Meet the Candidates: Cromwell City Council

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CROMWELL – There are eight candidates vying for city council on election day.

Outgoing Democratic candidates Al Waters and James Demetriades, as well as Republicans Jack Henehan, Steve Fortenbach and Jennifer Donohue (deputy mayor).

Their challengers are Democrats Paula Luna and Charles Epstein, and Republican Lou Menendez.

Hearst Connecticut Media has asked Democratic and Republican city committees to ask their candidates to complete a brief survey on their background and why they are running for office.

Here are the survey responses received by the October 14 deadline:


Al Waters

Age: 78

Current job / employer: Retirement

The main issue you will tackle if you are elected: Economic development; keep taxes online.

Other issues that you think are important: Want to keep the morale of city employees where it belongs

Tell us about your family: Married for 55 years to his wife Lori, three grown children and five grandchildren.

Elective offices held or community groups involved in: Board of Selectman, Town Council, American Legion, Economic Development Commission, Capital Expenditure Commission, Cromwell Historical Society, Cromwell Outboard Association

Why are you looking for a public office? : Because I care about the city and the people of the city.

Lou menendez

Age: 58

Current job / employer: I work as a subcontractor as well as a Middlesex County State Marshal. I am also an entrepreneur in an energy consulting firm.

The main issue you will tackle if you are elected: Ongoing fiscal responsibility

Other issues that you think are important: Some of the recent local crime issues

Tell us about your family: Married with two daughters both in college

Elective offices held or community groups involved in: More currently, member of the Board of Directors of the Education Council

Why are you looking for a public office? : The simplest answer is to give back: it’s easy to do nothing.

Paula luna

Age: 73

Current job / employer: Retirement.

The main issue you will tackle if you are elected: Promote economic development

Other issues that you think are important: Continue to support our local businesses in the city

Tell us about your family: I have two grown sons, one of whom is a chef in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the other is a corporate pilot who resides in Middletown.

Elective offices held or community groups involved in: Cromwell Co-op Nursery School, Parks and Recreation Commission, Seniors Services Commission.

Why are you looking for a public office? : I hope to continue to give back to Cromwell in return for everything he has given me.

Jennifer donohue

Age: 52

Current job / employer: Health insurance; Quality improvement

The main issue you will tackle if you are elected: Maintaining a fixed thousandth rate

Other issues that you think are important: Improving education and community infrastructure

Tell us about your family: My husband Bob shares my passion and my involvement in the community. My children and I have shared similar experiences with Cromwell Public Schools and community activities. They embraced my urge to volunteer. We all hope that our contributions will make our community a better place to live.

Elective offices held or community groups involved in: City Council, Capital Expenditure Commission, Redevelopment Agency, Regional Mental Health Council.

Why are you looking for a public office? : I seek to have the privilege of serving my fellow community members and ensuring that our city continues to thrive while remaining an affordable, safe and welcoming city for all residents, businesses and visitors.

Steve fortenbach

Age: 44

Current job / employer: State of Connecticut

The main issue you will tackle if you are elected: I hope to continue with responsible budgets.

Other issues that you think are important: The safety and security of our community

Tell us about your family: Wife Lori and daughters Abby and Olivia

Elective offices held or community groups involved in: St. John’s CCD teacher. Cromwell High School strengthens community bonding and is currently a member of City Council.

Why are you looking for a public office? : I want to do what’s best for our community and always have the best interests of all residents in mind.

Campaign website:
facebook.com/cromwellgop

Jack Henehan

Age: 72

Current job / employer: Self employed

The main issue you will tackle if you are elected: Conditions of Edna C. Stevens School and Cromwell Colleges

Other issues that you think are important: A senior / community center and economic development of the river sector

Tell us about your family: Moved to Cromwell in mid-1980s, married to Marcy, with two grown children raised in Cromwell who enjoyed upbringing and athletic choices, and a silly dog

Elective offices held or community groups involved in: Financial Council, 11 years (chairman, five); two years on City Council, Boy Scout Leader, Baseball Coach, Baseball / Football Booster

Why are you looking for a public office? : I really enjoy helping to develop and implement the strategies that will move Cromwell forward. There are always challenges (money, space, time) that will have to be overcome. As a small business owner, I am constantly working with various challenges.

I get real satisfaction from being part of the process and the solution. The Cromwell community has supported me, and I want to do my best to continue to support the community.


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