March 29, 2017

Carney Testifies in Support of Harsher Drug Dealer Penalties

State Rep. Devin Carney testifies during the Judiciary Committee hearing on proposals to introduce stricter penalties for drug dealers.

Proposals Seek to Increase Penalties for the Possession and Distribution of Narcotics

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) testified this week before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee in support of three proposals that would seek to create harsher penalties for possession and distribution of narcotics.

Specifically, Senate Bill 1039 An Act Concerning Criminal Liability In The Case Of Drug Overdose Deaths, Increasing The Penalty For The Possession Of A Narcotic And Criminalizing The Misbranding Of Synthetic Drugs, House Bill 7290 An Act Increasing Penalties For Dealing Synthetic Drugs and House Bill 7292 An Act Concerning The Classification Of Drugs And Creating Drug Dealer Civil Liability.

In his remarks, Representative Carney stated, “The State of Connecticut is in the midst of an epidemic caused by fentanyl and the drug dealers who knowingly sell it to our residents. Fentanyl is so powerful that only 55 pounds of it has the power to kill every resident in Connecticut – twice. This is not normal and should not be dealt with lightly or else more of our residents, including the sons and daughters of our constituents, will die.”

According to the Hartford Courant, in 2016, 479 people who died of an overdose had fentanyl in their system – six times more than those who died two years ago when 75 people who overdosed had fentanyl in their system … In 2012, there was one death from a mix of fentanyl and heroin. In 2016, there were 276. In 2012, there were two deaths from the mixture of fentanyl and cocaine. In 2016, there were 142.

Carney continued, “The time has come to make drug dealers face stricter penalties for knowingly dealing fentanyl or other narcotics laced with it. Knowingly selling fentanyl to a drug addict or someone interested in trying an illegal narcotic is reprehensible and no one should feel pity for these dealers. Justice will be served when they are behind bars and incapable of dealing death sentences to drug addicts by supplying fentanyl to our citizens.”

The bill awaits further action by the Judiciary Committee.

Carney represents the 23rd District communities of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Share

Local Lawmakers Urge State to Support ‘The Kate’ with Tourism Signage on Rte. 9 and I-95

Rep. Carney (left), The Kate’s Director of Development Dana Foster (center), and Paul Formica (right) at the Jan. 29 public hearing on the proposal to install signs for The Kate on local highways.

Local lawmakers are urging the state legislature to help support the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (‘The Kate’) by passing legislation that would allow tourism signage for the center to be placed on Rte. 9 and I-95.

Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) and Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) submitted testimony in favor of House Bill 5574 and spoke before the Transportation Committee to urge fellow lawmakers to support the local theater. ‘The Kate’ is a theater in the Town of Old Saybrook that provides entertainment for the region and is named for Connecticut Hall-of-Famer, multiple Academy Award winner, and former Old Saybrook resident Katharine Hepburn.

“We believe that ‘The Kate’ deserves to have signage along both I-95 and Rte. 9 because it will attract tourists to the theater and create an interest for those passing by the signs,” the lawmakers said in their written testimony, adding, “Similar theaters have signage along various highways throughout the state due to their importance and popularity and ‘The Kate’ is no different.”

They continued, “It is a cultural hub with entertainment that draws people from across the state and the country. It is an economic engine, not only for Old Saybrook, but for the region as a whole and helps nearby businesses like the many restaurants and shops in town. Signage along the highway will only improve the number of tourists to town and we believe it is in the state’s best interest to promote this important theater with the signage suggested.”

Sen. Formica and Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations at The Kate, testify before the Transportation Committee in favor of House Bill 5574 An Act Concerning Signs Indication the Location of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Sen. Formica testified in person with Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations, at ‘The Kate,’ on Jan. 31, before the Transportation Committee on which Rep. Carney is a ranking member.

Foster explained the importance of signage along the highways, saying, “Signage would help our growing audiences navigate the multiple exits to Old Saybrook and help to further attract additional tourists and others to our historical building, great exhibit, and incredible arts and programming.”

Share

State Public Hearing on Proposed Rail Route to be Held Today in Hartford; Carney Urges Residents to Testify in Person or by E-mail

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

UPDATED 12:17am: (in red italics): The legislature’s Transportation Committee is hosting a public hearing today on various transportation issues, including three bills related to the Federal Rail Authority’s (FRA) proposed bypass through southeastern Connecticut.

The first objects to the proposal to build a new high speed railroad bypass through southeastern Connecticut.  The second requires municipal approval by town referendum for such a scheme to move forward and the third prohibits the state from spending any funds on such a proposal unless it has received municipal approval.

The public hearing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building – 300 Capitol Ave, Hartford. State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) is encouraging constituents and local elected officials to voice their opinions and concerns. ”

He stresses, however, “Due to high interest from across Southeastern Connecticut (and possibly Rhode Island), I am anticipating a large turnout for the public hearing on Monday. Public hearings can last a very long time, so I want to remind folks that they can submit written testimony to TRATestimony@cga.ct.gov if they cannot attend or cannot spend, potentially, several hours waiting to testify.”

Carney represents the 23rd district, which encompasses the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and a portion of Westbrook.

