SOUTHINGTON -Democratic incumbent Liz Linehan and her Republican challenger, Diane Pagano, come from different backgrounds and have different ideas for how to improve the state.
Linehan, who was elected to the 103rd Dstrict seat in the state House of Representatives in 2016, was a town councilor in Cheshire from 2013 to 2017, when she resigned to focus on the legislature.
The 103rd District includes parts of Southington and Cheshire.
Linehan also had an eight-year career with Connecticut Public Television and has a background in marketing and entertainment.
Pagano said she has worked in corporate America for 25 years. She owns her own senior care business, Golden Au Pair, which she started 3 1/2 years ago.
Linehan opposed Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget, which she said would have caused deep cuts to towns. She is also proud of passing bills to “protect health care” and co-introduced a bill to ensure that seniors’ social security income is no longer taxed.
Pagano said that she is proud of her accomplishment in starting a successful business.
“My dad died 10 years ago at 68 and my mom died 4 years ago at 72,” said Pagano. “When this was happening, my world changed. It revealed to me that there was a real need to provide care for seniors while their family members still need to work. It took vision to create and develop this business and so far I’ve been successful.”
Linehan says she aims to shrink the state budget “without hurting the most vulnerable.” She wants to see “results based accountability” and “look at intended outcomes and then work backwards” to see if state programs need to be funded. Linehan wants to find a solution to the state’s transportation issues without bonding too much money. She said she would consider tolls if the car tax and gas tax were reduced or eliminated and if there was a credit on income taxes for residents and small businesses.
“My number one priority is to ensure that Connecticut is a more affordable place to live while ensuring that property taxes don’t go up,” she said. “I also want to make sure that kids are trained for the jobs that are available.”
Pagano said she wants to reduce taxes and regulations. She is opposed to tolls and said that if Connecticut creates an infrastructure lock box, those funds need to be protected and go toward what they are intended for.
“We need to look at what we want and what we actually need for each department,” she said.
Both Linehan and Pagano support zero-based budgeting. However, they were also critical of each other.
Linehan said that her opponent lacks experience and “says what she opposes but not how she will solve problems.”
Pagano said Linehan presents herself as a moderate, but she has voted along party lines “97 percent of the time.”
Linehan said she has a “proven track record” of fighting for her district and winning.
“I also listen to my constituents,” she said. “Some of the bills that I have proposed came from them. I am open and accessible and I’ve fought hard for the middle class.”
Pagano said that people should support her because she has “business sense and common sense.”
“I will bring that with me to Hartford,” she said.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.