NEW BRITAIN - With four months to go until voters cast their ballots, New Britain state Rep. Robert “Bobby” Sanchez is lined up for an uncontested race for his District 25 seat in the Connecticut General Assembly.
The Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission’s filing deadline for candidates was June 12. The city’s Republican Town Committee endorsed candidates for House District 24, House District 26 and Senate District 6, but no candidate was put forward to challenge the Democrat Sanchez for his seat.
“I was a little stunned that they didn’t put someone up against me,” Sanchez told The Herald. “But I think it goes to show that I’m a person, I’m an individual that can work with anybody - that’s who I am. For me it’s all about New Britain, it’s not about party.”
Sanchez said he has a great relationship with the city’s current Assembly delegation, even the city’s representative who is on the other side of the aisle, state Rep. William Petit Jr.
“We get along very well, we work well together and we see eye-to-eye on many things,” Sanchez said of Petit. “Right now, the team that we have together up in Hartford works together and we’re making things happen. I’ve always been taught if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
In the recent 2017 legislative session, Sanchez served as vice chair of the state’s Education Committee. Education in the state, especially in regards to Connecticut’s youngest children, has been a prominent issue for Sanchez in his years of public service.
In regards to this last legislative session, Sanchez said he’s proud of the work he and his Assembly colleagues have done in getting funding for the city. Sanchez helped secure $42 million in funding for the city’s Smalley Elementary School project and $2.2 million in additional Education Cost Sharing grants for 2018-2019.
Sanchez also praised the bipartisan budget the Assembly passed last fall. He said New Britain’s delegation was able to minimize the negative impact of the budget, which gave several municipalities much less funding than in years’ past.
“Many other communities did not come out so great, they lost a couple million,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez was first elected to the state Assembly in 2011 after running unopposed in a special election. He has been reelected handily three times since then, most recently in 2016 when he defeated Republican challenger Richard Gadomski and Green Party candidate Martha Kelly.
Looking forward, Sanchez said he’ll continue focusing on three pillars - job creation, education, and the state’s safety net programs for people struggling to find work and income. He also thinks finding a way to make college debt more manageable and affordable to students should be a top priority for the state.
“I don’t believe in just handouts, I believe in helping people out to improve their lives and become successful,” Sanchez said of the need for good education and programs to help low-income people.
The state representative spoke highly of the Energy and Innovation Park project planned for the old Stanley Works campus in New Britain. The project, which will bring a fuel cell grid to the city, received approval from the state in June. Sanchez and his Assembly colleagues sent a letter of support for the project to Gov. Dannel Malloy earlier this year.
“It’s going to bring a couple of thousand jobs to the city, it’s going to help the city with revenue,” Sanchez said. “Those are the things I like to see and I want to see so many others come to fruition.”
Sanchez said he’s going to continue to work with his General Assembly peers and the governor in his next term, no matter who is in office.
“I’m going to continue being who I am,” Sanchez said. “I’m all about working to make sure the city gets its fair share, or better.”
The 2018 election is November 6.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.