The Committee will hold a public hearing on a variety of bills including three mentioned above and described in more detail below that State Rep. Carney and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) drafted. The hearing will give individuals the opportunity to speak about a number of transportation concerns facing the state.

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

The following bill proposals were drafted by both Carney and Formica, and will be heard during the public hearing:

HJ 54 RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION’S PROPOSAL TO CONSTRUCT AN ALTERNATIVE AMTRAK ROUTE THROUGH SOUTHEAST CONNECTICUT

This bill proposal objects to the proposal by the FRA regarding construction of a bypass on the Northeast Corridor rail line between Old Saybrook, Connecticut to Kenyon, Rhode Island through the scenic and historic towns of southeast Connecticut.

SB 253 AN ACT REQUIRING MUNICIPAL APPROVAL OF CHANGES TO RAIL SERVICE

Carney, the leading Republican lawmaker on the legislature’s Transportation Committee, said: “Many of our constituents felt that their concerns were not properly considered and that the FRA was trying to ram this bypass proposal through without a proper public hearing from those most affected by it. We agree. So, we drafted this proposal which would require municipal approval, through referendum, for any changes to commuter rail service through an impacted community.”

SB 263 AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL APPROVAL OF CHANGES TO RAIL SERVICE

This bill proposal pairs with SB 253 in that it prohibits the state from expending funds on rail projects that did not receive municipal approval through a referendum.

Carney added, “I would encourage you to support these concepts and express your thoughts on how you feel the FRA process has gone thus far and any concerns you may have.”

To find a complete list of relevant bills on the agenda for Monday’s public hearing, visit: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TRAdata/pha/2017pha00206-R001230TRA-pha.htm

For information on how to testify visit: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/content/yourvoice.asp.

Email written testimony in Word or PDF format to TRAtestimony@cga.ct.gov.

Anyone with questions about bills or the public hearing process can contact Rep. Carney’s office at (800) 842-1423 or by email to Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Share

Sen. Linares Named Co-chairman of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

State Senator Art Linares (R-33) has been named Co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Caucus. The caucus advocates the interests of individuals with IDD and their families.

“Mahatma Gandhi said that a society will be measured by how it has treated its most vulnerable citizens,” Sen. Linares noted. “We must leave a legacy where individuals and families dealing with IDD are able to live full and complete lives. I am proud to be asked to take a leadership role in a caucus tasked with such important work.”

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-34) commented that he knows advocating for those impacted by IDD is an important issue for Sen. Linares.

“Sen. Linares is an energetic lawmaker and in this new role he will be an active ambassador to families and advocates, working hard to make their voices heard at the Capitol,” Sen. Fasano said, adding, “To best serve these families, we need to learn about the challenges they face every day. Sen. Linares will play a key role in that dialogue.”

Sen. Linares stressed that as the General Assembly faces a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit for the next fiscal year, legislators must do their best to support the needs of Connecticut’s IDD residents.

“State spending must be brought under control, but that doesn’t mean we balance the budget at the expense of those with disabilities,” he said.

Sen. Linares represents the community of Lyme along with those of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook along with Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Portland and Westbrook.

Share

Carney, Formica Hold Office Hours Today in Old Lyme

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and State Senators Paul Formica (R-20th) will hold office hours in Old Lyme at the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, located at 2 Library Ln. in Old Lyme on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

This session will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government and the 2017 Legislative Session.

For more information, contact Carney’s office at 800-842-1423 or devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District that includes Lyme and Old Lyme along with Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

Formica represents the 20th State Senate District that includes Old Lyme along with Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville (part), New London, Old Saybrook (part), Salem, and Waterford.

 

Share

Letter to the Editor: Sen. Art Linares Thanks Area Voters

To the Editor:

Representing the people of the 33rd State Senate District at the State Capitol is an incredible honor.

I consider myself so fortunate to be a voice at the State Capitol for the people of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

I will work with anyone from any political party to restore business confidence and hope, to revive Connecticut’s economy, and to make Connecticut the place where families and seniors and retirees want to invest their futures.

I love this state, and I know you do too.  That’s why I am so energized to improve our state’s policies.

Thank you for your continued support, and I encourage you to never hesitate to contact me with your ideas, comments and concerns at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or at 800 842-1421.

Sincerely,

Art Linares
Westbrook

Editor’s Note: The author was reelected for a third term to the position of State Senator for the 33rd District on Tuesday.

Share

Old Lyme, Lyme Mirror State — But Not Country — on Choosing Clinton as President; Lyme Picks Needleman Over Linares, But Incumbent Still Wins

Election workers hard at work in the Old Lyme Polling Station at Cross lane Firehouse. Photo by L. Peterson.

Election workers hard at work in the Old Lyme Polling Station at Cross lane Firehouse. Photo by L. Peterson.

At the time of writing, it appears that, like the majority in the state — but unlike the majority in the rest of the country — Lyme and Old Lyme both chose Hillary Clinton to be President.

Both town experienced exceptionally high voter turnouts, but although Lyme was able to finalize its results in the normal time frame, it was well past 10:15 p.m. before Old Lyme Moderator Larry Peterson was able to announce the results there.  This was due primarily to the Election Day Registrations (EDRs) not being received until almost 9 p.m. from the town hall and then still needing to be processed, which took more than another hour.

