New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

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Elections 2016 – State Representative

The New Britain City Journal asked State Representative candidates to send in an article on why residents should vote for them. Here are their submissions in alphabetical order:

22nd District

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Elizabeth “Betty” Boukus (Democrat)

I have been honored to serve as State Representative for the 22nd District which includes my hometown of Plainville and part of my husband’s hometown of New Britain. I truly enjoy working hard and getting results which directly impact the quality of life in both communities.

There are many projects in New Britain for which I have been very instrumental in securing funding such as the renovation of Beehive Field and technology upgrades at the Hospital for Special Care. I have also been a strong supporter of needed school renovation projects including those at E.C. Goodwin and DiLoreto Magnet School.

I am also proud of my legislative support for economic initiatives that make a difference. We have lived through a historically challenging economic time but the truth is that real progress is being made. I am especially pleased with our Small Business Express program that has helped more than 1500 Connecticut businesses get the capital they need to expand and create more jobs. Over 20 of these businesses are located right here in New Britain!

Just last week, I supported the initiative with Sikorsky during special session. What many may not realize is that this affects the local economy because of New Britain businesses who are Sikorsky suppliers. They, and their employees, depend on Sikorsky’s long term success in Connecticut. The helicopter giant supports almost 25,000 jobs in Stratford and throughout the state with its subcontractors. It was critical to keep them here.

On the financial front, I am proud of my work to re-balance the state’s credit card. As House Chair of the Subcommittee on Bonding, I worked hard to remove about $1 billion in future financing that was hanging over the heads of Connecticut’s taxpayers.

As we look to the future, I am particularly interested in focusing on the creation and retention of good jobs. Since the Great Recession and housing crisis, Connecticut’s unemployment rate has improved by dropping from almost 8% to 5.6%. However, those numbers only tell part of the story. We want to make sure people have family-sustaining jobs – meaning they can pay for their home, food, car and more.

It is why now, more than ever, I believe Connecticut should be investing in advanced manufacturing. We have done it with big players like Pratt and Sikorsky, and we have helped hundreds of smaller shops with Small Business Express and the Manufacturing Assistance Act.

Now we must make sure we train the next generation of manufacturers. Employers are desperate for skilled workers. My vision is to invest in community colleges and technical schools to create a direct pathway from school to career. It will involve expanding our technical schools and looking at their curricula. This will result in employers having the skilled workers they demand and workers having good paying jobs.

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William A. Petit (Republican)

I am excited about working toward this vision and ask your consideration of my candidacy. I look forward to once again serving the great city of New Britain.

My name is Dr. William A. Petit, Jr., and I am a candidate for the House of Representatives in the 22nd District, which includes the west end of New Britain and Plainville. I am a Plainville resident and a proud graduate of the Plainville school system. I was on the active staff at New Britain General Hospital, now the Hospital of Central Connecticut, from 1989 through 2007 and have been on the honorary staff since 2007. I was the Medical Director for the Joslin Diabetes Center at HOCC, the Section Chief for Diabetes and Endocrinology, and the Director of Clinical Research from 1997-2007. I currently serve as the president of the Petit Family Foundation, which gives funding to support the education of young people, to aid in the fight against chronic illnesses, and to help those affected by violence.

I am running for state representative because through decades of one-party rule in the legislature, we have developed huge financial problems. Connecticut is at a crossroads and difficult decisions are going to have to be made in the coming years in order to put us back on track. The 22nd District deserves a representative who recognizes we have to make major structural changes to the way the state does business if we want to restore Connecticut’s fiscal health.

The prediction is that we will have a $2.7 billion budget deficit over the next two years. Connecticut has the second highest debt in the nation at $49,000 per taxpayer, and we have the highest per person state bonded debt (our state’s “credit card”). In addition, we have a total of $64 billion in debt due to our unfunded liabilities.

Despite these huge fiscal issues facing Connecticut, I still believe we can get the state back on a path to sustainability if we buckle down and spend only what we take in, limit our bonding to 10% of the total budget, and prioritize our spending to cover core functions of government.

These are the principles that we all have to follow as we set our household budgets, and I believe the state should do the same.

