New Milford Town Council candidates include several incumbents, newcomers and a local activist

NEW MILFORD — This year’s slate of Town Council candidates include six Republicans, nine Democrats and several incumbents, according to filings from the town clerk’s office.

The Republican Town Committee has endorsed incumbents Mike Nahom, Katy Francis, Thomas Esposito and Chris Cosgrove for another two-year term. The RTC has also put its name behind Sal Rynkiewicz, who has temporarily filled a spot left by Michael Gold in July, and Joseph Failla, who served on the New Milford Board of Education as its vice chairman.

The Democrats are putting forward two incumbents, Mary Jane Lundgren and David Lawson. Walter Bayer will not be running for another term.

Other Democratic candidates include Alexandra Thomas, Brendan Gaul, Exiene Lofgren, Mohammed Karim, Hilary Ram, and Michele Shackleford. The group of candidates will also be joined by local activist Tony Morrissey, who has made a name for himself through advocacy of addiction services reform.

In 2019, the town reelected a Republican-majority council, with just two newcomers joining the ranks of incumbents.

The Town Council elections are run “at-large,” which means the top nine candidates from both parties are elected.

Tony Morrissey and his wife Tracey started a nonprofit to bring awareness to the ravages of the opioid epidemic after their son, Brian Cody, overdosed in 2019. Morrissey officially announced his candidacy on Facebook Thursday.

Morrissey said he decided to run because he wants to improve addiction services infrastructure and help the town determine the best and most effective ways to spend any opioid-related litigation payouts it might receive in connection to the opioid epidemic.

The couple is also in the midst of a lawsuit after Tracey Morrissey sued the town and three local police department employees this year in relation to her son’s 2019 opioid overdose death. The lawsuit claims negligence, carelessness, and improper prisoner security and welfare procedure.

Morrissey said the lawsuit is aligned with his overall platform focused on reform and welcomes discussion of the issue.

“There is a hole in the system. That is the principle of that matter, and that is part of the catalyst for doing all of this stuff,” he said.

Morrissey said he will recuse himself from any conflict of interest discussions or votes related to the case, were he to be elected.