In businesslike fashion July 22, about 50 New Milford Democrats endorsed Robert Coppola, a former Board of Education and Town Council member, to run for mayor and to head a ticket they believe offers town residents a strong choice come November.

Mr. Coppola, a first-time mayoral candidate, was all smiles as he accepted the party's nomination at the end of an evening when party members filled all but a few seats with a combination of incumbents, newcomers, and at least one returning politician for a school-board seat.

The new mayoral candidate said he plans to build a "bridge to the future of New Milford," through increasing energy efficiency in town buildings, reviewing the uses of town-owned property and seeking resolutions to traffic flow issues in the town.

"Bob has shown a lot of enthusiasm, and I think he will lead our party to victory in November,'' said John Lillis, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee.

Incumbent Board of Finance member Shelly Pruss, who once ran for mayor and has served on both the finance board and Town Council, was convinced to seek another term after initially deciding not to run due to family commitments.

"This is a very diverse ticket with all interests represented and highlighted,'' said David Lawson, a Board of Education member who nominated Mr. Coppola for mayor. "New Milford can do better, should do better and under Democratic leadership will do better.''

Two years ago, the Democrats were able to win a majority on the nine-member Board of Education and added a seat on the Town Council, although the Republicans retained the majority.

At the caucus, all four Town Council incumbents were chosen to run and newcomer Anne Cutter was nominated for a council seat.

For seats on the Board of Education all three incumbents were nominated for four-year seats (see box) and former ed board member and mayoral candidate Dr. Larry Stillman was nominated for a two-year seat.