Four times proved to be the charm for Redding resident Chris Parkin.
At the Tuesday, Dec. 5, Redding Board of Education meeting, Parkin, a Republican, was elected to the board by two votes. He is filling a two-year vacancy left by Gwen Denny, a Democrat, who was elected to the Region 9 Board of Education in the Redding municipal election in November.
Parkin, who has three children in the Redding public school system, ran against Kim Thompson, a Republican, who is the in-house counsel for Danbury Public Schools, and Catherine Vecchiarelli, a Democrat, who was the Democratic Town Committee nominee.
In the first round of balloting on Tuesday night, school board members Laura Hoeing and Mike Hoffman voted for Thompson, while Melinda Irwin voted for Vecchiarelli. Heather Whaley, John Reilly and Colleen Pilato voted for Parkin.
Since board members were unable to come up with a majority, they voted a second time.
In round two of balloting, Irwin switched her vote to Parkin, making the vote 4 to 2. All other board members kept their vote the same.
Parkin was defeated in the Republican town caucus in July and in the primary election in September.
In the November municipal election, he ran as a petitioning candidate and lost.
About 50 people attended the Board of Education meeting, which was standing-room-only and lasted until almost 11 p.m., Parkin said.
Also at the meeting, Irwin was elected board chairman, Hoffman was elected vice chairman and Parkin was elected secretary.
“I was truly humbled by the outpouring of support I received from the community last night and throughout the long campaign season,” Parkin said in a statement on Wednesday, Dec. 6. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our schools for the next two years and I thank the board for placing its faith in me last night. And most of all, I look forward to putting politics aside and getting to work on securing a bright future for Redding schools.”
“Three strong candidates came out last night to run for a BOE seat, and to volunteer their time and service to our town. It was a very hard decision,” Irwin said. “Chris Parkin will add important expertise to the board, and we look forward to working with him.”
Redding Republican Town Committee Chairman Michael Thompson said, “while we are certainly surprised by Tuesday night’s BOE vote — all three Democrats voted for someone other than the candidate endorsed by their own party — we are happy to have regained a Republican majority on the Board. We are thankful to have had two strong Republican candidates express interest in the vacancy, and congratulate Chris Parkin on his appointment. We hope all Board of Education members can now turn their attention to what’s in the best interests of Redding’s children.”