In keeping with the final results, both Lyme and Old Lyme voters overwhelmingly chose Democrat Richard Blumenthal to continue as their US Senator, Democrat Joe Courtney to be their US Congressional Representative (2nd), and the uncontested Republican Devin Carney to be their State Representative (23rd).

In Old Lyme, in keeping with the final result, voters returned Republican Paul Formica as their State Senator (20th) for a second term while up in Lyme, unlike the final result, which saw Linares cruise to a comfortable victory in the 12-town district, voters chose Democratic challenger Norm Needleman over incumbent Art Linares (R) to be their State Senator (33rd)

These are the unofficial Old Lyme results in full with the winner shown in red:

President:
Hillary Clinton (D): 2473
Donald Trump (GOP): 1990
Gary Johnson (Lib.): 142
Jill Stein (Green): 63

US Senate:
Richard Blumenthal (D): 2667 (WF): 220 (Unknown): 34  TOTAL: 2921
Dan Carter (GOP): 1661
Richard Lion (Lib.): 27
Jeffrey Russell (Green): 29

US House District 2:
Joe Courtney (D): 2758  (WF): 245  (Unknown): 21  TOTAL: 3024
Daria Novak (GOP): 1545
Daniel Reale (Lib.): 39
Jonathan Pelto (Green): 49

State Assembly 23rd District:

Devin R. Carney (GOP): 3003  (Indep): 441  Unknown: 9  TOTAL: 3453

Old Lyme Registrar of Voters:
(Both are elected)
Marilyn Clarke: 2397
Catherine Quine Carter: 2038

Additional candidates on the Old Lyme ballot are:

State Senate 20th District:

Paul Formica (GOP): 2805  (Indep.): 168  Unknown: 8  TOTAL: 2981
Ryan Henowitz (D): 1501  (WF): 81

These are the unofficial Lyme results in full with the winner shown in red:

President:
Hillary Clinton (D): 888
Donald Trump (GOP): 520
Gary Johnson (Lib.): 65
Jill Stein (Green): 27

US Senate:
Richard Blumenthal (D): 1003 (WF): 69  TOTAL: 1072
Dan Carter (GOP): 495
Richard Lion (Lib.): 9
Jeffrey Russell (Green): 16

US House District 2:
Joe Courtney (D): 1001  (WF): 78   TOTAL: 1079
Daria Novak (GOP): 479
Daniel Reale (Lib.): 13
Jonathan Pelto (Green): 19

State Assembly 23rd District:

Devin R. Carney (GOP): 1065

State Senate 33rd District:

Art Linares (GOP): 704  (Ind.): 41  TOTAL: 785
Norman Needleman (D): 789
Colin Bennet (Green):  23

Share

NYT Best-Selling Author, Prominent Foreign Policy Critic to Speak on ‘America’s War for Greater Middle East,’ Nov. 14

americas-war-for-the-greater-middle-eastThe Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) has announced that Andrew J. Bacevich – the prominent U.S. foreign policy critic and New York Times best-selling author – will deliver a presentation based on his most recent book, “America’s War for the Greater Middle East” at Connecticut College in New London on Monday, Nov. 14.  Bacevich’s talk will offer a searing assessment of U.S. involvement in the Middle East over the past 30 years – one that is likely to change the way Americans think about their country’s involvement in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

The Wall Street Journal called the book, “Bacevich’s magnum opus … a deft and rhythmic polemic aimed at America’s failures in the Middle East, from the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency to the present.”  The Washington Post said the book offers “a critical review of American policy and military involvement… Those familiar with Bacevich’s work will recognize the clarity of expression, the devastating directness and the coruscating wit that characterize the writing of one of the most articulate and incisive living critics of American foreign policy.”

The presentation, part of SECWAC’s Speaker Series, is open to SECWAC members and their guests.  The event will take place at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14, at Connecticut College’s Blaustein Hall in New London.  It will be preceded by a 5:30 pm reception and followed by a book signing and  dinner at $35 by reservation only with Bacevich.

Bacevich is professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University.  His three books prior to this most recent one – Breach of Trust, Washington Rules and The Limits of Power – all hit the New York Times bestseller list.  A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he served for more than 20 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, before retiring from active duty as a colonel.  He received his Ph.D. in American diplomatic history from Princeton.  Before joining Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University.  A winner of the Lannan Notable Book Award, he lectures frequently at universities around the country.

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America.  Its mission is to foster an understanding of issues related to foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate and educational programming.  Through its annual Speaker Series, SECWAC arranges up to 10 presentations a year that provide a public forum for dialogue between its members and experts on foreign relations.  Membership information is available at www.secwac.org.

Share

State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman Endorsed by Women’s Health Groups

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd District, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd District, Norman Needleman

Yesterday, Norm Needleman announced the endorsements of women’s health groups Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC and NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC in his State Senate campaign in the 33rd District.

Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC (PPV!CT PAC) is committed to supporting and endorsing pro-reproductive rights, pro-family planning candidates for state office. Needleman was endorsed along with other candidates for Connecticut state races.

“We are very proud to endorse candidates who are committed to protecting reproductive health care,” said Chris Corcoran, PPV!CT PAC Board Chair. “The candidates we endorsed drive policy on women’s health care. Connecticut women and families should know that these candidates would ensure vital services remain intact.”

