The Green Party will again field candidates on Stamford’s November ballot, although it will not put forth any contenders for the city’s highest office.
The party, which laid claim to 57 registered voters in Stamford as of Sept. 16, did not nominate a mayoral candidate for the first time in three election cycles. Darek Shapiro ran for mayor in 2005 and Rolf Maurer, a perennial Green Party candidate in Stamford, sought the office in 2009.
This year, the Green Party decided “to focus its efforts instead on races for the Board of Representatives, as well as Board of Education and Constable,” Fairfield County Green Party spokesman David Bedell said in a news release Wednesday.
Ten Green Party candidates will appear on the November ballot, including eight for the Board of Representatives, one for the Board of Education and one for city constable. Richard Duffee, the Green Party’s school board candidate, said he wants to broaden the curriculum in city schools.
“Teachers should be free to innovate; they’re going to teach better if they’re making their own courses,” Duffee said. “They should not be teaching to tests. Teaching to tests is simply a way to get authority.”
Duffee, an Oaklawn Avenue resident who has lived in Stamford since 2005, taught environmental chemistry at Stamford Academy for several months before he was let go. A school official told The Advocate in 2006 Duffee left because he was “not a good fit,” but would not elaborate.
Duffee said the school did not provide him with adequate resources. He is opposed to charter schools, which he said fail to adequately nurture or educate students.
“I think that charter schools are not good for students or teachers,” Duffee said. “The regular public schools are a lot better.”
Duffee is a writer, teacher and retired lawyer. He ran as the Green Party’s District 4 candidate for U.S. Congress in 2006 and 2008.
Another Green Party candidate set to appear on the November ballot is David Michel, who is running for the Board of Representatives in Waterside’s District 2. Michel lives on Nelson Street in Shippan, which is in District 1, but said he would move to the city’s second district if elected.
“I have no problems with moving,” said Michel, a renter.
Municipal candidates are permitted to run for office in districts in which they do not yet live, said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s Communications DirectorAv Harris.
“Candidates for municipal office do not need to live in the district in order to run for the district, but must be a resident of the district in order to serve in that office,” Harris wrote in an email. “Therefore, if they win they must be a resident by the time they are sworn into office.”
Michel, who directs a wholesale team for the eyewear designer Selima Optique, said he would focus on issues affecting Waterside’s coastline if elected in November. Michel has volunteered with the Rye Marshlands Conservancy and Norwalk Maritime Center. He is also a cove guardian for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society‘s New York chapter.
“I’d like to be involved in decisions that have to do with the maritime issues,” Michel said. “I know there’s a lot of construction going on so I think pollution levels should be very closely monitored.”
The Green Party held its nominating caucus Aug. 17 at UConn’s Stamford campus, Bedell said. The party is committed to protecting the environment and supporting public transportation initiatives and local businesses, he said.
“We want less reliance on automobile traffic; better bicycle and pedestrian amenities,” Bedell said. “In terms of the economy we’d like to put more emphasis on local homegrown businesses rather than relying so much on international corporations that come in and bring jobs and then disappear after a few years.”
The Green Party has not won elected office in Stamford despite several bids. The most recent was by the party’s perennial candidate Rolf Maurer, who won fewer than 200 votes citywide in the 2009 mayoral election. This year he will appear on the November ballot as a Board of Representatives candidate for District 12.
“There’s no chance of even interfering with the Republican-Democrat races,” Mallozzi said. “That’s not a slight of the candidates; it’s just the way it is.”
“I think that the Green Party candidates provide some voters with an opportunity to have their voices heard and their issues discussed,” Mahoney said in an email.