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Meet the Candidates

West Hartford Town Council

Mary Fay

Mary M. Fay, is the Republican Minority Leader for the West Hartford Town Council, and is currently serving her second term on the Town Council.  A resident of West Hartford for 15 years, Mary is a Financial Services Senior Executive. She has held several senior business leadership roles, including Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sun Life Financial, where she also chaired diversity and inclusion employee resource groups and served on Sun Life boards. 

Mary has also been Senior Vice President of GE Capital, and Senior Vice President of ING. Starting out as a financial analyst, Mary has also held executive positions at Travelers, Hartford HealthCare, The Hartford and AIG.

Mary was raised in East Hartford and attended public schools.  She went on to graduate from Skidmore College, with a B.S. In business/accounting and a minor in government. She played basketball and started the women's softball team at Skidmore. Mary earned an M.B.A. From Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Active in her community, Mary was appointed to the West Hartford library board, is a frequent volunteer at Morley school, is active in Concerned Citizens of West Hartford and Save our Water, CT. She also serves on the board of overseers for Newton-Wellesley hospital, is chair of the reviewing stand for the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, and was named a "Top Woman in Business" by Hartford Business Journal. Mary has served as an alumni admissions correspondent for Skidmore College since graduating.  Mary was an inaugural member of West Hartford's first Parent Leadership Training Institute, where she was elected class speaker at the state wide graduation at the state capital. 

She is a member of the Irish American Home Society and The Thistle Lawn Bowling Club, and is a parishioner at St. Timothy’s.

Mary is married and has an 11 year old daughter, Katie. 


Mark Zydanowicz

Mark Zydanowicz lives with his wife and three children in West Hartford.  Mark and his wife Nella have lived in West Hartford since 1998.  Mr. Zydanowicz has served as a commissioner on the West Hartford’s Zoning Board of Appeals, 2nd Vice Chairman, 1st District for the state party, West Hartford Town Committee and is currently an elected member of the West Hartford Board of education receiving the most republican votes in the 2019 election.  Mark is serving his third term in a national award winning K-12 district. Demonstrating a professional understanding in public education to set policies concerning, financial, organizational and educational matters. Monitors and evaluates the leadership, policies and recommends annual operating and capital budgets. He’s currently serving as financial advisor to the board

Professionally, Mark was an owner and third generation family member of Guida’s Dairy, employing 260; it was one of the largest independent dairies in New England which was founded by his grandfather in 1947.  The family sold the business where Mark helped transition with the new ownership.  Zydanowicz business experience provides him with the acumen vital to understanding the importance of solid leadership and accountability to staff and clients.

Mark currently works as an Independent Consultant where he advises and assist in the development and execution in the areas of strategy, marketing and business development to drive improved revenue and profitability growth of businesses.  This period has included advising business owners and researching/developing plans for entrepreneurial/business owner opportunities.

Mark is a retired Engineer Officer Honorable Discharged in 2016 (25 years). Retired as a Major and the Headquarters Commander of the Connecticut Training Center in the Connecticut Army National Guard. He’s an Iraq war veteran where he earned the Combat Action Badge and a Bronze Star.

He has also coached in the Minor Division of the West Harford Girls Basket Ball League and West Hartford Youth Football. 


Alberto Cortes

My name is Alberto Cortes and I am a Republican Candidate for  West Hartford Town Council.

I was born and raised in the City of Hartford and moved to West Hartford in 1998 with my wife Jessica Serrano. Jessica taught at Sedgwick Middle School for many years before moving to a teaching position in the city of Hartford.  We have two boys, Gabriel who attends King Philip School and Adrian, who graduated from the Post Secondary School in West Hartford. I retired from the Connecticut Department of Corrections with 20 years of service. I am a veteran of the Connecticut Army National Guard, an active member of my church, and the Vice Chair of the West Hartford Civilian Police Review Board.

I am running for Town Council because as a longtime West Hartford resident, I am concerned with the fiscal climate and public safety issues in our town . I would love the opportunity to advocate for our residents, to strengthen our schools, and push for our legislators to hold repeat offenders accountable for their actions. I want the opportunity to continue to serve the residents of West Hartford and give our town the leadership it needs and deserves. We need to right size our government, create sustainable pro-business policies, and make public safety a priority. I have been a public servant for over 20 years, a leader, and a willing volunteer in our community.

 As a former corrections officer, public safety is important to me, and I think it is important to everyone. However, failed policies from the Governor’s office and the democrat legislators have put our town in a vulnerable position for crime. West Hartford residents are repeatedly victims of car burglaries. We recently experienced a carjacking with a child inside the car. When is it enough? I will do everything I can, if elected, to ensure our police department has the proper resources to address the increase in crime.

A little about me:

  • Member of the West Hartford United Methodist Church Racial Justice Activation Team
  • Vice Chair of the West Hartford Civilian Police Review Board
  • Served in the CT Army National Guard for 6 years
  • Worked for CT Department of Corrections for 20 years as a Corrections Officer
  • Served as a Union Steward for AFSCME local 387 and 391
  • Served as Walk Chair for Greater Hartford Autism Speaks for 2 years
  • Advocated for individuals on the spectrum in Washington D.C.
  • Member and Director of Safety at West Hartford United Methodist Church
  • Served on the West Hartford Veterans Affairs Commission
  • Received West Hartford Police Department Recognition Award



West Hartford Board of Education

Dr. Gayle Harris
Gayle  was born in Arizona but has lived almost her entire life in West Hartford.  She attended both Jewish schools in town and King Philip and Hall High School.
Gayle  raised 4 children in town and they all attended Jewish schools, West Hartford  Public Schools and private schools. 
Her  youngest child is now a rising junior at CCSU.
Gayle  attended Bar Ilan university , WPI and UCONN Medical school.  She graduated from the Saint Francis Residency program and has practiced OBGYN  in private practice  for over 20 years.  She is dedicated to women's healthcare
and has worked in various leadership roles in the past in OBGYN.
She is  involved in religious life in town  and works regularly  with incarcerated women to achieve better health outcomes in this population.  She has previously worked as a one on one  mentor with high school students for the DCF program.
Gayle has served on various executive boards of area schools


Paid for by the West Hartford Republican Town Committee - Ethan Goldman, Treasurer
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