Jocelyn Kepple joins Selectmen

Jocelyn Kepple with Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons, right, and her father, Nicholas Kepple. Jan. 23, 2019. Catherine Hewitt, The Westerly Sun

STONINGTON — Democrat Jocelyn Kepple received unanimous approval from the Board of Selectmen to fill Kate Rotella’s seat on the board Wednesday.

Kepple, 32, is a sixth-grade teacher at Mystic Middle School and a youth basketball coach. She has been a member of the Stonington Democratic Town Committee for six years, serving as committee secretary for two years.

First Selectman Rob Simmons and Selectman John Prue, both Republicans, voted to endorse Kepple, who was recommended by the Democratic Town Committee.

Kate Rotella stepped down on Jan. 1 after winning the 43rd District House election in November.

The town charter stipulates that the two remaining selectmen have the option to appoint a replacement within 30 days of a vacancy on the board. The appointee is traditionally recommended by the town committee of the board member who resigned, in this case a Democrat. If the selectmen had not appointed a replacement within 30 days, the Democrats in elected town positions would have had 60 days to appoint a new selectman or selectwoman.

Kepple has bachelor's and master's degrees in education and is a lifelong resident of the town, Simmons said. 

“She has served in multiple leadership positions on education committees as a member of the education department,” he said.

Simmons said that when he talked with Kepple about the importance of working together in a bipartisan fashion, she agreed that the board needed to put the Town of Stonington first and “not let the Town of Stonington fall into the same partisan camps that have disrupted Hartford and Washington, D.C.”

Prue, who attended the meeting via cellphone, said Kepple will be a good addition to the Board of Selectmen.

“I had a chance to meet Jocelyn on two occasions and I think she is going to be an excellent choice to fill out the remainder of the term so I’m looking forward to having her join us on the board,” he said.

Kepple will be likely be sworn in Monday but a specific time has not been set.

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