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Local Westport Democrats win Board of Education, retain two other boards

Graphic by Henry Watson ’25
While every local race for each commission and board were important, much attention was paid to the Board of Education’s (BOE) candidates this election cycle–with particular focus on how voters would react to the new campaign priorities by Republicans. In the previous 2021 election cycle, the Republican candidates for the BOE captured 42.77%. This year, they achieved 18.81% of the vote.

The local Democratic party and Board of Education (BOE) write-in candidate Jill Dillon, won a resounding victory in Westport on Nov. 7, 2023. The Democratic party won a majority of the available seats on the town’s major boards and commissions.

“It was a fantastic night for Democrats,” Westport Board of Finance chairman Danielle Dobin said to Patch. “I’m very grateful for the widespread support at all the polling places.”

Democratic incumbents Lee Goldstein and Neil Phillips were the party’s biggest local winners for the 2023 election cycle, gathering 6,392 and 6,361 votes for seats on Westport’s school board.

On the Republican side, candidates won seats on the Board of Finance as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission, but saw their two nominees for the BOE–Camilo Riano and Jamie Fitzgerald–gain only around 2,100 votes, against their three opponents average of 6,000.

If you’re going to care about your kids, you have to care about all the kids.

— write-in candidate Jill Dillon

Fitzgerald and Riano focused their BOE campaign on issues like graphic books in children’s libraries and concerns over practices Westport’s teachers engaged in with students, such as inquiring about pronouns.

“[Asking children their pronouns] is unacceptable,” Camilo Riano said to 06880. “We should not just blindly trust ideologically motivated activists who have been ignoring what the administration told them.”

In contrast, Democratic candidates, and especially write-in candidate Jill Dillon had focused their BOE campaign’s primarily on budgeting, redistricting and focusing on ensuring students’ social-emotional well-being. 

“If you’re going to care about your kids, you have to care about all the kids,” Dillon said to CTInsider.

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About the Contributor
Henry Watson ’25
Henry Watson ’25, Paper News Editor
News Editor Henry Watson ’25 has an unique interest: the stock market.  “I have a strong interest in the stock market and people who contribute to this country,” Watson said. “When I grow up I want to work for a pension fund managing money for state workers.” Watson has embraced this passion along with others.  “In my free time I like to stock trade, draw or sketch,” Watson said.  Watson joined Inklings originally to keep up with news.  “I joined Inklings because I like reading the news,” Watson said. “Many of my hobbies involve reading the news to stay well-informed.” 

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