19 candidates for state office make case to realtors, home builders
Norwich — Nineteen candidates for the Connecticut General Assembly on Wednesday morning addressed a meeting of the Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors and the Home Builder and Remodelers Association of Eastern Connecticut, each giving a two-minute plea for why people should vote for him or her.
The lineup included 15 Democrats and four Republicans. The 15 races represented are for seats currently held by eight Republicans and seven Democrats.
Recurrent messages included stressing the need for workforce development, decrying tax and toll proposals, and calling for an end to regulations that hold back businesses.
“The people in power spend too much, they borrow too much, they tax too much,” said Rep. Doug Dubitsky, R-Chaplin. “We need to change that.”
Both Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, and John Scott, the Republican hoping to retake the 40th House District seat he held before losing to Christine Conley in 2016, spoke in favor of rolling back the conveyance tax and against implementing tolls.
Republican candidate for the 46th House District Andrew Lockwood also voiced opposition to tolls, and said he soon would be introducing a plan for changing the DMV.
“We need to stop having the government pay for everything,” said Ken Richards, a Republican running for the house seat held by Joe de la Cruz. “We need to work for ourselves.”
Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, focused on workforce development, talking about the need to work not only with Electric Boat but also with small manufacturers and with community colleges.
Her Republican opponent for the 19th Senate District, Mark Lounsbury, said that the realtors and builders in the room are adversely affected by regulations, mandates and taxes.
Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, commented, “Government’s role should be: What can we do to create the kind of vibrant economy that brings in more revenue, that allows us to spend on things that are more important, like our vulnerable seniors, like our children, like our infrastructure?”
Rep. Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford, mentioned her priorities of protecting business and education, moving seniors from nursing homes into home care, and removing costly provisions to nonprofits.
Rep. Kevin Ryan, D-Montville, said he hopes to bring back a bill that addresses exclusionary housing practices, streamline permitting processes and expand the property tax credit. His opponent, Nick DeLucia, said “businesses are leaving left and right” because of the taxes and noted that a lot of his high school classmates left Connecticut for college and never came back.
Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, kicked off a trend of Republican candidates calling for a change to the one-party leadership of Democrats.
“We have more work to do, and we can’t do it with the same people that are up there,” he said, adding, “Give us a better seat at the table and elect us [and] a Republican governor next time.”
At least three candidates repeated that there has been one-party control in Connecticut for 38 years, after Formica noted that there has been one-party rule for 38 of the last 40 years.
The exception he was referring to was 1995-96, when Republicans had control of the governorship and the Senate. Republicans also had control of the House and Senate from 1985 to 1986, and Formica later offered his apologies if he misspoke.
The last time Republicans had control before that was 1974, when Thomas Meskill was governor and Republicans held all three branches of state government.
The other speakers running for state office were David Coderre, Republican candidate for the 29th Senate District; Dan Champagne, Republican candidate for the 35th Senate District; John Perrier, Democratic candidate for the 35th Senate District; Rep. Anne Dauphinais, R-Killingly; Steve Mikutel, Democratic candidate for the 45th House District; Brian Lanoue, Republican candidate for the 45th House District; and AJ Kerouac, Republican candidate for the 50th House District.
The meeting also included remarks on the 2nd Congressional District race. Brian Coughlin, campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, spoke about Courtney’s focus on student loan debt, noting that this keeps people from buying homes.
Libertarian candidate Daniel Reale said his No. 1 issue is health care, specifically requiring providers to disclose prices upfront.