MONROE, CT — Probate Judge T.R. Rowe swore Terry Rooney in as Monroe’s next first selectman inside the Council Chambers of Monroe Town Hall during an inauguration ceremony for all of the town’s newly elected municipal candidates Monday night.
The former town councilman, who will succeed fellow Republican Ken Kellogg, beat his Democratic Party challenger Jerry Stevens by 185 votes in a closely contested race. In his first speech as Monroe’s town leader, Rooney spoke of unity.
“Thank you Monroe citizens. I am honored and humbled to stand here as your new first selectman,” he said from the podium. “I want to thank you for your trust and support in this election. As individuals, we may differ in our views. However, we share a common love for Monroe and its people.”
“Folks we may have differences of opinion and perspectives, however we also have a lot in common,” Rooney said. “We have a shared passion, shared purpose and destiny of Monroe. We are not just neighbors, we are family. We are not just a town, we are a team.”
“As your first selectman, I pledge to serve you with honesty, integrity and transparency,” he said. “I pledge to listen and learn from you. I pledge to work harder, smarter and together. I am proud of our team. I am proud of our accomplishments.”
After the ensuing Town Council meeting, Rooney made a point to walk up to the three Democrats who serve to shake their hands.
Acting Democratic Town Committee Chairman Fred Martin said, “though we were disappointed in the election outcome, we Democrats accept the outcome of elections and congratulate all of the successful candidates. We look forward to holding the Republicans to their commitment to serve the best interests of the town we all love.”
‘Big shoes to fill’
Among the family members attending the ceremony were Rooney’s wife Nadine and father, Brian, a retired Bridgeport fire chief.
“I’m very proud of him. I really am,” Nadine said during a reception in the Town Hall lobby afterward. “I know he’s going to do the best he can for Monroe.”
“I’m very proud of him,” Brian Rooney said of his son. “I know it was a tough campaign, a very long campaign. I know he’ll do a great job.” Brian added with a smile, “he better. I’ll stay on him for keeping taxes lower.”
He said his family is also proud of all of the newly elected officials and members of town boards and commissions.
Kellogg, who decided not to seek a fourth-consecutive term, also attended the ceremony, along with State Rep. Tony Scott, R-Monroe.
“I congratulate Terry and all of the elected officials,” Kellogg said. “It’s great to see the inauguration ceremony. I feel very positive about the future of Monroe. We have great people in Monroe to step up and serve.”
“Firstly, I want to say thank you to Ken for his service,” Scott said. “It’s been a great six years for the town of Monroe. He’s not been just my first selectman. He’s been a great friend. Terry has big shoes to fill, but he has great people in Town Hall and great people on boards and commissions in town to lean on.”
Scott brought lapel pins with the town of Monroe’s seal to hand out to candidates winning their first terms of office.
“It’s always an honor for me to carry on the tradition of former state representative, JP Sredzinski,” Scott said. “It’s an honor to give the pins to these elected officials to show they’re truly representing the town of Monroe. I look forward to working with them as much as possible the next two years.”
Oaths of office
During the inauguration, Boy Scout Troop 63 performed a flag ceremony and led attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and Masuk student, Virginia Grabovsky sang the “Star Spangled Banner”.
David York served as master of ceremonies, welcoming everyone and giving the invocation and the benediction.
Newly elected members of the Board of Education were sworn in before the ceremony, because they had to attend a special meeting Monday night. Those winning new terms were Republicans Greg Beno and David H. Ferris Jr., and Democrats Chrissy Fensore Martinez and Alan Vaglivelo.
On Monday, Rowe swore in Town Clerk Vida Stone (R), Tax Collector Deborah Heim (R), Treasurer Frank Dutches (R) and constables Vic Yanosy (R) and Pat Tomchik (D).
Town Council members include Enid Lipeles (R), Sean O’Rourke (R), Kevin Reid (R), Dona-Lyn Wales (R), Jonathan Formichella (R), Vincent A. Duva (R), Jason Maur (D), Cathy Kohut (D) and Janice Persico (D).
Planning and Zoning Commission: Leon Ambrosey (D), Ryan Condon (R) and Bruno Maini (R).
Planning and Zoning Alternates: Nicole Lupo (R), Domenic Paniccia (D) and Dominic Smeraglino III (R).
Board of Finance: Steve Kirsch (D), Rebecca O’Donnell (R), Nicholas Sentementes (R), Samantha Spino (D) and Katherine Stauffer (R).
Below is the full transcript of First Selectman Terry Rooney’s inaugural address:
Thank you Monroe citizens. I am honored and humbled to stand here as your new first selectman. I want to thank you for your trust and support in this election. As individuals we may differ in our views. However, we share a common love for Monroe and its people.
I am proud to call Monroe my home. I was raised and lived here most of my life. I raised my family here and I have seen Monroe grow and change over the last five decades.
I’ve observed Monroe’s challenges and successes. Both its joys and sorrows. I see its potential and its promise. This town has given me so much and I’m highly motivated to give back to it as your first selectman.
As your first selectman, I have a vision for this town, a vision that is safe, prosperous and inclusive. I look forward to working with our Town Council and Board of Finance, both existing and newly elected, and many people on boards and commissions in creating the best direction for Monroe always.
I welcome the advice of our town directors whom I have spent many hours with discussing initiatives and budget expenditures for the last two weeks. I envision continuing together a town that respects its history and embraces its future. A town that provides quality education, safe neighborhoods and quality services for its residents. A town that supports its local businesses, farmers and work force. A town that protects its environment, culture and heritage. A town that’s a model of democracy, civility and community.
To achieve this vision, I need your help. I can’t do this alone. I need your ideas, feedback, participation and cooperation. I need you to be engaged, informed and involved. Together we can keep this town a healthy and vibrant community for us and our children.
I know we have a lot of work to do. I know we face many challenges, but challenges create opportunities. I stand here today proudly knowing the success of our team.
Our team has delivered improved and expanded park facilities and services, kept taxes under one percent per year for the last six years, delivered a newly renovated and expanded EMS facility, has restructured land use and now has a business-friendly environment, maintained a AAA bond rating, maintained Blue Ribbon schools, maintained safe roads, gave more tax credits to seniors and veterans, and now we have a community center on the horizon with the upcoming purchase of St. Jude School.
Folks we may have differences of opinion and perspectives, however we also have a lot in common. We have a shared passion, shared purpose and destiny of Monroe. We are not just neighbors, we are family. We are not just a town, we are a team.
As your first selectman, I pledge to serve you with honesty, integrity and transparency. I pledge to listen and learn from you. I pledge to work harder, smarter and together. I am proud of our team. I am proud of our accomplishments.
Again, I am humbled and honored for have your trust to continue to move Monroe forward. Thank you everyone for your attention and thank you Monroe.
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