Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
GOP picks Inland Wetlands member for council seat

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Published: Monday, September 15, 2008 2:09 PM EDT

VERNON — Republicans have chosen Inland Wetlands Commission member Harry D. Thomas to fill the Town Council seat left vacant by Peggy Jackle’s recent resignation.

The Republican Town Committee unanimously voted at its Sept. 10 meeting to endorse Thomas, 77, of 125 Dockerel Road, Town Committee Chairman Harold Cummings said.

Cummings has asked Mayor Jason L. McCoy to put Thomas’ nomination on Tuesday’s Town Council agenda, for a vote by the full council.

Should he be accepted, Thomas would immediately take over the seat won in the last election by Jackle. He would finish out her term, which ends in November 2009.

Jackle, the second highest vote-getter on the Town Council, resigned Sept. 1 to take a job as administrative assistant to the superintendent of schools in Chatham, Mass. She will be relocating to Cape Cod.

Thomas was appointed by former Mayor Ellen Marmer, a Democrat, to the Inland Wetlands Commission in 2006, serving as secretary and vice chairman of the panel. He has been an outspoken advocate for the group.

In June 2007 he petitioned the Republican-led council to not institute a hiring freeze that could have blocked the filling of a vacant position for town planner and town engineer.

He was a strong supporter of Sean Sullivan, the 2008 Republican candidate for Congress who tried unsuccessfully to unseat 2nd district Congressman Joseph D. Courtney.

And along with the commission, he endorsed Inland Wetlands’ Chairman Steve Taylor in his bid last year for a seat on the Town Council. Taylor is a Democrat.

According to his resume, Thomas was born in Wales and at age 9 immigrated to Canada with his parents. A few years later the family relocated to Long Island, where they obtained U.S. citizenship.

An electrical engineer who graduated from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1955, Thomas says he spent two years at Harvard University in the pre-med program and withdrew before he was asked to leave.

Thomas wrote in his resume that he had “became painfully quite aware I was not MD material.”

He served in the Naval Reserve from 1950-64, and married his first wife, Joan Catharine Martin, in 1954. He spent nearly 30 years working for the Long Island Lighting Company before moving to Windsor in 1984 and taking a job with Northeast Utilities. He retired 10 years later, only to lose his wife, who died in 1995.

In May 1999 Thomas married his current wife, Merrilee Dianne Green, and moved to Vernon.

He is the patriarch of a large brood: father to six biological children and one stepson, grandfather to 12, and great-grandfather to one.

Thomas lists many hobbies, including wireless radio, boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. He earned his Eagle Scout badge as a Boy Scout and is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

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