’s journey with homelessness, and how his connection with nature, and trees specifically, played a vital role in his healing and reconnection with family. Laura is a member of the Branford Green committee and is on the board for the Branford Early Childhood Collaborative. Laura is a frequent visitor to the town beaches, trails and open spaces and is interested in maintaining Branford’s seaside charm while making it affordable and accessible for all income levels. Laura spent 22 years in the high-speed corporate world in New York City and is now works for the town of Clinton.

    Tracy Everson – Representative Town Meeting, 5th District

    Tracy Everson is looking forward to meeting her neighbors and listening to constituents in Branford’s 5th District as she runs for her first elected office, a seat on the RTM. Her award-winning career as a journalist for 23 years focused primarily on covering politics in Westchester County, New York. In 2009, she changed course, doing communications work for two powerhouse female elected officials, a District Attorney (now Chief Judge in NYS) and a State Senator (now Senate President and Majority Leader). Family ties and aging parents brought her home to Branford year-round in 2017; her family has summered in the Thimble Islands for four generations and she was baptized in town. Tracy is now a licensed agent at Century 21 AllPoints Realty. She is a member of the Branford Democratic Town Committee, serves as Vice-President/Membership Chair of the Friends of the Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library, as First Vice-President of the Thimble Islands Association, as a liaison from the Thimble Islands Association to the Stony Creek Association, and as a member of a Coastal Vulnerability Working Group. Tracy brings a fresh voice and a new perspective to issues in town, and looks forward to contributing even more to the community.

    Nancy McCormack – Representative Town Meeting, 6th District

    Nancy is running for a seat on the RTM in the 6th District. She previously served as the first female Democratic Moderator of the RTM in the late 90s. Nancy was born and raised in New Haven and moved to Branford when she purchased her first home in 1978. She is the mother of one daughter, who was educated in the Branford public school system. Nancy is a Chief Probation Officer with the State of CT Judicial Dept. and has been employed by them since 1990. She holds a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Criminal Justice Management. Nancy is environmentally conscious and has a great appreciation for the Police & Fire Depts. and the public school system in Branford.

    Chris Sullivan – Representative Town Meeting, 6th District

    Chris has served on the RTM for ten years – as Moderator, R+O Chairman, and most recently, Minority Leader. He is on the Rules and Ordinances committee. The father of two daughters who attend Mary T Murphy School and the husband of a science teacher at Walsh Intermediate School, Chris cares deeply about the environment. As an RTM member, he successfully spearheaded the efforts to protect Branford from fracking waste. Chris currently works as an environmental analyst dealing with water quality issues with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

    Chad Edgar – Representative Town Meeting, 6th District

    Chad Edgar moved to Branford in 2016. While relatively new to Branford, Chad grew up on the Shoreline (East Lyme) and has happily returned to his home state to raise two children with his wife and hopefully practice law at a less frantic pace than was the case in New York City. Chad views himself as relentlessly pragmatic and aims to find “win win” compromises in most situations, including the fundamental challenge of the next few decades for all small towns along the Shoreline: balancing rational growth against concerns for sustainability. Towns like Branford must grow in diverse ways in order to attract and retain talent but in a manner that assures careful stewardship of the environment. Also, as an ex-teacher, a parent and surrounded by public school teachers at all of his family reunions, Chad is particularly focused on assuring that Branford children receive a robust education that not only imparts knowledge but good citizenship.

    Tom Brockett – Representative Town Meeting, 7th District

    A lifelong Branford resident, Tom has shared his love of baseball with thousands of Branford’s children as a coach, umpire and President of Branford Little League. He presently serves on the RTM, representing the 7th District, where he was elected clerk, and is a member of two committees; Ways and Means and Public Services. A graduate of Wesleyan University and UCONN Law School, Tom is a retired labor lawyer. Tom served our country in Vietnam and as a Veteran is a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

    Donna Laich – Representative Town Meeting, 7th District

    Donna and her husband Bryan moved to Branford 18 years ago. She is a passionate environmentalist and is eager to work on issues that will preserve Branford’s shoreline beauty and sustainability. Donna recently retired from the Wallingford school system where she spent 35 years working as a teacher, school psychologist, and coach. In 2010 Donna was named “Teacher of the Year” at Mark T. Sheehan High School.