“States are the front lines in protecting women’s health and the right to choose,” said Needleman. “In the State Senate I will be an advocate for reproductive rights and access to women’s health care services. I will fight against the extremist elements that have worked their way into Hartford politics.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC’s mission is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.

“We are excited about your support for women, and look forward to your involvement in working to make Connecticut the best state in the nation for reproductive rights,” said Jillian Gilchrest, President, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC.

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares who has earned the endorsement of an extreme organization – the Family Institute – in 2012, 2014 and 2016 for his opposition to common sense women’s health and reproductive rights.

PPV!CT PAC is the Connecticut state political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut (PPV!CT). PPV!CT is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE).

“These candidates support reproductive health, rights and access,” said Susan Yolen, PPV!CT PAC board member and Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy with PPV!CT. “We are confident each of these candidates will work to preserve and expand  access to full reproductive health care services for the people of Connecticut.”

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton. Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a selectman in 2003.

He is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, which consists of the Town of Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

For more information on Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, visit www.plannedparenthoodvotes.org.

For more information on NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC, visit www.prochoicect.org.

For more information on Needleman’s campaign, visit www.norm.vote.

Share

Republican State Sen. Linares, Democratic Challenger Needleman Spar in 33rd Senate District Debate

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and his Democratic challenger, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, sparred Monday in a public debate for the 33rd Senate District contest.

More than 150 voters from the 12 district towns turned out for the 90-minute debate held in the auditorium at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, with the question of which candidate represents the “political class” in Connecticut overshadowing the specific issues where the candidates differed, or nearly as often, concurred.

The session was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, who selected questions that had been submitted in advance by district voters.

The debate began with a walk-out by Green Party candidate Colin Bennett of Westbrook. Bennett, who has run previously for the seat and participated in all debates during the 2014 campaign, began with an opening statement where he said his goals are to end hunger, provide access to health care, protect the environment and affirm that black lives matter.

Bennett then claimed that Conroy had attempted to exclude him from the debate based on comments at an Oct. 5 debate in Westbrook where he criticized Needleman and urged people not supporting him to vote for Linares. “I don’t want to be where I am not wanted,” Bennett said before walking off the stage. Linares said later he had told Conroy he would not participate in the debate if Bennett was arbitrarily excluded from the outset.

The term political class entered the discussion soon after the opening statement from Needleman, where the three-term first selectman said he had been urged to run the seat this year by the Senate Democratic leadership because they wanted a candidate with experience in business and municipal government. Needleman said he told party leaders he would not be a rubber stamp, and could become their “worst nightmare,” if elected.

Linares, who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, scoffed at the claim, questioning why the Senate leadership would provide Needleman with a full-time campaign manager on leave from the caucus staff if they believed his election would be a nightmare. Linares contended Needleman has been a loyal supporter of Democratic “Governor Dan Malloy and the political class,” contributing funds to Malloy’s two gubernatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

Needleman said Linares is the “career politician,” running for the senate seat at age 23 and laying the groundwork for a future campaign for the 2nd District congressional seat or statewide office.

But despite the sharp exchange, the two rivals agreed on several issues, including support for recently approved incentive package for Sikorsky in Stratford, providing some degree of contract preferences for in-state companies, and reducing, or for Linares eliminating, the estate or inheritance tax. The candidates agreed state employee unions would have to make contract concessions on both wages and pensions if the state faces another large budget deficit in 2017.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night's debate.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night’s debate.

Needleman said his experience negotiating contracts with public employee unions in Essex would be helpful in any discussions with state employee unions, though he questioned whether unions could be forced into concession talks. Linares called for mandatory legislative votes on all union contracts, and suggested a need for “additional leverage” to bring unions to the table. “The unions have not come to the table, we’ve tried that, everyone has tried that,” he said.

The candidates differed somewhat on the question of welcoming refugees from war-torn Syria to Connecticut. Needleman said while “vetting is critical,” an arbitrary exclusion based on a refugee’s country of origin or religion is “un-American.” Linares, whose family fled Cuba in the early 1960s, said he would insist on “clearance from the FBI,” because the United States does not have intelligence capabilities in Syria to screen refugees, including those who reach Europe before possible entry in to the United States.

The candidates also differed on possible increases to the state minimum wage, and gun control measures. Needleman said he supports measured increases in the minimum wage, but believes a hike to $15 per hour, as advocated by some Democrats, “is a very bad idea.’ Linares said he favors a national standard for the minimum wage, suggesting that further increases at the state level would hurt small businesses and cost the state jobs. He said the earned income tax credit is a better way to provide assistance to low income workers.

On gun control, Needleman said he is a “2nd Amendment Democrat,” but favors some additional gun control measures. He criticized Linares for opposing legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be seized from persons who are subject to a court restraining order where domestic violence is a factor.

Linares said Needleman is “trying to take both sides of the issue,” by referring to gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Linares said he opposed the temporary restraining order gun bill because it was an “overreach” that takes away due process for gun owners, and discretion for judges.

