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Public Servants Sworn In, Promise To Serve Newtown



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Minutes before dozens of men and women raised their right hands on Sunday, November 29, and vowed to serve their community, Lila Carlson sat perched in Aaron Carlson’s arms, grinning. Her father would soon face Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead and take the oath of office as a new member to the Board of Finance.

Mr Carlson was among dozens of recently elected men and women soon filling the Edmond Town Hall stage, prepared to serve on the Legislative Council, Board of Finance, Police Commission, Board of Education, Planning & Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Assessment Appeals, Board of Managers, Board of Selectman, and the First Selectman’s office. Terms begin Tuesday, December 1.

 Wishing them grace, wisdom, and foresight “to provide for the needs and promote the wellbeing of all,” was Pastor Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd. In her invocation, the pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church urged the residents to “make wise decisions for the welfare of society.” She asked that they be blessed with faithfulness, and a commitment to the common good.

Stepping next to the podium surrounded by poinsettias and garlands of green was Newtown’s Poet Laureate Lisa Schwartz, raising a quote from former New York City Governor Mario Cuomo: “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.”

Ms Schwartz then offered her own poem, saying it’s “no small thing” to believe in the promise of hope and love. To those poised to serve, she said, “May you find wisdom to light our way and have the courage to move mountains.” She urged them also to “choose love.”

Master of ceremonies and state Senator Tony Hwang thanked the elected officials for choosing to serve, and their families who support them. Sen Hwang then introduced resident and business owner Todd Ingersoll, of Ingersoll Auto of Danbury. As the afternoon’s Special Speaker, he touted those who volunteer, and the power of voting for those volunteers as a “right to freely choose those who govern” the town, and the nation, and “to those with the courage and commitment to serve.”

Drawing similarities to business success, Mr Ingersoll spoke of goals and “people and values that guide,” with a “commitment to excel,” “teamwork,” and binding those positive qualities is “trust and respect.” What could be done to “improve the collective good?” he asked.

The day’s observances included The Pledge of Allegiance, and Julia Bogdanoff singing the national anthem.

Ms Halstead then began, calling board by board, and member by member, asking “do you solemnly swear …”

The final person sworn in on Sunday was First Selectman Pat Llodra, who was unchallenged in November for her fourth term. Mrs Llodra first took office in 2009. She thanked the incumbent board members for their efforts “supporting our community,” and to new members for “adding their voice and thoughts.” She aims to “rise above” partisanship, she said, and “reach for good solutions.” She believes all groups will “come together with good intentions and we’ll learn from each other. We are now a team with the responsibility to serve Newtown.”

Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead, left, shook hands with First Selectman Pat Llodra after she was sworn in to her fourth term on Sunday afternoon. State Senator Tony Hwang, background, shared the stage with dozens of men and women preparing to begin their terms to various boards and commissions on December 1.
With hands raised, ready to take the oath of their office on Sunday were, from left, Board of Education Rebekah Harriman-Stites, Andrew Clure, and John Vouros. Ms Harriman-Stites and Mr Clure are new members of the board; Mr Vouros is an incumbent.
Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead, at the podium, with State Senator Tony Hwang at her side, gave the oath of office to nearly three dozen residents on Sunday afternoon at Edmond Town Hall. The elected officials were returning or taking new positions on a number of town boards and commissions, all effective December 1.
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