Independent’s For Orange Party Formed

Organizers recently announced the official formation of a new minor third-party.{{more}} Independent’s For Orange Party organizer Michael Richetelli said he, Chad Lombardi and Jim O’Connor formed the new party because another voice in town government was needed.

Town Clerk Patrick O’Sullivan said there are 10,354 registered voters as of March. Of those 2,480 are Democrats, 2,462 are Republicans and 5, 316 are Unaffiliated. O’Sullivan said 96 are registered to minor parties including the Independent party.

“I’ve been thinking about it for years and decided to take steps the past couple of months,” Richetelli said.

“We’re nonpartisan, it’s a way to make a difference in Orange without the traditional partisan politics.iWhy should someone who is an Independent in their views have to participate in only democrat or republican elections,” Richetelli said.

Richetelli, who owns Colonial Properties, a realty company, is seeking a seat on the Board of Selectmen.

“I am not satisfied with the current dysfunctional environment in politics. From the national level to the local level, partisanship has gone too far. As a result I feel it is my responsibility to step forward, organize and help lead a movement that will put Orange on the right path,” cofounder Lombardi said.

Lombardi is not seeking an office.

O’Connor is running for the Board of Education. He is an elementary school principal in Branford.

He is also a member of the park and recreation commission and a former Amity Lacrosse coach.

“I joined because of like-minded leaders in town. I believe with my experience as an elementary school principal and coaching, I have a good understanding of the whole child,” O’Connor said.

Democrat and Republican Town Committee Chairmen said they welcome the added dialogue.

“Public service is very important to the life of a community and I wish more people would run for elected office. However a third party presents a special set of challenges that is very rarely successful. While I appreciate Mike’s desire to contribute to the betterment of our town, I question the route he has chosen to take, “ Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Trish Pearson said.

“Our Selectmen candidates have a proven record of success serving the people of Orange and understand how to work cooperatively,” she added.

“It was a little surprising as he (Richetelli) has been associated with the Democrats but this is America he can do what he wants,” Republican Town Committee Chairman Rick Roberts said.

“We have been fortunate to have a majority on all boards. All of them are dedicated people who are not absorbed with party politics but absorbed with serving the people of Orange,” Roberts added.

“This is an indication of the high level of dissatisfaction with the present administration. If Mike is truly interested in leading the town in a new direction why is he not running for 1st Selectman,” said Democrat John M. Cifarelli. He is running for the BOS.

“I think this is what democracy is all about, the ability for someone to start up a third party. Though I am a Republican and willing to debate (why we should be relected). I think we have done a phenomenal job for the town,” said John Carangelo who is finishing his first term on the BOS.

“I welcome Mike Richetelli to the race. Another perspective is always welcome even though his leadership experience is limited. I find it interesting that he has created a new party. I know others have tried unsuccessfully in the past, to create a third party. It is no easy task and I wish him well,” said Democrat Jody Dietch. She is seeking on the BOS.

Republican Bill Kraut doesn’t think having an Independent party will change how residents vote.

“I am a registered Independent and I and many other Independents support Jim Zeoli. He is about the town of Orange and its people,” Kraut said.

Richetelli said they plan on having a fundraiser mid to late July to officially kick off campaign their campaign. He said they will be using social media along with conventional campaign methods to get their information out to the public. Residents are encouraged to check out the website at