Shelton Democrats look to future with new leadership

The Shelton Democratic Town Committee has elected new leadership. Pictured are Vice Chair Monica Petersen, Chair Kevin Kosty, center, and Secretary Michael Federici.

The Shelton Democratic Town Committee has elected new leadership. Pictured are Vice Chair Monica Petersen, Chair Kevin Kosty, center, and Secretary Michael Federici.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Change is in the air for local Democrats in a city long dominated by Republicans.

Kevin Kosty was elected Democratic Town Committee chair, a position previously held for 17 years by David Gioiello. Kosty takes over after a municipal election that had Democrats take one alderman seat and nearly secure two others. Kosty himself was only 30 votes from winning a Ward 2 seat.

“Shelton has been a tough town, but Democratic turnout has improved in every subsequent election I’ve been a part in,” said Kosty, who has had unsuccessful runs in Ward 2, where Democrat Michele Bialek won a seat in 2021.

“Over that time, I’ve put in the hard work needed to nearly double my personal voter turnout and only missed being seated as alderman by 30 votes,” Kosty added. “We won a seat on the Board of Alderman last year. We can be proud of those successes and the example they have set for us.”

The other positive, according to Kosty, is the increased membership in the DTC. Overall, the membership jumped by 18 members since 2020. And he intends to harness this energy to promote candidates not only in the coming midterms but also the 2023 municipal election.

“This is the largest town committee the Shelton Democrats have had in the six years I have been a part of the organization, with many new faces,” Kosty said. “That made the time right to campaign for the leadership position as someone who can bridge the gap between our long-tenured members and our newer peers.

“Having been through three municipal campaigns and served as treasurer for a state Senate campaign I have the experience necessary for the task,” Kosty added.

Kosty, the former party vice chair, works for PerkinElmer in Shelton. He is joined by new vice chair and retired teacher Monica Peterson, who is also a former Shelton Parks and Recreation commissioner.

Michael Federici was elected secretary, and Denise Deeds was once again elected treasurer at the DTC meeting on March 21.

Federici, a retired Marine, is a veteran of the Gulf War and currently a therapist at the VA. He led the DTC R.A.C.E. Task Force. Deeds, a nine-term treasurer, owns IHSC, LLC, an occupational health and safety company.

“I intend to continue having the town committee field the best public servants for Shelton. To have them reach and prove that fact to the voters and continue to grow our voter turnout as we have in the previous elections until Shelton is a blue municipality again,” Kosty said.

Kosty said Shelton Democrats are committed to maintaining a low tax rate, maintaining honest and respectful government and investing in education and important infrastructure projects, including road paving and downtown parking.

He also thanked Gioiello for his stewardship as DTC chair.

“It’s not easy for a leader to take a step back and let someone else oversee something you’ve cared about with as much passion as Dave has for this committee,” Kosty said. “To keep the DTC going for as long as he did when it has been this difficult to win, having our best election in at least six years, and see the committee grow its largest in as many years is an accomplishment. To have him trust me to lead it into the future from here is an honor, and immense shoes to fill.”

DTC member and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jimmy Tickey praised Gioiello for his work growing the local party, successfully getting candidates in the community to door knock and raising important issues that matter to families.

Tickey said that with Gioiello not seeking reelection to the committee’s top post, members unanimously supported Kosty and Peterson as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively.

“A new leadership team is now in place, and the Democratic Town Committee supports them in their continued work to grow the Democratic Party, recruit more candidates and ensure we have elected officials that are working each and every day for Shelton families,” Tickey said. “The Shelton Democratic Town Committee is open to new ideas, engaged in the community and has a positive vision for the future of Shelton.”