Ridgefield Democrats nominate candidates with 'new blood, professional expertise'

Ridgefield Democrats caucused Monday, July 24, nominating a slate of candidates to run for local office in November.

According to Democratic leadership, the slate balances proven incumbents and new blood, professional expertise, local business acumen and community roots, to ensure Ridgefield’s local government operates efficiently, effectively, and in the best interests of all Ridgefield residents.

For Board of Finance (BOF), Democrats paired first-time candidate Amy Macartney Freidenrich, owner of Ross Bread and Coffee, with first-term incumbent Sean Connelly.

  • Amy Macartney Freidenrich will bring local business acumen and wide-ranging professional and community experience to BOF. Raised in Ridgefield (her first jobs were at Keeler Tavern, Ancona’s Market, and The Ridgefield Press), Amy spent several years living and working out of state. Returned to Ridgefield, Amy owns and operates Ridgefield’s Ross Bread and Coffee, and actively participates in the community. Any and her husband have three daughters and a son who is a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. Amy’s resume includes stints with American Express, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Foote Cone Belding Direct, and Stanford University. Amy is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kent School, and is active in the League of Women Voters, Connecticut Against Gun Violence, and Refugee Resettlement Ridgefield. Amy graduated from Mount Holyoke College.
  • Sean Connelly has quickly and valuably contributed to BOF since his appointment in late 2016, informing the board’s decision-making with his professional expertise in large-scale project design, implementation, reporting, and analysis. Sean is a director with Willis Towers Watson, has served as a member of Harvard’s Forces for Change faculty, and held leadership roles in SCOR (Soccer Club of Ridgefield) and the local Boy Scouts. Sean holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Boston University.

The Democrats’ Board of Education (BOE) slate also mixes professional and volunteer educational expertise, new-blood and incumbency. Democrats nominated first-time candidates Kathleen Holz, Carina Borgia-Drake, and Amanda Cordano, and also nominated first-term incumbents Doug Silver and Margaret Stamatis for reelection.

  • Kathleen Holz is an educator with experience in both public and private schools. As the parent of a 2016 Ridgefield High School graduate, Kathleen knows the concerns and needs of Ridgefield parents and students. Kathleen retired in 2016, after having served 14 years as Head of the Lower School (pre-K through grade 9) of the New Canaan Country School in New Canaan, CT. Previously, Kathleen was assistant principal at Katonah Elementary School (K through 5) in Katonah, NY, principal at City & Country School (pre-K through 8) in New York, NY, and taught kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade in New York City and Barcelona, Spain. Kathleen holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and an M.S. from Bank Street College of Education.
  • Carina Borgia-Drake is an oncology nurse with experience in teaching hospitals (Memorial Sloan Kettering and New York Presbyterian) and a public education advocate who has led successful local, state and national advocacy and legislative efforts to improve education. Carina is a member of the Board of Directors for the Dyslexia Society of Connecticut, a Special Services PTA Counsel in Ridgefield, and a Pro Bono Special Education Mentor. Carina holds a B.S. degree from New York University and is undertaking the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at Fairfield University.
  • Amanda Cordano is well-known for her extensive community service efforts. Among other involvements, Amanda has served on the board of directors of the Ridgefield League of Women Voters, as Vice President of Philanthropy for the National Charity League, and as a leader of Green Village Initiatives. As a parent, Amanda coordinated the Arts in the Classroom (PACE) and gardening programs, and initiated several revenue-producing and recycling programs in Ridgefield Public Schools. Professionally, Amanda served as Director of Development & Alumni Relations for Ridgefield Academy. Amanda holds a B.A. in Economics from Williams College.
  • Doug Silver is an education professional and software executive, and has been a sound voice on BOE during his first term. Doug is a former teacher, school administrator, and education research director and study author. Doug holds a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder, an M.A. in English Education from Columbia University, and a 6th year degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. Doug has served on accreditation committees for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEAS&C) and the Tri-States Consortium.
  • Margaret Stamatis, an attorney, has quickly become a valuable BOE member since her appointment last November. Margaret served two years as President of the Ridgefield Council of PTAs, overseeing the district PTA Council comprised of the 9 individual school PTA units and a Board of Directors with functional responsibilities aligned with the RPS structure. Margaret has volunteered with Lion’s Heart youth community service organization (Chapter President), Ridgefield Prevention Council and Ridgefield Basketball Association (Board of Directors). Margaret was a member of the 2009 PreK-G8 Configuration & Districting Study Committee.

Democrats also nominated candidates for several other boards:

  • Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z):
    • Joe Fossi, a long-time member of P&Z, has earned high marks for his service from members of the community without regard to party lines. Joe is founder, owner and operator of Ridgefield-based Pelham Homes, LLC.
    • Charles Robbins is a recent appointee who has quickly become a valuable P&Z member. Charles holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and maintains avid interest in land use, transportation, and town planning and zoning; Charles previously served as a Zoning Board of Appeals alternate. Charles made his career in finance and banking.
    • Joe Dowdell, is a professional engineer and former Democratic candidate for state legislature from Ridgefield. Joe holds a B.S. in engineering from the University of Minnesota.
    • Temi Bova has served as Global Brand director for GE Plastics and as Communications director for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
    • Mary Dougherty is a small business owner and previously worked as a marketing professional in the pharmaceutical, medical and finance industries.
  • Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA):
    • Mark Seavy, journalist, writer and current ZBA Alternate in his first 1-year term.
    • Terry Bearden-Rettger is a speech and language pathologist in private practice.
  • Board of Assessment Appeals:
    • Jeff Lundberg is a U.S. Navy veteran, UConn grad, and is active in multiple local organizations, including as board member of the Ridgefield Symphony. Jeff has been a Board of Assessment Appeals member since 2015.
    • Anne Cutter served in elected or appointed positions in New Milford, including Board of Assessment Appeals, Sewer Commission, Conservation Commission, and Justice of the Peace, and looks forward to serving Ridgefield.
  • Board of Police Commissioners:
    • Steve Saloom is an attorney with a long, distinguished career in criminal justice on the national, state and local arenas. Steve holds B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Connecticut.
    • Arnold (“Arny”) DiLaura is a national security, risk management and finance professional, with a special interest in local law enforcement. Arny holds a B.A. from Syracuse University, an M.A. from John Hopkins University, and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.