about mike

As a leader and volunteer, Mike has given thousands of hours of his time for the betterment of the local community. Mike currently serves as First Selectman of North Stonington CT helping to promote community wellness and execution of the town’s strategic a plan and initiatives. Mike was the Chairman of the North Stonington School Modernization committee, President of the YMCA’s Westerly Dolphins Swim team, & Secretary of the Mystic Rotary Club. He was a committee member of The Informed Citizens of North Stonington. He is a Past President of the Misquamicut Business Association and was instrumental in the organization and founding of their signature fundraising event The Aloha Luau. Mike was on the Board of Directors for the Westerly Adult Day Center and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for Elderly or RI. Over the past fifteen years, Mike had been very active in his local parish working as a CCD teacher. Mike has served on The Board of Finance for The Town of North Stonington as well as the Liaison to The Board of Education. He also served as a mentor to a child in the Westerly School system for nine years. Finally Mike is a member of the NoStoFest committee, the town street fair celebrating all things North Stoningon. These are just a sampling of the volunteer efforts and causes which Mike has been involved.


The Issues

Read more about where Mike stands on the issues.

Government Transparency

● Weekly First Selectman Updates written or video

● Social Media Presence (#mynosto social media)

● Launched OpenGov public budget transparency website

● Website update

● Facebook Live interactive budgeting discussions

● Collaborative budgeting process with Board of Selectmen, Finance, Education

● Established Communications committee

● Created Capital Projects workgroup for short and long term planning

Economic Growth

● New Businesses

● Rte. 2 zoning change

● Village Overlay Area zoning realigned with historic map

● Movement forward on sewer/water initiatives

● Water Tower Study completed

Cultural Growth

● Southeastern Cultural Coalition partnership

● NoSto Fest event creation

● Hewitt Property utilization

● Joined the SustainableCT movement in CT

Town Growth

● School Modernization

● Emergency Services Building

● Recreation Center

● Strategic Plan created

● Board  and Commission increased involvement / more collaboration

● 3 bridges slated for replacement in town within next year

● Creation of Keeping North Stonington Affordable group

Next Steps

1. Work to attract and retain businesses that will add vibrancy to our community while reducing the tax burden on individuals by growing our grand list.

2. Seeing through our major complex projects (bridges, schools).

3. Establishing resolution on water/sewer needs in industrial and economic development zones.

4. Finishing projects aimed at energy savings and renewable energy for town and residents.

5. Help get affordable housing projects initiated to help residents work, live, and stay here in town.

Candidate Corner


Meet Jen Pensa

Jen moved to Guilford CT in 2001 and raised her two children there. Jen has a daughter, 24, and a son 22. She moved to North Stonington with her husband in May of 2018 when she took the position of Director of Operations and Technology at Chelsea Groton Bank. She has always been active in her community and believes in participating locally to ensure our communities thrive. Jen is a graduate of Penn State University and enjoys walking her dog (Ted) and spending time with her husband and kids. Jen is seeking a seat on Planning and Zoning. Your support is appreciated.


Meet John Varas

John is the proud father of two children and husband to his beautiful wife Beth. John is the owner of a custom home building business for 20 years now. He focuses on the needs of the owners, while guiding them through the whole process. John has worked alongside numerous local architects and multiple town officials to ensure his clients get what they want in their home, while providing professional advice. Doing things right and keeping a lasting relationship with his clients is important. In his downtime, John enjoys golfing, surfing, baseball, gaming, and music. John Varas is seeking a seat as an alternate on Zoning Board of Appeals. Please support John on November 5th.


Meet Karen (Nicole) Porter

Nicole has been a resident of North Stonington for 23 years. Her and her husband Rod raised their two daughters here. The girls are grown, successful and off on their own now. Nicole and Rod are both looking to become more involved with the town they love. She joined the Communications Committee and has been an active member for about a year. Nicole is looking for more and wants to stay involved. She is passionate about bringing the right kind of business into NoSto! Something that will maintain the rural character while adding to our tax base. Nicole is on the ballot for Economic Development. Please support her on November 5th.

Meet Joan Kepler

Joan has served as Registrar of Voters since 2014. Prior to that, Joan served as Deputy Registrar of Voters. North Stonington has been her home since 1979. Joan is retired, married with two children and grandchildren. Joan is seeking a seat on Zoning Board of Appeals.


Meet Jen Anderson

Jen resides in North Stonington with her husband and two young boys, two black cats and one crazy dog. Jen and her husband Jeremy moved to North Stonington shortly after getting married 11 years ago. Both moved to town to be closer to work and just fell in love with the community. Both children are flourishing in the school system and continue to enjoy getting up and going to school each day. Jen has her Masters Degree of Science in Occupational Therapy. She is currently working at Avalon Health Center and Hartford Health Care at Home as an Occupational Therapist. Jen currently serves on the Economic Development Committee and enjoys learning about the town's history. She continues to look forward to collaborating with other board members and committees to see what more NoSto can offer. Jen enjoys serving the town and is seeking election to the Economic Development Committee.

