NEW BRITAIN - With the entire General Assembly up for election this November, New Britain residents will have the chance to vote out, or re-elect, their current delegation.
In the 6th Senatorial District, incumbent Terry Gerratana, a Democrat, is being challeged by Robert Smedley, a Republican. Here are profiles of the candidates:
Gerratana has been a state senator since 2011, but her history as a legislator goes back further than that, as she also held a seat in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003.
The senator formed an exploratory committee for statewide office in July 2017 before formally announcing her run for re-election in May.
Gerratana, who co-chairs the Public Health Committee, said she hopes to be back in legislature to continue the work she’s done in her last few terms.
“I’m very proud of the legislation that we’ve passed and that I’ve worked on personally addressing our opioid and substance use disorder situation in our state,” Gerratana said. “I think I’ve done legislation regarding opioid use since 2012 within a year after coming into the legislature again.”
She also serves on the Judiciary and Appropriations committees and said the issues she hears about in Connecticut are many.
“My work has always been to address our quality of life issues in the state, in education, in health care and in other ways that will help people. I’ve been a strong supporter of increasing the minimum wage and earned family and medical leave,” Gerratana said.
Gerratana said she plans on continuing her support of the three communities she serves, whether that means fighting for bonding money related to projects or other contributions. Gerratana said social justice issues and combating sexual harassment will remain priorities for her.
“I consider myself as an experienced legislator and public servant, and one who utilizes that experience to help better the community,” Gerratana said.
Smedley has been on the Common Council representing Ward 4 since 2013. He is the current minority leader.
Smedley said he thinks his experience as a three-term alderman stacks up well for a statewide run.
“I had the public’s trust - I got elected three times into office - and I think it’s because I have the ability to listen to what everybody says and apply the public’s opinion to the decisions we have to make and bring a fresh thought or a fresh idea to the table to solve an issue or budget problem,” Smedley said. “We stabilized the city’s finances by making tough decisions.”
Smedley said he is particularly interested in exploring ways to increase the amount of money the city gets from the state. He emphasized that state government needs fresh ways of thinking.
“In particular, the Education Cost Sharing algorithm that gives money to our school districts doesn’t still seem fair to me. I think there needs to be some work done on that,” Smedley said. “Nobody’s come up with solutions so I’d like to take a stab at it.”
“Municipal cost sharing, the state aid we get from the state to run the cities with, in the past it hasn’t always been paid in full and the city ends up bearing that burden,” Smedley added.
Smedley said he and Gerratana recently talked and assured each other that their race would be issue-focused.
“I shook her hand at the beginning of the race and I intend to shake her hand at the end of the race,” Smedley said.
This district also includes Berlin and Farmington.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at email@example.com.