The Democratic Party named John Hartwell as their candidate for the state's 26th district senatorial seat, which covers all or part of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton. Hartwell ran two years ago against Toni Boucher, receiving 47 percent of the vote.
The nominee said that two years ago he did not feel comfortable during his first time running, and he feels that hurt his chances. It took me a while to get my sea legs, the Westport resident said.
He said he now feels he is ready to start helping the state government and fixing the budget problems facing Connecticut in the upcoming years. He explained how this year, the budget was balanced by borrowing money, dipping into the rainy day fund, shorting pension contributions, and other methods that he said have to stop. Hartwell said, There are lots and lots of problems and we need to get to all of them, but the first one is the budget.
Next year looks to be even more difficult for the state budget, with possibly a $4 billion or more shortfall in revenue, which is about 22 percent of the current budget. Hartwell then said that Republicans want to cut everything, but that is not credible to him, and that Democrats want to tax the rich, but in Connecticut they define rich as Fairfield County, which is unacceptable to him. We are not the ATM for Hartford, he said.
Hartwell also discussed his three principles which he will take to Hartford if elected to help get the state out of the mess it currently finds itself in. The first is to share the pain, because there will have to be layoffs and an end to borrowing, but Hartwell said benefits will be seen later. The second principle of his plan is to protect the weak, and not to cut or severely damage the programs that help those who need assistance. Investing in the future is the third and final principle, because Hartwell does not want to create a quick fix, but rather wants to focus on the long term. We have to grow another region in the state and we have to grow another industry in the state to create more balance, Hartwell said.
Hartwell made it clear that he does not know the answers to the problems in Connecticut, but does now how he wants to go about looking for the answers--by sticking to his principles and trying to work with everyone who will be elected.
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