Senate race preview: Chadwick Ciocci

Out campaigning in heavily Democratic areas of Bridgeport, Republican Chadwick Ciocci said he is meeting people who are very receptive to his message.

Ciocci, challenging incumbent Sen. Anthony Musto in the 22nd District, said people everywhere were worried about finding jobs, or keeping them if they have one.

"People are really hurting," he said. "They're making less than they were, their income taxes and the sales tax went up, on top of the inflation rate making food and clothing more expensive. There is a sense that we're heading in the wrong direction."

Ciocci said he has been campaigning on a simple three-point platform of "more jobs, less taxes and a balanced budget" and that the message has been getting a warm reception.

When asked for specifics, Ciocci said pro-growth business policy would attract more businesses to the state, helping more people find employment and ultimately increasing revenue as more people return to work and pay income taxes.

First, he said, the state needs to cut wasteful spending like the proposed 9.4-mile New Britain to Hartford busway, a dedicated roadway connecting the two cities at an estimated cost of about $570 million.

Ciocci also supported ending programs like First Five, where the state has picked specific businesses to award grants and loans to.

Stabilizing the tax rate would also go a long way toward making the state more attractive to businesses," Ciocci said.

"Connecticut has a natural draw, people want to live here," he said. "But when businesses think they'll be taxed to make up for poor legislative decisions, they won't want to come here."

Businesses also need employees, and those employees need to believe that they'll be able to live in the state and not face ever-increasing taxes, Ciocci said.

"Good policy creates jobs by attracting and retaining businesses and jobs," he said. "More people working means more people paying into the system. Right now, even if a business did want to set up shop here, talented employees don't want to move to a state where their taxes and cost of living will keep going up."

In addition to his ideas about the economy, Ciocci has proposed making the Siting Council an elected body. Currently the group, which determines where communications equipment may be located, is appointed.

"These unelected bureaucrats are simply too far removed from the people who are hurt by their decisions," he said. "They need to be answerable to the people who live in the community and to the people who run the businesses that they judge."

Finally, Ciocci has endorsed a plan to allow students to complete high school in three years and to receive 50% of the cost of their senior year (about $13,000 in Trumbull) to use for college or trade school or to start a business.

"People say that amount of money won't go very far to pay for college, but that will pay for a year of community college," he said.