Meet Darren Robert

Darren L. Robert, Ed.D. is a lifelong resident of North Stonington where he and his wife Jane, have raised three daughters. After receiving a Bachelors of Science degree and a certification in teaching from Eastern Connecticut State University he traveled to West Virginia University where he completed a Master of Science degree and a Doctorate in Teacher Education. He has been a Professor at Eastern Connecticut State University for 22 years where he teaches in the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department. Darren has been very active in school and community functions and has spent many hours volunteering for PTO fundraisers, school field trips, and Board of Education responsibilities. Darren has been on the Board Of Education for over 20 years and he is very excited about the future of education in North Stonington! We are very lucky to have Darren! Please support his re-election to the Board of Education.


Meet Constance (Connie) Berardi

Connie is an incumbent member of North Stonington's Planning and Zoning Commission. She shows team support and works for the best interest in the town’s vision for future growth. Connie has volunteered to be a committee member of NoSto Festival for 2 years and served as Treasurer for the Democratic Town Committee. Connie spent 30 years in hospitality management, and business accounting. She resides on Pine Woods Road with husband Wayne Berardi. Please support Connie and re-elect her to Planning and Zoning and elect her to Board of Finance.


Meet Carolyn Howell

Carolyn is married and has an adult child. She has lived in North Stonington since 1984 and is a graduate of Wheeler High School. For the last twenty-one years, Carolyn has been the Medical Practice Manager for ENT of SECT. Carolyn is currently serving a 4-year term on the Board of Finance. She volunteers her time as a Life Associate Member of the North Stonington Volunteer Fire Company. Carolyn currently serves as a member on the Board of the North Stonington Agricultural Fair. Carolyn has volunteered her time with Dr. Stefana Pecher for over the past year and a half. She assisted Dr. Pecher in establishing her non-profit, BetterTogetherCT.org, which was recently granted 501(c)(3) status and is located in North Stonington. This non-profit will focus on retraining/reintegrating combat veterans back into the community, in addition to other community member bridging activities and events. Carolyn has a proven track record of being able to work well with others, personally and professionally. Carolyn loves North Stonington, and if re-elected will continue to work across party lines in a positive and effective way. She will continue to “think outside the box” and try to help to find ways to provide transparency in how our tax dollars are spent so that we, as a community, can share ideas and solutions to ultimately keep costs as low as possible without sacrificing the services that the tax payers have come to expect and rely on from our town government. Please re-elect Carolyn to the Board of Finance.


Meet Mark Donahue

Mark brings proven experience both from his prior seat as Chair of the Board of Finance, and from three terms on the Board of Selectmen that will allow him to continue to contribute to the town. As the incumbent Treasurer, he has been working to improve the treasury procedures, as well as increasing security and accountability in the Town's financial transactions. A North Stonington native, Mark holds an engineering degree from Notre Dame, a graduate degree in Operations Management from RPI, and a Professional Engineer license. His career includes supervisory and management positions in the chemical, pharmaceutical, automotive, nuclear, mass transit, electronic, and aerospace industries. An Industrial Operations Manager at Pratt & Whitney, Mark can apply his financial and business skills to maintain a responsible fiscal policy and help North Stonington handle its coming challenges. He and his wife Robbin have 7 grown children and 6 grandchildren. Re-elect Mark for Town Treasurer.


Meet Mark Leonard

Mark Leonard grew up in Cumberland, RI. He moved to town in 2015 with his wife, North Stonington native, Margaret Leonard. Mark currently is a manager for Apple in Providence, RI, where he has worked since 2007. Since moving to town, Mark has become a regular member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Additionally, he was Secretary and then Chairperson for the Town of North Stonington's Communications Committee. Mark is currently seeking to fill a vacancy on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission. His goal is to assist in protecting our town’s rural identity, while attracting new businesses that grow our tax base and ease the burden on our individual taxpayers. Thank you for considering Mark Leonard for Planning and Zoning.


Meet Dick Seager

Born 1942 in Brockton Massachusetts, Dick graduated from Brockton High School in 1961. He continued his education at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, earning a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, 1965. Dick joined the United States Army, 3rd Armored Division, V Corp, NATO, from 1965-1968. He attended the University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg Germany, Cartography and Graphic Design 1967 and then Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, Industrial Design Management 1970-1971. Dick continued on to New York University, Packaging Design, 1975 Professional Industrial designer. He is currently the Principal of Richards Associates Incorporated. Dick has been involved in many committees through out the years including: Mystic Historic District Commission, 1985-2009, Commissioner, Vice Chairman and Chairman North Stonington Historical Society, Board of Trustees, Curatorial Committee Chairman North Stonington Representative to the Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Wild and Scenic River Study Committee, Chairman of the Outreach Committee, 2015-2018 Member and North Stonington Representative to the Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Wild and Scenic River Commission Dick is seeking the alternate position on Planning and Zoning. His knowledge and experiences will be an asset to the committee.

Get in Touch

Reach out to Mike with questions or concerns.