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Republicans Win Majority on Finance Board, P&Z

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport voters looking for a change on the Board of Finance and Planning and Zoning Commission got what they wanted. Unofficial results from Tuesday's municipal elections show that the Republicans won three of the four open seats on the Board of Finance and four of four seats on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

This means Republican Board of Finance candidates Michael Rea, John Pincavage and incumbent Tom Lasersohn will join fellow Republican Avi Kaner on the board, giving the Republicans a 4-3 majority.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will have a 4-3 Republican majority as voters selected Catherine Walsh, Jack Whittle, Al Gratrix and Chip Stephens.

"What we have tonight is a historic moment," Rea said as he addressed the crowd at the Republican Town Committee headquarters. "We on the Board of Finance and Planning and Zoning Commission have been chosen by the voters for the job, and we must rise to the occasion. And we'll do it."

In the Board of Finance race, five candidates ran for the four seats. Democrat Janis Collins won the fourth seat over Democrat incumbent Ken Wirfel. Official results show Collins received 3,419 votes; Wirfel, 3,200 votes; Rea, 3,821 votes; Pincavage, 3,670 votes; and Lasersohn, 3,621 votes.

Although she won a seat on the board, Collins called her win bittersweet.

"I have to say I'm very excited to have the opportunity to help solve some of the fiscal problems facing our town, but I'm sad that Ken Wirfel will not be on the board," she said. "Ken brings a lot of experience and value to the board."

Five candidates ran for the Planning and Zoning Commission. Joining the four Republican candidates in the race was lone Democrat Jennifer Johnson. Official results show Johnson received 3,166 votes; Whittle, 3,858 votes; Gratrix, 3,660 votes; Stephens, 3,789 votes; and Walsh, 4,082 votes.

"We ran as a team. Never once did you hear anyone of us say 'Vote for me.' We did it together and we'll deliver," Whittle told supporters Tuesday night.

Although the Republicans will have the majority on the finance board and Planning and Zoning Commission, the Democrats will continue to have the majority on the Board of Education. Of the four candidates running for three seats, Democrat incumbent Mark Mathias, Democrat Michael Gordon and Republican Jennifer Tooker won the most votes.

Official results show Mathias received 3,463 votes; Gordon, 3,491 votes; Republican Jeannie Smith received 3,403 votes; and Tooker, 3,443 votes.

"Honestly, I'm honored," said Gordon. "And I'm looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the great people on the board."

In the Zoning Board of Appeals, three candidates ran for three seats. They included Democrat incumbent James Ezzes, Republican incumbent Liz Wong, and Republican incumbent Bill Harris. Results show Ezzes received 3,575 votes; Wong received 3,898 votes; and Harris, 3,846 votes.

Republican incumbent Garson Heller, who ran unopposed for the Board of Assessment Appeals, received 3,595 votes.

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