The 33rd Senate District includes the Town of Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.
Share

Essex First Selectman Opposes State Takeover of Local Health Departments, Denounces New Cost to Small Towns; Lyme First Selectman Eno Agrees

The following is a press release from Norm Needleman’s campaign office that we received this morning:

Today, State Senate candidate and local businessman Norm Needleman spoke out against the yet-to-be-announced state takeover of local health departments. Needleman opposes the top-down, behind-the-scenes process which includes the elimination of local health departments, the loss of local control, and increased cost to towns in what amounts to a regional property tax.

The draft changes in Connecticut state statutes were distributed to town Health Directors as “draft Local Health Consolidation Statutes” by the Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Public Health Raul Pino.

“This secret state takeover plan is yet another example of the state barreling down the wrong path without input from towns,” said Needleman. “Forced regionalization is terrible policy and causes more unnecessary over-regulation of towns without any proven cost savings. This is a canary in the coal mine for more state and county control.”

Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno agreed with Needleman.

“I appreciate Norm’s attention to this key issue,” said Eno. “I agree with his position that this is an administrative overreach without any kind of formal hearing process. This is part of what is wrong with state government.”

The changes propose eliminating local health departments and consolidating them under one board and director for each county.

“In Essex we have an efficient and effective Health Department,” said Needleman. “In what world does it make any sense to turn a well managed town office over to the mess in Hartford?”

In addition, the changes propose that each town pay 1.5% of their budget to the new county health department. The draft legislation states: “towns, cities and boroughs of such district appropriate for the maintenance of the health district not less than one and one half percent of their previous fiscal year’s annual operating budgets.”

“As First Selectman of Essex I have kept our Health Department well under 1.5% of our annual town budget with a professionally managed team,” said Needleman. “This proposal will cost more for towns all across the region and amounts to a county tax. If elected State Senator I will fight foolish state overreach like this takeover.”

“The cost is a percentage of the town budget,” said Eno. “So this is a regional property tax to feed the state bureaucracy. Thanks to Norm for being out ahead on this issue and looking forward to his leadership in the State Senate.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing over 225 people. Needleman is in his 3rd term as First Selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“Norm understands the importance of local control as an experienced town leader,” said Campaign Manager Kevin Coughlin. “That is why he has been endorsed by both Republican and Democratic First Selectmen right here in the 33rd district.”

Needleman is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District which consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Share

Old Lyme Debate Sees Linares, Needleman Disagree Sharply on Some Issues, Agree on Others

Norm Needleman (left) and Art Linares

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (left) and Sen. Art Linares answered questions on a variety of topics in last night’s debate.

The candidates vying for the 33rd State Senate District seat met last night in front of a relatively small audience of around 75 in the somewhat rarefied atmosphere of Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS).  Rarefied because not a single resident of Old Lyme can vote for either candidate since Old Lyme is part of the 20th State Senate District currently represented by Republican Paul Formica.

Nevertheless, The Day and the Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce selected LOLHS as the location for the first debate of the season in the high profile 33rd State Senate race.  Two-term incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) faced off against challenger Norman Needleman (D), who is in his third term as first selectman of Essex, in a gentlemanly debate conducted entirely from seated positions.

Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote. Needleman was first elected as an Essex Selectman in 2003

Linares&Needleman

The Day’s Editorial Page editor Paul Choiniere (center in photo above) moderated the debate assisted by retired Day Deputy Managing  Editor Lisa McGinley and Day Staff Writer Brian Hallenback.

The constant theme of both candidates’ responses was the need for the state to control spending and to increase jobs, but they expressed different routes towards achieving that goal interspersed with regular jabs against their respective opponent.

1609_untitled_018

Linares, pictured above, opened the latter theme by saying, “Desperate people do desperate things,” when asked about charges from Needleman that he (Linares) had used constituent names and addresses inappropriately.  Linares said, “They [his opponents] want us to focus on desperate things,” rather than the state’s real problems such as, “Every day we have businesses leaving the state,” declaring emphatically, “I am ready to stand up and fight for you.”

A question about whether the candidates supported the Citizen’s Election Program (CEP) drew one of the most heated exchanges with Linares saying candidates should be encouraged to fund their own election campaigns because, “the CEP is running a deficit year after year.”  Needleman responded immediately, “That’s an absurd and ridiculous statement,” adding that the CEP has proved to be a “leveling-field.”

The issue of a third casino in Connecticut also showed a sharp difference in the candidate’s positions with Linares supporting the proposal in order to “intercept tourists on their way to [the new MGM casino in] Massachusetts,” which he predicted would otherwise take potentially up to $100 million out of state.  Needleman said unequivocally, “I would not support the expansion of casinos in Connecticut.”

Responding to a question about Linares’s March 2016 vote against a measure to reduce the state’s budget deficit, Needleman declared, “That vote pushed me over the edge to run,” and that he was “perplexed,” when he had determined that Linares was one of the three senators who had voted against the proposal.  Linares countered that he had, “stood up against that budget because I knew the next day it would be in deficit,” adding, “We didn’t make the kinds of structural change needed,” concluding firmly, “I’m proud that I stood up against Dan Malloy’s budget.”

1609_untitled_020

Needleman, pictured above, then accused Linares of being something Needleman confessed he had been described as himself when much younger by a teacher, namely, “A master of the obvious.” Needleman agreed, “We all know now we need structural reform,” but argued, “That stand needed to be taken,” long before the actual vote.

