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Norwalk Republicans Pick Kassimis for School Board

A corporate IT manager turned pastor has become Norwalk’s newest Board of Education member. Republican Artie Kassimis was selected unanimously Tuesday evening by the Norwalk Republican Town Committee to replace departing school board member Erin Halsey.

“I will work for the students and taxpayers of Norwalk,” said Kassimis, who will complete the rest of Halsey’s 2½- year term.  “I promise I will not let you down.”

After the meeting, Kassimis said his priority as a school board member is to help Norwalk get more money from the state.  “We need more money. I plan to go to Hartford and fight.”

Kassimis said he needs to get “up to speed” on the next year’s proposed school budget, which requires $4 million in cuts. “I think I can be a fresh pair of eyes to look for ways to save money.”

Last year, Kassimis ran unsuccessfully for state Senate against Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk. Kassimis also lost the 2009 Norwalk school board election by a narrow margin. The father of four children left a corporate career in information technology to become the pastor of the Word Alive Bible Church in Norwalk.

Kassimis thinks his role as a pastor gives him unique insight into parents and children. “Over the years I’ve counseled many families, teenagers and kids in prison.”

Republican Councilman John Tobin nominated Kassimis. Fellow Common Council member Nick Kydes seconded the nomination.

Mayor Richard Moccia and school board Chairman Jack Chiaramonte spoke in favor of Kassimis.  “Artie believes in Norwalk and in our kids, and not what others say,” said the mayor.

“I’m very enthusiastic about the choice of Artie,” said Chiaramonte. “He’s a good family man who’s all about the kids. You couldn’t ask for a nicer person.”

Halsey is leaving her seat on the Board of Education to take a job as Norwalk’s City Clerk. She left the committee meeting early to attend a Common Council meeting, where she was formally appointed to her new position.

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