Hamden Democrats face changes as winds of change blow

State Representative Michael D'Agostino addresses the committee

State Representative Michael D'Agostino addresses the committee

By Rob McGreevy

The Hamden Democratic Town Committee met on Tuesday night in Hamden Public Library’s senior center to begin its spring session and to welcome newly elected committee members.

According to the chairman of the Hamden Democratic Town Committee, Lew Panzo, the committee welcomed 23 newly elected members. Some incumbent members said that number was even higher.

Whether it was 23 or more than half of the 63 members as some suggested, this is an unusually high turnover for the committee.

“Our body here was an older body of people who served here for 25-30 years and it was time for a change for some of them,” Panzo said.

The meeting was full of young people, and the loudest and most active voices in the crowd all belonged to newly elected members.

The committee didn’t reach a quorum and therefore was unable to conduct official business, but there were still plenty of opportunities for members to ask questions and voice opinions.

Connecticut state senator Martin Looney attended and briefed the room on the party’s status in the town, as well as the state.

He spoke about the senate’s general agenda and how it was going to act on certain matters, as well as what the Hamden Democratic Town Committee could do to help.

After Looney spoke, Panzo allowed a number of speakers who were either running for elected office, or had opened an exploratory committee to do so, to speak to the room. The group included Connecticut state representative Michael D’Agostino, who is running for attorney general.

The group also included two prominent Connecticut democrats -- both vying for the same elected office.

Susan Bysiewicz announced she had opened an exploratory committee to run for governor. Her political resume includes 12 years as secretary of state. She spoke at length on major Connecticut issues, including establishing a pay equity law, infrastructure and especially tolls.

The other candidate for Governor was young Hartford mayor Luke Bronin.

Bronin is a former aide to maligned Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. He lasered in on fixing Connecticut’s budget issues, while also brushing upon the base Connecticut Democratic issues that his opponent did – taxes, tolls, infrastructure, etc.

The HDTC gives these candidates a platform to reach Democrats in places they may not have been able to otherwise.

“Especially in an election year we have so many candidates running they will generally invite candidates to attend town committee meetings so they can present their case,” Looney said.

The HDTC did not have enough members to conduct its affairs, but going forward the newly elected members will be officially members at the committees next meeting on March 12.

Panzo seemed hopeful toward the new and exciting future of the Hamden Democratic Town Committee.

“It’s good to see this new influx of young people,” said Panzo, “that’s what this party needs, it needs to be revitalized.”

Looking ahead Panzo says that Hamden has always followed along with the state’s Democratic platform, “but there’s talk about us writing our own platform” -- something that Panzo said will probably take place this year.

What will that platform look like?

“God only knows,” Panzo said.