Cindy Lignar – First Selectwoman
Cindy Lignar is a professional businesswoman with experience in strategic planning and implementation of budgets and programs, as well as the successful former co-owner of Squared Circle Studio in Deep River. She is also the former president of the Deep River Merchants Association. Cindy is a registered nurse with a varied clinical background that includes public safety and health management experience. In previous positions as vice president of Operations and director of Clinical Services at area home care and hospice agencies, she was responsible for budget development and implementation; staff supervision and professional development; continuous quality assessments and improvement of patient care and outcomes; coordination of services and programs; and collaboration with local, state, and federal departments and officials. A tireless volunteer, Cindy serves on Chester’s Economic Development Commission and was on last year’s ad hoc Chester Governance Study Committee. She continues to act as the team lead on the Chester Sustainability Team and as a member of the Regional Planning Committee of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Cindy volunteered as a Connecticut Medical Reserve Corps professional. She was hired as a public health nurse for the Middletown Health Department and continued to work as a frontline leader providing vaccinations and COVID-19 testing.
With Cindy’s professional business background in project management, communications, emergency preparedness and more, she is ready for the challenges facing Chester, whether it is meeting the goals and objectives of the current Plan of Conservation and Development, fulfilling the strategies proposed in
the Affordable Housing Plan, or delivering balanced budgets and fiscal accountability. Cindy has a deep passion for and authentic connections in our community, and she believes she is the professional needed to sustain Chester and move it into the future. >
Patricia (Pat) Bandzes – Selectwoman
Pat Bandzes is an unaffiliated candidate, endorsed by Chester Democrats.
A former business professional, Pat has a varied background and a diverse set of skills, including project management, community and government relations, strategic communications, outreach planning, and emergency preparedness. Most of her career was spent in the energy industry with a focus on communicating key energy-related matters to regulators, government officials, business and community groups, employees, media, and the public. Over the years, she has worked on several high-profile energy infrastructure projects in CT, PA, and New England. For a brief period, she worked in corporate communications for a national healthcare company. Pat completed her career as a Community Relations and Economic Development Specialist where she was the lead utility company contact for numerous municipalities in central and eastern CT. She has served as the team lead for coordinating emergency restoration outreach for CT municipalities during major storms and outages. As a result of these experiences, she knows how to listen, be empathetic, and how to find and share resources.
Over the years, Pat has cultivated a network of business, community, and government contacts in Middlesex County and the region that will serve Chester well. A life-long volunteer, Pat currently chairs Chester’s Economic Development Commission. She
was the liaison to RiverCOG for the town’s first Affordable Housing Plan and now serves on their Regional Housing Committee. She was a member of the ad-hoc Governance Study Committee and she is part of the team helping to create a safer, more sustainable Chester. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pat volunteered with the Chester Food program and was part of the vaccination call team. Pat previously served on the Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen in the Town of Middlefield. She was a long-time 4-H leader and currently volunteers with veterans in the Horsefeathers Program at the Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam.
Pat has been married to her husband, Bob, for more than 40 years after meeting in Italy where he was stationed in the U.S. Army, and she was on summer break from college. They have two married adult sons. Over 10 years ago, they moved to Chester to “live the dream” of having a small horse farm. Pat loves most outdoor recreation activities and doing anything that involves horses. She enjoys theater, reading, and is an avid wellness/fitness enthusiast.
Lorraine S. Connelly – Regional Board of Education Incumbent
Lorraine S. Connelly was appointed in 2022 to the Chester Board of Education. Her primary role as a BOE member is to support the school’s mission and the superintendent’s strategic priorities and to effectively communicate these priorities to the public. Lorraine is most passionate about students in grades K-6 developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to become lifetime learners, as well as the development of emotional intelligence that will impact their social relationships and decision-making.
Lorraine was a faculty member at Choate Rosemary Hall for 32 years, was the former chair of the Commission on School Advancement for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and is currently a marketing & media consultant and a columnist for the Record-Journal.
Lorraine holds a BA from Hunter College (where she was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate) and an MA from Northeastern University. She has been a Chester homeowner since 1997.
John Connelly – Board of Finance Alternate
John H. Connelly was a faculty member at Choate Rosemary Hall for 40 years and is now a substitute teacher at Valley Regional High School. He is passionate about directing the financial resources of Chester not only to meet the town’s critical contingencies but also to create new avenues of growth that meet the evolving needs of both longtime citizens and new residents, as well as attracting families to move to—and thrive in—Chester.
As someone who has spent a lifetime in education, he is firmly committed to the belief that a strong school system is the principal foundation of a healthy, prosperous community. All citizens are impacted by the quality of education our young people have available to them.
Having attended Board of Finance meetings, John is keenly aware of what contributes to Chester’s rising mill rate. And as a historian with a social science background, he understands how increased taxes, a decreasing population and a rising cohort of retirees impact a town. John’s focus as a member of the Board of Finance will be to seek new ways to ease the burden on our taxpayers while sustaining the qualities of life that we all treasure in Chester.
John holds a BA in history and sociology from Trinity College, an MEd in secondary education from Springfield College and an MS in international studies (with East Asian specialization) from Central Connecticut State University.
Carlie Dailey – Board of Planning & Zoning Alternate
Carlie Dailey is a veteran high school business teacher at Old Saybrook High School, whose career passions are preparing students to be financially responsible post high school and providing unique opportunities for them to be entrepreneurs within the safety of the classroom.
