Moore, McCarthy vie for 22nd District nod

Politically, Marilyn Moore and Tom McCarthy have quite a bit in common. They both favor some sort of highway toll on the state’s borders. They both cite the Educational Cost Sharing system as being in dire need of overhaul. And they both want to be the Democratic nominee for the 22nd District Senate seat that Moore currently holds.

No stranger to party primaries, Moore unseated Anthony Musto, Trumbull’s current town treasurer, in a 2014 primary. She said she has tried hard to fairly represent the 22nd District, which includes all of Trumbull, a small part of Monroe and about ⅓ of Bridgeport.

“In my first six months in office, I met with the first selectman, the public works director and the police chief,” she said. “I also visited Stern Village and helped get $800,000 in state funding there.”

Moore also cited her work with Trumbull’s Republican state representatives on combating opiate abuse in the area.

“The way I look at it, I’ve done more for Trumbull than I have for Bridgeport,” she said.

McCarthy, seeking state office for the first time, is an eight-term Bridgeport city councilman and is currently in his fifth term serving as the council president. He represents a district that extends roughly from Central High School north along the Madison Avenue corridor to the area of Testo’s restaurant.

Despite being the challenger, McCarthy won the endorsement of the district’s Democratic Party, including virtually all of the Trumbull delegation.

“I’m very proud to have the support of people like Anthony Musto, Ray Baldwin, Vicki Tesoro and Mary Beth Thornton,” McCarthy said. Despite being a city councilman, McCarthy said he has worked with Trumbull officials in the past on a number of issues, including improvements to Central High School and Black Rock School, made while Musto was representing the district.

“I have a track record of bringing people together, which is a necessity with a city as diverse as Bridgeport,” McCarthy said.

Despite being a rookie legislator this term, Moore said she was proud of her track record, which includes being named chairman of the Human Services Committee.

“This was very important to me because that committee covers a lot of things of concern to people in the district, like elder care and the treatment of people with disabilities,” she said.

Moore also sponsored a bill concerning conflict of interest, which limited state employees from also serving as an elected state official. That bill passed out of the Senate, but stalled in the House of Representatives. Moore said she would reintroduce the bill should she win re-election.

Both candidates cited the state’s Education Cost Sharing, in which the state funds school systems according to a formula based on demographics and the relative affluence of a community, was deeply flawed.

“It’s time to look at how the money is coming into the cities and figure out what’s fair,” Moore said.

McCarthy agreed that the system short-changes the suburban towns, which tend to be more affluent than the cities.

“There is this perception that everyone in Trumbull and Monroe is well-off and can afford to pay more but that’s simply not the case,” he said. “There needs to be a fairness factor that reflects the reality that a lot of working-class families live in the suburbs.”

Both candidates also favor property tax reform. Property taxes tend to work against cities, which have high populations but limited land. Plus much of the land in cities is in need of remediation after decades of industrial use.

Both also agree that the free ride for out-of-state companies on the state’s highways needs to stop and both embrace some form of highway tolls along the state borders.

“I can’t go to Massachusetts without paying a toll, but they can come to Connecticut for free,” Moore said.

McCarthy added that companies from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania use state highways to transport their freight to Boston and the rest of New England, placing wear and tear on the highways without paying a dime to help maintain them.

State residents, who already fund the highways with their taxes, could be spared the brunt of the tolls, with Moore suggesting building a toll rebate into car registration fees. McCarthy said he favored allowing state residents to deduct their toll receipts from their annual tax returns.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Trumbull Republican Elaine Hammers in November. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and those in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

McCarthy urged Trumbull Democrats to follow the lead of Musto, Baldwin and the other town party leaders and support his candidacy. Moore cited her endorsement by the state education association and the accomplishments of her first term.

“I’ve met my promises,” she said.