Deecken to challenge Moore in 22nd

Richard Deecken
Richard Deecken

Running for election as a Republican against a popular incumbent in a left-leaning district would be daunting for some. But for Trumbull resident Richard Deecken, adversity is part of the job.

Deecken, 31, will challenge Bridgeport Democrat Marilyn Moore for the 22nd District seat in the state Senate. The district includes all of Trumbull, part of Monroe and about one-third of Bridgeport.

Republicans have struggled to gather support in heavily Democratic Bridgeport, with Robert Russo’s special election win a decade ago the only GOP triumph in the district since Angelina Lee Scarpetti’s win in 1998. Deecken, who has worked in the Bridgeport school system for 10 years, the last five at Bassick High School, where he also coached football, said he was confident his message would resonate.

“I really feel that I have a connection to the community,” he said. “I’m invested in the future of Bridgeport’s youth, and the city in general.”

Deecken said he has seen firsthand the challenges that city residents face.

“They’re hard-working, outstanding people,” Deecken said. “They want what everyone wants — the opportunity to go on to college or a career. If our state is going to recover, it starts right here.”

Toward that end, education features prominently in Deecken’s outreach. In particular, he spoke of the education gap between city schools and their suburban counterparts.

“The achievement gap exists and it needs to be closed,” he said. “As a teacher, I’ve dedicated my career to helping students achieve their full potential. There are definitely opportunities to look at [the state Education Cost Sharing formula] and make it more equitable so it works for the cities, and the towns.

Deecken said his campaign would blend traditional Republican policies with millennial generation values.

“We have a declining workforce, and Connecticut never made it out of the recession,” he said. “The biggest segment is millennials. A lot of my friends don’t live in Connecticut anymore. We just don’t have enough opportunities in this state, and that’s part of the reason why I’m running.”

Decreasing opportunities combined with the high cost of living have driven the younger generations to seek opportunities in other states, Deecken said. Having served on the town's Planning & Zoning Commission, Deecken said, he was uniquely qualified to address the problem in Hartford.

“As zoning commissioner, I’ve seen some great projects, and some that needed some improvement, and I’m pleased to have voted to approve a number of those projects,” he said. “I know Bridgeport absolutely could use the same boost. We need a comprehensive plan to bring development to our state and district that can create jobs and reduce the tax burden.”

Editor's Note — An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Deecken had been elected to the Trumbull Town Council. Deecken ran for Town Council but was not elected.