PLAINVILLE â€“ Richard Ireland Jr. is the Plainville Democratic Town Committeeâ€™s endorsed candidate to run against Republican William Petit Jr. for control of the 22nd House District in Connecticut, which also includes parts of New Britain.
Ireland, who previously ran for town council, said that he felt that he had â€śsolutions to some of the problems we faceâ€ť in not only the district but the state as a whole.
â€śIf elected, I want to try to help balance the budget,â€ť he said. â€śWe should examine the entire budget, all the way through. Just cutting state employees and programs wonâ€™t solve the problem. We have too much debt to solve the problem that way; thereâ€™s no way we could do it.â€ť
Ireland said that he wants to â€śspread the pain aroundâ€ť rather than having cuts just affect state employees. He said that management positions must also be considered.
â€śWe should also look at ways that things can be done better,â€ť he said. â€śWe should encourage people to use online registration services, for example, which save money, rather than still doing things the old fashioned way.â€ť
Ireland said some of his other goals, if elected, include attracting companies to come to Connecticut and making sure that schools enforce anti-bullying policies. He said that he also wants to make sure that Plainville gets the money it has been promised by the state, both in education cost sharing funds and for projects such as the Wheeler School renovation.
Ireland said has lived in Plainville for 27 years as of this August and that he has â€śgotten to like it here.â€ť
He has become active in the community with civic service work on on Plainvilleâ€™s Recycling & Solid Waste Commission and the Linden School Committee, serving as constable. aHis wife Rebecca serves on the Recycling & Solid Waste and Linden commissions with him and also serves on the Library Board.
â€śI like giving back because I like to help people whenever I can,â€ť he said. â€śAs John F. Kennedy said, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.â€ť
After receiving his partyâ€™s endorsement in May, Ireland said that he has spoken with voters about a wide range of issues, from taxes to Tilconâ€™s proposal to relocate quarry operations onto land belonging to the New Britain Water Department.
The plan includes creating a forested buffer around the new site and quarrying for 40 years before re-mediating the site and creating a reservoir. In exchange, Tilcon would provide 157 acres of open space to Plainville, 95 to New Britain and 75 to Southington. Opponents have argued doing so would negatively impact the environment and the animals living in that area.
â€śIâ€™ve been reading up on it and trying to get a clear picture,â€ť said Ireland. â€śIâ€™m leaning toward opposing it due to environmental concerns, which proponents have not been talking much about.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.