SOUTHINGTON – Local legislative candidates have issued their messages to voters asking for their support on Nov. 3. The town of Southington has races for five districts.
The seat for House District 30, which represents Southington and Berlin, is up for grabs as Rep. Joe Aresimowicz is not seeking re-election. Vying for the seat are Democrat JoAnn Angelico-Stetson and Republican Donna Veach.
“I am running because I can no longer sit on the sidelines and pretend the gross ineptitude in our state government is not affecting my family, my community and our beautiful state,” Veach said. “We need fiscal restraint, empowered law enforcement and quality, relevant public education.”
Angelico-Stetson said Connecticut needs to take “real action” in response to the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I will focus on efforts to revive the state economy, such as re-employment measures post-covid, tax relief and healthcare protections, including making healthcare affordable for all Connecticut families and businesses,” she said. “Nothing is more important to me than making sure that no one is left behind in our economic recovery. With my experience in government and law, I am the most qualified candidate for this job, and look forward to being a champion for the people of Southington and Berlin."
In the race for the House District 81, which includes Southington, incumbent Republican John Fusco is facing off with Democratic challenger Dagmara Scalise.
“As someone who has experienced major medical debt and also works in healthcare, I support a more affordable and accessible health care system,” Scalise said. “Covid has hurt us deeply, but instead of going back to normal, we should be going forward, encouraging and rewarding innovation to create a better healthcare system, environment and economy. Although he’s had four years, our current rep has not meaningfully addressed any of our major issues; we can’t waste another term on ineffective legislative paper-pushing.”
Fusco said the two most important reasons people should support his candidacy are “experience and legislative balance.”
“The legislative branch has been shut down since March, and upon its eventual return to Hartford in 2021, we're going to need legislators who aren't preoccupied with having to learn the process and building relationships,” he said. “I've accomplished that enormous task and as a result am prepared to get on with the business of legislation, the state budget and economic recovery. Increasing republican representation in our state is crucial for its recovery. We must achieve a better party balance in both chambers so we can realize a collaborative effort that serves all of the people of Connecticut.”
For the House District 103, which includes Southington, Cheshire and Wallingford, Democratic incumbent Liz Linehan is being challenged by Republican Pam Salamone.
Salamone said that although she hasn’t sought public office before, the “continued rising cost of living” and a “state economy that is still going downhill” has her greatly concerned about the future of Connecticut.
“Economic growth is the only answer to our problems,” she said. “We must begin to reduce the crushing burden of taxes and regulations that have driven industries and citizens out of state. My husband and I have raised four great kids here in Cheshire, enjoying a great community and fine local schools. Keeping local control of our schools and not giving that control over to the cities by forced regionalization is one priority of mine. As a legislator, I will not support utility mandates that raise rates for small businesses and hard working families. I've also been endorsed by the Southington and Cheshire Police Unions, in an unprecedented show of support for my candidacy. They recognize that I will stand proudly with our local officers – unlike the incumbent, who supported the disastrous Police Accountability bill.”
Linehan said it has been an honor to represent the district for two terms and in that time “together, we’ve accomplished so much.”
“On your behalf, I introduced and passed a law to phase out the state income tax on social security, pensions and annuities for middle class families,” she said. “I’ve brought home hundreds of millions of dollars in state and educational aid to keep our schools strong and your property taxes flat. I’ve had the pleasure of helping individuals, families and businesses through covid shutdowns by helping residents apply for and receive unemployment, assist businesses with loans and programs to keep their doors open and workers employed and even helped the police departments stay fully staffed during the pandemic in the interest of public safety. I’ve protected your healthcare by authoring laws which keep you covered regardless of what happens on the federal level and the Supreme Court. While I’ve been successful for my district, I know there is still much more to accomplish. It’s important to have an experienced, trusted leader to guide us through the recession and rebuild the economy, while ensuring residents stay safe and healthy.”
House District 80, which includes Southington and Wolcott, is currently represented by Gale Mastrofrancesco, who is being challenged for her seat by Democrat John “Corky” Mazurek.
“I served in this office as State Rep. from 2003 to 2010,” Mazurek said. “During that time I worked to deliver numerous state grants to Southington taxpayers including $215 Calendar House improvements, $590 to the YMCA Child Care Center, $215 for the Southington Drive In, $687 for the Southington Readiness Center, $100 for the Southington Bulk Transfer Center, $337 for Southington Open Space and $125 for Southington Camp Sloper. All of this saves you, the taxpayers of Southington, tax dollars. Let me ask you, what have we received over the past two years? I retired from Pratt & Whitney after 47 years on June 30 and wish to re-enter public service.”
Mastrofrancesco is also no stranger to public service. She pointed out she was elected for 10 years to the Wolcott Town Council before being elected to State Rep. in 2018.
“My work has always focused on what matters most, the people I represent, and I do not let partisan politics influence my decisions,” she said. “My priorities have been to reduce the tax burden on citizens and business, control state spending, reduce the size of government and ensure Southington and Wolcott receive their fair share of funding. I believe in American traditions of limited government, freedom, liberty, fiscal responsibility and preserving and protecting the constitutional principles this country was built upon.”
Senate District 16, which includes Southington, Cheshire, Prospect, Waterbury and Wolcott, is currently represented by Republican Rob Sampson. This year he faces off with Democratic challenger Jack Perry.
Perry said that, as a small business owner and job creator, he knows how “partisan politics can get in the way of economic growth.”
“I’m running for the Connecticut State Senate because we need someone who will work with anyone, regardless of political party, to create jobs and opportunities,” he said. “I believe our voice is not being listened to in Hartford. For far too long we've been sending career politicians instead of people who are in touch with the community, and one of us. First and foremost my career will always be my business and my votes will reflect the voice of the people of Southington, Cheshire, Prospect, Waterbury and Wolcott, not an ideology or any political party’s platform. I want to bring my experience, my energy, work ethic and a new way of solving problems to Hartford. In Hartford I plan to work to protect our economy and position it for job growth, legislation that will further a returning to normalcy, and reducing the cost of our energy and prescription drugs. We must craft an effective response to the covid-19 crisis by the legislature. Economic growth now more than ever is connected to a good public health strategy. Connecticut has led the way in the fight against covid-19 and business leaders have taken note as have many are now looking to get in on our way of life, this has shown in the recent real estate boom. If elected I will also take on the greed of prescription drug prices and the greed of Eversource.”
Sampson said he is running for re-election because “the next generation of Americans deserves the same freedom and opportunity we have had.”
“I am determined to restore the principles of hard work and self-reliance that made us the greatest, most prosperous nation in history,” he said. “Our beautiful state has been poorly managed for decades. High taxes and outrageous energy costs drive away our neighbors and bankrupt local businesses. I will work to reverse this trend and use my experience and vision to make us stronger than ever. This election will define the future nature of our state and nation.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.