Photographs By Antonio Gruttadauria
Fran De Pillo watched intently as her husband, Larry De Pillo, checked the numbers coming into Independent Party HQs on election night inside the Franco-American Club in the East End of Waterbury. This was the 8th straight municipal election in Waterbury that Larry De Pillo has placed his name before the electorate. This year the Independent Party ran a shoe-string campaign on $20,000 (1/15th the budget of the Democrats) and still managed to snare 20% of the vote.
The Independent Party in Waterbury has had an enormous impact in the city the past ten years. After Republican mayor Phil Giordano was arrested and imprisoned on federal charges in 2001, the Independents knocked the Republican party out of office. The GOP nearly returned the favor in 2011, as not one Independent Party member was elected Tuesday night. The Independents still have one elected official in Waterbury, Ann Sweeney is still on the Board of Education serving two more years. But don’t think the Independent Party is kaput. They intend to continue placing candidates on the ballot in Waterbury, and across the state of Connecticut.
Board of Alderman candidates Michael Simpson, left, and Luis Muniz, go over the returns inside the Franco-American Club. De Pillo said he was proud of the young, diverse ticket the Independent Party offered the voters and hoped the newcomers would remain in politics.
The day after the election De Pillo ran into mayor-elect Neil O’Leary in the WATR parking lot and O’Leary asked De Pillo to work inside his administration. O’Leary told the Observer weeks ago that if he won the election he was going to ask De Pillo to be part of his team. He won, and he followed up on the strategy within hours of the election. De Pillo and his wife Fran are overdue for a vacation down to the Carolinas, and afterwards, Larry De Pillo could become a fiscal watchdog inside municipal government.
De Pillo, who handles defeat as well as most politicians handle victory, went around speaking personally to all the Independent Party candidates. He is is pictured above talking with alderman candidate Bernard Bailey,
At the end of the night De Pillo got a big hug from long-time friend, and cable television producer, Marilyn Chapman. During De Pillo’s interview on WATR Wednesday morning a caller told De Pillo he had run a terrific campaign and the city of Waterbury owed him a huge thank you for his decades of public service. Then the caller predicted De Pillo would return to the political arena, “You’re like poison ivy,” the caller chuckled, ” you may not see it for a while, but you know it’s coming back.”