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Waterbury taps a Democrat to replace Mayor O'Leary. That could help clean up Brass City brownfields

Paul Pernerewski, a Democratic protégé of retiring Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, is now mayor-elect in the city.

Pernerewski, the president of the Waterbury Board of Aldermen, defeated Republican Dawn Maiorano and petitioning candidates Karen Jackson and Keisha Gilliams Tuesday night in an open mayoral election.

Continuing with a Democrat at the helm of city leadership could support Waterbury’s efforts to decontaminate and then redevelop at least 30 brownfields.

“O’Leary has been seen as a state leader on brownfield remediation and has been lauded by the EPA and DEEP for his work on brownfields,” Waterbury Republican-American reporter Livi Stanford said on Connecticut Public’s “The Wheelhouse” on Wednesday. “Many in the state, including the Lieutenant Governor, the Governor, and others, have said that they believe Mr. Pernerewski will continue that important transition.”

There are currently a dozen brownfields in Waterbury actively being remediated, Stanford said.

Pernerewski, 62, is a former general counsel for the Connecticut Airport Authority. He won Tuesday’s election by 577 votes.

O’Leary, the city’s mayor since 2011 – and, before that, the chief of police in Waterbury – announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t run for re-election.

Frankie Graziano is the host of 'The Wheelhouse,' focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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