    Chuck Tiernan – Constable

    Chuck Tiernan is a 1976 graduate of Branford High School and lifelong Branford resident. At Branford High School, Chuck was a two sport athlete lettering in baseball and football and co-captain of the football team his senior year. After graduation in 1976, Chuck attended Trinity College in Hartford where he was elected captain of the football team his senior season. Chuck graduated in the spring of 1980 with a B.A in Political Science. Shortly after graduation, Tiernan enrolled at the Drake University School of Law in Des Moines, Iowa where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Drake Law Review which published an article he authored. He received his Juris Doctorate in December of 1982, and on May 2, 1983 he was admitted to the State of Connecticut Bar. Since 1983, Chuck has been employed at the New Haven law firm, Lynch, Traub, Keefe, and Errante and became a partner in 1988. Chuck is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. He has been voted to be included in the publication “Best Lawyers in America” since 2007 and has been listed in the “Super Lawyers” publication since 2006. Chuck has received a Judicial Appointment to serve as a member of the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District Grievance Panel of the Connecticut Grievance Committee several times throughout his legal career. Chuck previously taught law courses for over 15 years as an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University. On May 22, 2019, Chuck was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont to serve on the Connecticut State Judicial Selection Commission. On June 17, 2019, Chuck was elected Chairman of the Judicial Selection Commission. Over the years, Chuck has been a volunteer soccer coach as part of the Branford soccer league. In 2011, Chuck was inducted into the Branford Sports Hall of Fame. Chuck and his wife Marie raised their son Jack in Branford and are parishioners of Branford’s St. John Bosco parish.

    Francis Walsh – Constable

    Fran currently serves as Constable and is most willing to do so again. Previously, he was elected to 5 terms as Branford’s Second Selectman in the administration of Unk DaRos. For 34 years, Fran worked as a teacher and administrator in the Branford Public Schools, retiring in 1994. The Walsh Intermediate School is named in Fran’s honor to recognize his contributions to the Branford School system and community.

    John O’Connor – Constable

    Married 53 years to Jean Charlotte O’Connor, John and his wife have two adult sons that attended Branford Public Schools K-12, two daughters in laws, and four teenage grandchildren. Growing up John was a summer resident of Branford and became a full time resident 53 years ago. He earned his undergraduate degree, Masters and Sixth Year Certification from Southern CT State University. Presently John is serving as Vice Chairman of the Branford Board of Education, spent many years on the Branford Human Services Board and is the past president of the CT High School Coaches Association. His professional career spanning over 33 years, included several years as a middle school teacher and 25 years as the School Psychologist at Branford HS and Walsh Intermediate. Also as the Branford HS swim coach for 32 years, John was recognized as CT coach of the year numerous times, five time New England coach of the year and in 2007 was named National swim coach of the Year. Has been inducted into Branford’s Sports and Education Hall of Fames and CT Coaches HOF. John believes the town of Branford, the Branford Public School system and the diverse students that attend are the best you could ask for, and he is proud to live in Branford.

    Ronald Washington – Constable

    Ron Washington and his two brothers and sisters all attended Branford schools with Ron graduating from Branford High School in the Class of 1972. A Branford native, he played football for BHS, was named to the All-State Team and is a member of the Branford Sports Hall of Fame.

    Between 1983 and 1999 he was a patrol officer for the Branford Police Department, charged with the enforcement of state statutes and town ordinances, protecting the lives and property of residents and visitors. His duties included daily interactions with citizens and diffusing stressful situations. He was also part of the Special Response Team, which was called out for extreme situations. In 1999 he was promoted to the rank of Detective/Youth Officer, a position he held until 2013. He maintained all juvenile records and investigated criminal cases against children from inception to conclusion. He also dealt with the office of the New Haven State’s Attorney, Department of Children and Families, Department of Probation and various other local police departments. For twenty-nine years, Ron Washington served to protect his community and helped to educate its children, earning their trust, respect and admiration.