With a new city administration sitting on the stage beside him at Bristol Eastern High School Monday, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal hailed the voters who turned out last week “to make a difference” to the future of Bristol.
“Tonight is really a triumph of democracy,” Blumenthal said before helping state Comptroller Nancy Wyman administer the oath of office to Mayor Art Ward, who secured a second term at the city’s helm in last week’s municipal election.
"Politics is now over and Bristol comes first," Wyman said.
It was certainly a bipartisan evening as leaders were sworn in, including a new treasurer and three new city councilors.
"Tonight is a night to be positive," Ward said in his inaugural address, "and I truly believe that together, we will be able to move Bristol forward."
About 150 people gathered in the school’s auditorium to take in the event, most of them friends and family of the candidates.
Candidates could choose the person to help them with their oaths of office. Among those selected was a mother, a wife and a son. Others opted for political allies to deliver the words.
City Councilor Kate Matthews, whose mother, Maryann Lupa administered the oath, had to correct its archaic language so she could say "councilwoman" instead of "councilman" in her response.
Rose Parenti, only the second Republican to win citywide office in the past quarter century, opted to have her son, William Loritzo, have the honor of swearing her in.
City Councilor Kevin McCauley, the most senior member of the council, turned for the third straight time to his wife, Jackie McCauley, to say the oath’s words for him to repeat.
Blumenthal and Wyman were the only outsiders involved in the 45-minute ceremony.
"I couldn't be prouder to be anywhere tonight than right here with Art Ward and his beautiful family," Blumental said.
Wyman said that she has never met a man who cares so much about children, seniors, working people and veterans as Ward does.
His love for the city and his family surpasses nearly everyone she's ever met, Wyman said.
The mayor’s seven grandchildren took to the stage, with many giggles, and led the crowd in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ward said the event marked the end of a political campaign of unusually high caliber, one that focused on issues and showed the city at its best.
He thanked every candidate who sought office last week for making it possible.
"Whether they won or whether they lost is not relevant," Ward said, as he led a standing ovation for those who tried.
The mayor said the task facing the new administration “is going to be challenging,” but with new businesses coming to town, the school system proving itself a model for success, developers eyeing Depot Square downtown and more, there is reason to hope even during difficult times.
"We have a future here in the city of Bristol," Ward said, "as long as we come together in a bipartisan fashion."
The manner and respect of election show that officials "can do this," Ward said. "We must do this."
After a rousing rendition of “God Bless America,” the newly installed administration walked out to the cafeteria next door to greet everyone and perhaps grab a tiny sandwich provided by the Democratic Town Committee.
PS: Thanks for the picture, Laura Minor!
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