Stonington Borough honors Charlie Holland after ‘election’ as honorary mayor

December 17, 2018

Stonington Borough honors Charlie Holland after ‘election’ as honorary mayor


STONINGTON — The borough of Stonington welcomed Charlie Holland as its first honorary mayor on Saturday at the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society in a reception that can only be described as joyful.

Albert Kausch, a Stonington resident and professor at URI, began Charlie’s “campaign” in November, against the backdrop of a contentious election season. As Kausch described it, he saw Holland on a park bench reading the paper and said to himself, “Charlie should be the mayor!”

From there, Kausch single-handedly manned a campaign, creating flyers and placing ballot boxes in several town locations, asking for the community’s votes.

More than 2,000 votes were cast (the voting was not restricted to borough residents, and people could cast multiple votes), and Charlie, as expected, won by a landslide.

Holland, now 93, best known for fronting the Charlie Holland Band since his high school years, is a World War II veteran, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, and a longtime employee of Chrysler.

Many town officials, in addition to friends, family, and supporters, were on hand to celebrate.

State Sen. Heather Somers first presented Holland with a citation from the Connecticut Senate, congratulating him on receiving 2,000 votes in a town of 800, and sharing an accolade that included, “No one deserves this honor more than you do.”

Deputy Secretary of State Scott Bates next presented a proclamation, stating that Holland’s nomination was “about service to country over party. You’re about community, and giving back to people, and bringing people together. You have a kind word for everyone.” He later noted that the Stonington community “is united in recognizing your lifetime of dedication and devotion to your neighbors and to your country.”

Bates’ concluding statement: “Charlie Holland, through music and charm, you bring joy to all who know you. May you enjoy many successful years as honorary mayor of Stonington borough,” was met with thunderous applause.

Kausch delivered a short speech, then presented Holland with a scrapbook containing the history of his campaign, along with several completed ballot forms.

In response, Holland said, “I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination of honorary mayor of Stonington Borough. It is a great privilege for me to serve my fellow friends and family whom I deeply love and cherish. I am a man who has been blessed by this title and the continued love and support of all of you who are here.”

He said his first orders of business were, “giving women the right to vote, keeping all bars and pubs open until at least 11 p.m., and making Dewar’s scotch the honorary drink of the borough.”

Kausch was pleased with the outcome of his labors. “I woke up one morning and thought it was the right thing to do. He’s a special citizen who should be recognized in a special way. I think other communities should do this to recognize special people in their communities,” then mused, “They should do this in Westerly!”

First Selectman Rob Simmons joined in the celebration by making a short speech, and imparted some friendly political advice like, “get a dog,” and “make sure your office has a back door so you can escape,” before officially proclaiming Dec. 15 Charlie Holland Day in Stonington Borough.

When asked about being nominated by Kausch, Holland laughed, “He forced me to do it!”

“I asked him seven times!” Kausch added.

Holland explained he felt so good, he is now planning to run for president.