The candidates were in relative harmony regarding the recent Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that education funding needs to be more equitable, both agreeing, in Linares’s words, “The legislature must find a fair and concise way to fund education,” and, in Needleman’s, “The judge should not legislate from the bench.”

Similarly, Needleman and Linares found common ground on the subject of how the state should improve its fiscal position with the former saying that the state needed to “control spending and increase jobs,” while the latter added, “… and end wasteful spending.”

Asked which Presidential candidate they were voting for, Needleman mentioned first, “I’ve never seen an election like this one,” then said, “I support Hilary Clinton … albeit at times, reluctantly.” In turn, Linares stated, “I’m voting for Donald Trump,” adding, “I’m voting Republican down the line this year,” commenting, “Our country and our state needs to change direction.”

1609_untitled_007

The candidates responded to several further questions including ones about the ease with which the state can sell or swap state-owned land, how the state should create jobs and the state’s response to the opioid crisis.

In his closing statement, Linares said his goal was, “to take Connecticut to the top again,” since under six year of Malloy’s leadership, “”I have seen the state move backwards.”  He explained that Connecticut Republicans have a plan to achieve that objective called, “A Confident Future,” and urged the audience to review it.

Taking his turn, Needleman said, “I started as a cab driver in New York – I have paid my dues,” adding, “Relationships mean everything to me. I am always telling the truth and not reverting to scripted talking points.” He concluded, “Glory has no role for me.”

Norm Needleman had a significant crowd of supporters, who stood outside the High School prior to the debate.

Norm Needleman had a significant crowd of supporters, who stood outside the High School prior to the debate.

Editor’s Note: The 33rd State Senate District consists of the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Share

Are You Hardwired to Vote for Clinton or Trump? Take a Survey to Help a Researcher Find Out …

survey-image-stock-artPaul D. Tieger, an author and internationally recognized expert on Personality Type and voting behavior, has launched a unique survey, which looks at the 2016 presidential race in an entirely new light  —  how our innate Personality Type may be the stealth factor that determines the next leader of the free world.
 
Why are so many people  —  on the left and the right  —  terrified about the election results? Tieger says he hopes his research will answer this question, among others.
 
This survey only takes about five to six minutes. Results will be published in about two weeks.
 
Share

Lyme First Selectman Eno (R) Endorses Needleman (D) for State Senate

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.  Photo by N.B. Logan.

Yesterday, Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno endorsed Democratic State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman.

“Although I generally try to avoid all things political, given the state of affairs at the state level, I’ve decided to be more public in terms of of the upcoming state senate race,” said Eno. “Norm has my unequivocal support.”

Eno, a Republican, has served as the first selectman of Lyme since 2007 and, with a brief interlude, for 10 years prior to that.

“Norm has the chief elected official experience at the town level that is crucial to being an effective representative,” Eno continued. “We need more small to mid-level town CEOs in the legislature to stand up to laws in Hartford that have terrible unintended consequences for our towns. His work in the public sector paired with his experience as a tried and true business person gives him a leg up to make sure we have the best possible representation given our state’s budget problems.”

“I am endorsing Norm, who is far and away the most qualified candidate for State Senate,” said Eno. “I know him as a man that is collaborative instead of adversarial. He will not be tethered to his political party. He will work on both sides of the aisle and be a team player. And he will be honest with you even when you disagree.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton.

“Ralph has been a great example for me on how to run a small town,” said Norm Needleman. “He’s hands on, hard-working, honest, and always involved. He knows what it takes to run a municipality. It means a tremendous amount to me to receive this endorsement from a man I have viewed as a mentor in so many ways.”

Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“This district has 12 towns with a lot in common and Ralph and I share a common perspective,” continued Needleman. “We both understand the perspective of small towns, the importance of home rule, and that we need fewer mandates and rules from Hartford.”

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term and like Eno, is a Republican. Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Click here for audio of the event: http://norm.vote/eno.mp3.

Click here for photos of the event: http://bit.ly/2bZWKDT.

Share

Sen. Linares Presented With a 2016 “Children’s Champion” Award

Sen. Art Linares (left) and Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Executive Director Merrill Gay.

Sen. Art Linares (left) and Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Executive Director Merrill Gay.

In a Sept. 8 ceremony at the start of a Middlesex Coalition for Children meeting at deKoven House in Middletown, Sen. Art Linares was presented with a 2016 “Children’s Champion” award by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for his leadership on issues related to Connecticut’s young children.

The other local legislators honored at the same ceremony were Sen. Len Fasano, Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, Rep. Matthew Lesser and Rep. Noreen Kokoruda. A total of 29 legislators were recognized in ceremonies statewide.

Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance (www.earlychildhoodalliance.com) is a statewide organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety, and economic security for children ages birth to age eight. Every year, the Alliance recognizes legislators for their leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of health development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety.

An Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. Linares, 28, is the lead Republican senator on the state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee. He also serves on the Education Committee, the Internship Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Linares has previously served on the Children’s Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Banks Committee.

Sen. Linares represents Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  Visit his webpage at www.SenatorLinares.com.

Share

CT Early Childhood Alliance Names Sen. Linares a 2016 “Children’s Champion”

Sen. Art Linares high fives students during a school visit in Clinton.

Sen. Art Linares high fives students during a school visit in Clinton.