Carlie lives in Chester with her husband, Brian, a science teacher at Valley Regional High School, and her two daughters, both of whom attend Chester Elementary School. Carlie and her family have enjoyed benefiting from Chester’s many community events, and Carlie is excited to give back. She was an active part of creating Chester’s Affordable Housing Plan in 2022, is a current member of Chester’s Economic Development Committee as the recording secretary and has been an active alternate member of the Planning & Zoning Commission. She is now seeking re-election.
Carlie believes in supporting and providing local businesses with economic opportunities, celebrating Chester’s history, and creating opportunities for all to enjoy what Chester has to offer.
Deborah Vilcheck – Board of Finance Incumbent
Deborah Vilcheck is a full member of the Board of Finance, appointed November 2021. A lawyer and former trust officer and financial advisor, Deborah is a 24-year resident of Chester and has been an active volunteer in the community, including helping at the Chester Sunday Market and as a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Chester. Rotary’s guiding principle the Four-Way Test (Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?) is very much a part of Deborah’s own principles.
Roger Labrecque – Board of Finance Incumbent Alternate
Roger Labrecque recently retired as a senior account executive at Emerson Automation Solutions after 40 years of service. He also held positions in operations and project management. Now retired, Roger has the time and desire to contribute in a meaningful way to the Chester community.
Roger currently serves as treasurer on The Forest Homeowners Association Board and for the past 16 months has served on Chester’s Board of Finance as an alternate. During his time on the Board of Finance, he’s collaborated not only with members of the board to facilitate proper analysis and oversight of the town budget, but he’s also had the opportunity to gain greater insight into the town’s services and programs. Roger’s goal is to ensure that Chester is operating with the financial resources it needs to support these services and programs while remaining fiscally responsible.
Roger has always enjoyed Chester; its people and culture are second to none, and he was lucky enough to have moved here eight years ago.
Victor (Vic) J. Fetter – Zoning Board of Appeals
Victor J. Fetter is a 27-year resident of Chester and has served as Deputy Registrar of Voters, an election moderator, and a poll worker. A dedicated champion of Chester’s and southeast Connecticut’s diverse and inclusive community, Victor supports protecting voter rights and access for all eligible voters.
Victor currently serves our town on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He has previously served on the YMCA Camp Hazen Board of Directors and with Chester Harbor Management, as well as a Cub Scout Pack 13 advisor, a Little League baseball coach, and a Sea Scouts advisor. Victor has been employed since 2011 as an Engineer Specialist at Electric Boat.
Laurence Fearon – Regional Board of Education Incumbent
Richard Strauss – Regional Board of Education Incumbent
Michael Joplin – Planning & Zoning Incumbent Alternate
Erik Anderson Sr. – Zoning Board of Appeals Incumbent
Erik Anderson has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for the past six years. Maintaining Chester’s charm and small-town characteristics is a careful balance, and Erik believes that at times, zoning rules do not take into consideration the unforeseen nonconformities of small lots and unique properties. Given zoning must adhere to the written rules that are our town zoning regulations, Erik believes that the ZBA is essential, and he aims to view those who are presenting their hardships to the ZBA with an open mind. Where hardships exist, there is usually room for compromise.
Erik has 22 years of experience in the HVAC and plumbing building trades. He is a current member of Local 35, serving as a mechanic, technician, and power plant operator in utilities at Yale University. Previously, he was a member of Local Union 777 Plumbers and Pipefitters and served on their executive board for four years, representing almost 3,000 of his fellow tradesmen in negotiations and dispersing funds and assisting in running the union. In 2022, Erik started his own business, The Guild Plumbing and Heating, based in Chester.
Erik’s beautiful wife, Jenny, has been a member of the Chester community for her entire life, as have her parents. Erik and Jenny’s children (Aviendha, Erik, Jr., Sky and Austin) all attended the Chester school system.
Dale H. Bernardoni – Regional Board of Education Incumbent
Dale H. Bernardoni currently serves as a member of the Chester Board of Education and has been a Chester resident since 2009. He is a retired educator with over 40 years of experience as a teacher and school principal. Dale is a member of the Chester Historical Society, the Chester Land Trust and Region 4’s Supervisory District, and he is active in educational humanitarian work.
David Fitzgibbons – Regional Board of Education Incumbent
David Fitzgibbons has been a Chester resident for 52 years. He is Chair of the Chester Board of Education for 8 years and is a 12-year member of the BOE. David is an Independent Mental Health Care Professional. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Tri-Town Youth Services and a former Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCONN School of Medicine and Pd.D. NYU.
Justin Kronholm – Board of Finance Alternate
Justin Kronholm has been a Chester resident for over 20 years. He currently serves as the senior advisor to Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and has served as the senior advisor to Connecticut’s two previous attorney’s general. Justin is a former member of the Chester Zoning Board of Appeals.
He lives with his wife, Candace, and two daughters, who both attended Chester Elementary School and John Winthrop Middle School.
Michael Jordan – Board of Finance Incumbent
Michael Jordan serves on the Board of Finance and has been a Chester resident since 2017. He is the chief operating officer of 1/ST Technology. Michael has many years of experience in technology, business infrastructure and administration. He is focused on Chester’s financial stability and its sustainable, flexible, and technology-driven town government.
Michael is married to Joosje van Roode. They have one daughter and one child on the way!
Catherine Cahill – Library Trustees
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