I think Connecticut is a wonderful place, but I worry that with our financial troubles being so dire, that my 3-year old son will grow up in a very different Connecticut than I did. I want Connecticut to be a place where my son can grow up comfortably, receive a great education and stay here to find a job.

We cannot change Hartford unless we change who we send to Hartford, and if we continue down the same path of one-party rule, nothing is going to change.

I will be a strong voice for change for the legislature, for New Britain and Plainville, and for the State of Connecticut.

I believe it will take a number of years to restore Connecticut’s fiscal health, but we have to start making these changes now.

I hope you will consider supporting me on November 8th and vote for a change.

24th District

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Rick Lopes (Democrat)

State Representative Rick Lopes has been serving New Britain’s 24th District since 2012. The district encompasses the West End and south border of the city to a small portion of Newington in the east.

A Connecticut native, Lopes came to New Britain more than 20 years ago to work with the Broad Street Collaborative. Lopes helped them form Connecticut’s first Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, which brought in money and resources to make Broad Street safe and attractive so it could become what is now celebrated as Little Poland.

Lopes moved on to other area positions helping homeless families obtain housing, and people with mental illness get jobs. He earned a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Connecticut. While completing that degree, he won election to New Britain’s City Council and served for 2 years.

In 2012, he was elected state representative for the 24th District.

“I’ve always worked with vulnerable people who need help, and that’s what I’m here to do for the district,” Lopes said. “I give a voice to groups who don’t have power in government on their own, whether it’s the kids in our schools, people with disabilities or other small business owners like me.”

Since 1993, the son of Portuguese immigrants has owned and operated a property management and maintenance business in the greater New Britain area. It has given him an important perspective on the issues confronting small businesses across our state that he takes with him to Hartford.

“There’s a recognition now that small business is what’s powering our economy and we’ve become serious about cutting the red tape that makes things more complicated than they need to be. I’m glad we finally streamlined the ‘LLC’ process, and I encourage you to look into the loans and grants under the Small Business Express program to expand and grow,” Lopes said.

A member of the Finance Committee, which decides how state tax money is spent, Lopes says his other major priority is fairness in education funding and ensuring New Britain schools receive the money they need.

“We owe it to our kids to make sure they’re getting the same quality education as children in other communities – and that finances are not standing in the way of that goal,” Lopes said. “People want to live in neighborhoods and communities with great schools. That, in turn, brings up our property values and helps every part of our city’s economy. Quality education is the best investment we can make in our future.”

Lopes lives on South Mountain Road with his wife, Teresa Sapieha-Yanchak and their three children. He can be reached at 860-229-7721 or rick208@gmail.com

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Jim Sanders Jr. (Republican)

My name is Jim Sanders Jr., I was born and raised in the city of New Britain and I love this city. I presently serve on the New Britain City Council. I have been honored to do so. I made a vow to myself and my constituents to always fight for what’s best for the people of New Britain.

As a small business owner, I know the hardship and struggles of any size company. The high cost of operating expenses, over-inflated taxes (property, sales, income, corporate, etc.), rising insurance costs and increase on tools/machinery/equipment and parts/supplies. I am highly motivated and driven individual that wants to succeed in this trying economy.

I am very active in the community and I believe in giving back to my community. I take pride in doing this because I believe in investing in our future. I believe the city of New Britain is a worthwhile investment. My father, Jim Sander Sr. was the longest serving Board of Education member in the history of the city of New Britain. I learned so much from him, most important being civil service and giving back to the community.

I am running for State Representative in the 24th Assembly District because for too long, the residents of New Britain have been poorly represented. I am running because we need an individual that is willing to work hard, dedicate himself to the people of New Britain and Newington and will serve them in the legislature. I am a business owner, a father, a friend, a son and hard working and dedicated in everything that I do. If elected, my top my priority will be to help the district bring back businesses by making the district business friendly again. With new businesses, we will see lower taxes, create jobs and renewed prosperity. I will promote academic growth for our city schools. I will fight to eliminate wasteful spending. I am here to make change not only within the 24th District but throughout New Britain and Newington and the entire state as a whole. I will not be like my opponent who has voted repeatedly to increase taxes and spending. We can not afford two more years of the same stifling legislation against the small businesses of the state of Connecticut. With your help, on November 8th, we can stop this downward trend and begin anew.