AREAWIDE — Sen. Art Linares has been named a 2016 “Children’s Champion” by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for his leadership on issues related to Connecticut’s young children.

Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance (www.earlychildhoodalliance.com) is committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security for children ages birth to eight.

“I’m honored to be named a Children’s Champion,” Sen. Linares said.  “My focus at the State Capitol is on improving the quality of life for people of all ages in Connecticut.  That includes working with my colleagues in Hartford to shape legislation that impacts the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of healthy development, early care and education, nutrition and safety.”

He continued, ” I remain committed to passing effective state policies which help all of Connecticut’s children succeed.  I thank the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for this recognition.”

An Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. Linares, 27, is the lead Republican senator on the state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee. He also serves on the Education Committee, the Internship Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Linares has previously served on the Children’s Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Banks Committee.

Sen. Linares represents the Town of Lyme as well as Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  He can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or at 800 842-1421 or visit his website at www.SenatorLinares.com .

Share

CT Port Authority Chair Tells Lower CT River Local Officials, “We’re All on One Team”

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River but still deep in discussion are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) Board Member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River, but still finding time for discussions, are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) board member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

There was an overarching message both throughout the Connecticut Port Authority’s (CPA) meeting in Old Lyme’s Town Hall Thursday afternoon and during a subsequent boat ride on the MV ‘Victoria’ for members and local officials on the Connecticut River.  It was, in the words of CPA Chairman Scott Bates, that, “We’re absolutely committed to river communities.”

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town's needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town’s needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

In addition, while sailing from Essex down to Old Saybrook and then back up to Hamburg Cove on a perfect afternoon, Bates stressed, “Part of our mission is protecting these beautiful waters … and the quality of life we have here while preserving access to the river.”

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

Bates noted that to have “five local officials (Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, all of whom were on board, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who was unable to join the trip) “involved” was a really positive sign in terms of  “building a coalition.”  This, Bates explained, was key to the development of a strategic plan for the CPA—something the Authority has been charged with preparing with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The  CPA is a relatively new quasi-public agency created in 2014 with board appointments made in 2016.  Bates said the agency was responsible for 35 coastal communities and with this trip, he would now personally have visited 28 of them. Since the CPA has not created a strategic plan previously, Bates said he is determined, “to include everyone,” in the process, adding that he regards part of the Authority’s mission to be “getting small town and big cities together.” and, in turn, “to make great things happen for our state.”

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the 'Victoria.'

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the ‘Victoria.’

Apart from Bates and the four local First Selectmen and Selectwomen, also on board were Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) Executive Director Sam Gold, River COG Deputy Director and Principal Planner J.H. Torrance Downes, CPA Board of Directors member John Johnson and Joe Salvatore from the CPA.  Reemsnyder is also a board member of the CPA.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder and Johnson.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder, Bates and Johnson.

At the earlier meeting in Old Lyme, Downes had given a presentation to CPA members to introduce them to the Lower Connecticut River during which he had described the geography of the estuary, noting it had, “very little industry and very little commercial development.”  He described it as a “really prime area for bird migration” and highlighted numerous points of scenic beauty.

J.H. Torrance Downe, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

J.H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

Bates noted one of the CPA’s responsibilities is to pursue state and federal funds for dredging and, while sailing under the Baldwin Bridge towards the Connecticut River’s mouth where several tributaries join the main river, Reemsnyder commented that Old Lyme had been a beneficiary of a $1.6 million state grant for dredging two of those tributaries — the Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers.  She noted that it had been a successful exercise thanks in part to Salvatore, who had, “held our hand through the whole project.”

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the 'Victoria.'

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the ‘Victoria.’ Joe Salvatore stands at rear.

Johnson, whose life and business career according to the CPA website, have “a common underlying element: the coastal waters,” also confirmed the benefits of a dredging program, saying, “There is a need for depth of water — both elements, marine and maritime, need depth of water.”  Still on the dredging issue, Bates said he had met separately with Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna and told him that he could have “whatever he needs to keep the mouth of the Connecticut River open.”

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

Reemsnyder took a minute to commend Bates for his leadership of the CPA, saying, “Scott has given focus to coastal communities,”  while Johnson added, “We are blessed with our new chairman.”

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

Glancing around at the numerous boats docked both in marinas and on the river itself,  Reemsnyder remarked, “Add up the money in these boats … [they represent] lots of economic drivers.”  On the same theme, Bates noted that the state is marketing its ports for the first time using “national expertise” in some cases with the aim of moving “more people and goods in and out of Connecticut.”  He added, “We have some great assets [in terms of ports in the state] but we could do more.”

Eyes on the Cove -- guests on the 'Victoria' gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

Eyes on the Cove — guests on the ‘Victoria’ gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

As the “Victoria’ pulled gently back into dock at Essex Yacht Club, Bates summarized the benefits of the boat trip saying that by spending time with these local leaders, he had been able to “see their waterfronts, assess their needs,“ and gain an “appreciation of the vitality of the Lower Connecticut River basin,” emphasizing one more time, “This is really about pulling together as a state … we’re all on one team.”

