Legislative seats up for grabs Tuesday
Though the presidential race has dominated the news, voters will have a chance to make a much greater impact on a series of races closer to home Tuesday. Trumbull voters will choose a state senator and three state representatives to represent the town in Hartford.
State House 123rd District
The 123rd District, which includes about two-thirds of Trumbull, features a race between incumbent Republican David Rutigliano and former Police Commissioner and Town Councilman Lino Costantini.
Both men have a background as business owners, Rutigliano with the SBC Restaurant Group, which includes Southport Brewing Co. and several other establishments, and Costantini as founder of Hamden Tool & Die and Hamden Medical Co.
Costantini said his track record shows a history of supporting law enforcement and of voting his conscience, not party line.
“In the Connecticut House, I will continue to work to protect our families and build a safer Trumbull,” he said.
Costantini also said he would work across party lines to find common ground on critical issues like senior services, technical education and community colleges, and making energy more affordable during the critical winter months.
A native of Torrice, Frosinone, Italy, Costantini has been a naturalized citizen and Trumbull resident since 1977.
Rutigliano also cited his business experience, and called representing Trumbull in Hartford “the honor of my life.”
Creating jobs and opportunities in the state is essential to keeping young professionals from leaving, he said.
“The failed policies of the Democrat-controlled legislature have created such a poor business environment and we are losing our young people to other states,” he said. “If you want to get on an airplane to visit your kids, vote for a Democrat. If you would like your kids to come over for Sunday dinner, please vote for me and others like me.”
In the 134th District, which covers Fairfield and parts of Trumbull, Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Fred Garrity, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Laura Devlin of Fairfield.
Garrity called running for state representative “enlightening” and cited voters’ concerns over taxes, education funding and transportation upgrades, in that order.
Garrity pointed to his background in volunteering, and while others tout job creation, he was a job saver, he said.
“I have actually saved jobs in Connecticut, reversing the plant closure of Norden in the 1990s, saving 700 defense jobs,” he said. Keeping Norden operating required the skill and ability to work across the aisle at the local, state and corporate levels, he said.
As a zoning commissioner, Garrity has advocated controlled growth and averted costly affordable housing litigation through effective regulation, he said.
“The Democrats and Republicans on the Regional Planning Agency unanimously voted me chairman twice, for my leadership and negotiating skills,” he said. “Having spent most of my career working with unions on both sides of the table, as a labor leader and then senior management, I understand how to protect workers, and how to protect the bottom line.”
Devlin said voters could count on her to continue to be an advocate against tax-and-spend policies that are crippling the state’s economy.
Drawing businesses and people to the state will require investments in rail and highway improvements, which she said could be done without raising taxes.
Devlin has been endorsed by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Connecticut Realtors, and the League of Conservation Voters. She also has signed a “no tax increase” pledge.
“I know we can do better and that’s why I am committed to continuing my work for you in Hartford,” she said.
Note — The race between Republican Ben McGorty and Green Party candidate Angela Capinera for the 122nd District seat, which includes a small part of Trumbull, was previewed in an earlier issue.
In the state Senate, Board of Finance Chairman Elaine Hammers will attempt to return to Hartford. Hammers formerly represented the 123rd District in the state House of Representatives. Now she is attempting to win the seat currently held by Democrat Marilyn Moore of Bridgeport. The district includes all of Trumbull, about a third of Bridgeport and a small part of Monroe.
Hammers said the state economy was the driving factor behind her campaign.
“Our budget is a mess; spending is out of control and our public policies are driving people and businesses out of state, which leads to lower revenues,” she said. “Additionally, we are last or near last in every economic measure.”
Hammers, who is also a former finance director in Trumbull, said she was willing to challenge the status quo and do what was right for all three communities in the district.
“I have the skills, background and experience that we need in Hartford to properly represent the 22nd District,” she said.
Note — Marilyn Moore did not respond to a request for a statement on her candidacy. All candidate statements are available online at TrumbullTimes.com.