WESTON, Conn. — As Nina Daniel prepares to take over as the new first selectman, she says she hopes to bring the people of Weston together.
Daniel, a Republican, knocked off incumbent Democrat Gayle Weinstein for the top position on the Board of Selectmen in last week's election.
"It is a privilege and very humbling," said Daniel of her victory. "It's a reflection of the fact that people in town wanted a change."
The voter turnout was 46.7 percent, very high for a municipal election. Daniel won 1,426 votes, or 52 percent, to Weinstein's 1,316 votes, or 48 percent.
Weinstein lost out on her bid for re-election as first selectman but still retains a seat on the board. Dennis Tracey, another Republican, was re-elected to the three-member board.
Daniel's goals include shoring up local control of the town's land, schools and taxes.
"I want to restore morale in Town Hall and end the divisiveness in town," said Daniel, who has also been a member of the Democratic Party in the past.
"That allowed me to appeal to both parties and to the unaffiliated voters who were looking for a connection in this election," she told the Daily Voice in an interview last week.
And Daniel is now looking at some divisive issues. Weston must address its changing demographics of a declining school enrollment and an aging population, she said.
"I don't accept that divide," she said of Weston's youth and elderly. "I look out for the most vulnerable people in town. I give a voice and representation to people who can't always speak for themselves."
The town spends nearly $50 million per year on schools, but only $125,000 on senior services.
"Seniors don't require as many services as children, but that's too low," said Daniel, has previously served on the Board of Education and who founded the Friends of the Weston Senior Activities Center.
She is also concerned about the lack of growth on the Grand List but said the town's residents "are tax weary."
"We need to cut spending, and stop the high level of indebtedness," Daniel said.
Daniel is a graduate of Bryn Mawr and Princeton. She was also a Fulbright scholar in Colombia and is fluent in Spanish. She raised two adult sons in town.
Daniel sees her election victory as linking the town's past and future. Her father, James Daniel, also once served as the town’s first selectman.
One of his legacies was the design of the Meeting Room where she will be sworn in at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Meeting Room at Weston Town Hall.
"I'm very proud of my father, and the Meeting Room is very meaningful to me," Nina Daniel said. "I see myself as a link between Weston's past and its future."
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