Share

Carney Achieves 100 Percent Voting Record in 2016 Legislative Session

State Representative Devin Carney

State Representative Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney registered a 100 percent voting record during the 2016 legislative session and was present for all 313 votes taken on the House floor, according to recently released data from the House Clerk’s office. Perfect attendance is very difficult to achieve, with only 32% of legislators able to do so this year.

Carney, serving his first term representing the 23rd General Assembly District, is among just 49 members of the 151-member House of Representatives to achieve the 100 percent score and has maintained a100 percent voting record since being elected into office.

“It is simply my duty as the representative for the people of the 23rd District,” said Carney, whose district covers Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook. “I take this responsibility very seriously and I wouldn’t be able to accurately represent the district without being present for every vote; the people count on me to ensure our district’s voice is heard. It has been an honor and a privilege representing the people of the 23rd and I look forward to continue advocating on their behalf.”

Carney, who is the House Republican Chair of the Young Legislators Caucus, serves on the Environment Committee, and also on the Transportation, and Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committees in the General Assembly.

For an overview of legislation passed this year, visit the Office of Legislative Research website: https://www.cga.ct.gov/olr/Documents/year/MA/2016MA-20160610_Major%20Acts%20for%202016.pdf

The next regular session of the legislature will convene in early February 2017.

Anyone with questions, ideas or concerns about state-related issues can contact Carney’s office at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or 800-842-1423.

Carney represents the 23rd District communities of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Share

Carney Receives Unanimous Endorsement for Second Term from Republicans

State Representative Devin Carney

State Representative Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney received a unanimous endorsement from delegates representing the Republican Town Committees of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook at the 23rd District Convention on Monday.

“I am incredibly honored for this endorsement to serve a second term at the State Capitol. Serving my constituents in Hartford has been the greatest honor of my life, but there is so much more work left to do,” Carney said, noting, “Our state faces substantial financial problems in the coming months and years, which are exacerbated by the hostile attitude state government has toward businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Carney added, “I want to continue my efforts in fostering an economic environment where employers can start and grow businesses, where young people can find work, buy homes, and start families, and where seniors can afford to retire.”

He also noted, “In addition, I will keep fighting to strengthen the quality of life in our communities, to fix our broken transportation infrastructure, to get a handle on our state’s unfunded pension liabilities, and to improve our environment. As always, I pledge to continue to be a strong and independent voice in Hartford for all the people of the district.”

A delighted Carney reported that he has already reached his fundraising goals for re-election. “The outpouring of support I’ve received from my constituents across the district has been overwhelming,” said Carney, a member of the legislature’s Environment, Transportation and Higher Education and Employment Advancement committees.

He concluded, “I am truly humbled that so many have put their trust in me to continue representing them.”

During his first term Carney has made constituent service a priority. He has been a fixture in the district where he routinely holds office hours to brief residents about a wide range of legislative issues.

He voted against a state budget that included the second largest tax increase in state history including job-stifling taxes on employers.

He has introduced and/or co-sponsored legislation to reduce taxes in areas he feels are stifling growth such as the estate tax and the business entity tax and legislation that helps our hospitals, seniors, and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Along with Senator Paul Formica, he helped eliminate the burdensome tax on residential propane deliveries and has battled against a destructive federal rail proposal that would negatively impact his shoreline constituents, especially in Old Lyme.

This past session he co-sponsored and actively supported the successful passage of comprehensive legislation to help combat our state’s current opioid crisis. He was named an “Environmental Champion” by the Friends of Westbrook Barrier Islands and he is a co-founder of the bipartisan Young Legislators Caucus, where he serves as House Republican Chair.

The election for 23rd District State Representative will be held on Tuesday, Nov.8.

Share

Republicans Nominate Art Linares for Third Term in 33rd Senate District

Art Linares (file photo)

Art Linares (file photo)

Republicans Tuesday nominated incumbent State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook for a third term in the 12-town 33rd Senate District. Linares was the unanimous choice of about 45 delegates and alternates gathered for the nominating convention at the Old Town Hall in East Haddam.

Linares is facing a challenge in the Nov. 8 vote from Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman of Essex, who is expected to be nominated for the seat at the Democratic convention on May 23 in East Hampton. Needleman, 64, has served as first selectman of Essex since 2011. As well as the Town of Lyme, the district includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

Linares was nominated by State Rep. Melissa Ziobron of East Hampton, who described the incumbent as a “great advocate for all of the towns,” in the district. The nomination was seconded by Edward Marcolini of Old Saybrook, who described Linares as, “young, vibrant and personable.”

In brief remarks, Linares said he has worked for spending reform and fiscal responsibility at the capitol, contending that overly optimistic budget planning by legislative Democrats had led to first ever cuts in the state ECS (Education Cost Sharing) grants for cities and towns. Linares, 27, said he is ready for the election challenge. “I stand before you a four-year-veteran, a little more seasoned, but just as ready to knock on thousands of doors and wear out shoes as that 23-year-old kid was four years ago,” he said.

Linares declined to comment on Needleman’s candidacy, but confirmed he is ready to debate his opponent on more than one occasion during the fall campaign.

Linares, a co-founder of the Middletown-based Greenskies solar energy company, was elected in 2012 in a district that has been represented for 20 years by the late former Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,672-17,326 vote in a race where Bjornberg also had the Working Families Party ballot line and Linares had the ballot line of the Connecticut Independent Party.

Share