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Candidate DeMoura Backs Education, Not Tax Hikes

REDDING, Conn. – Steven DeMoura, the 33-year-old Bethel Democrat who seeks the 2nd District State Representative seat, is a lawyer at Pinney Payne PC in Danbury, a former president of the Greater Danbury Bar Association and member of the Board of Assessment Appeals in Bethel. He and his wife, Kathryn Kilian, are expecting their first child in December. DeMoura devotes his free time to his family and enjoys playing soccer and exercising. We asked him five questions about the campaign:

The Daily Voice: What are the biggest issues facing the district?

DeMoura: Clearly one of the most important issues is the economy. When Gov. Malloy entered into office, he inherited, per capita, the greatest debt in the nation. He took a balanced approach, made some cuts, streamlined government, took 30 percent from state government, got some concessions from state employees and raised revenue with some of the taxes we now know.

Another major issue I’m going to have is education. I think education is the greatest gift we give our society and our youth at every level. Funding can’t be compromised. I think we need to make teachers the greatest asset to keep moving forward and start to incorporate technology and innovation into our schools and work with businesses to do curriculum to give them the tools to be good workers and join the work force in this ever-changing global environment. Certainly jobs. I know there was just a bipartisan bill on jobs passed. We should be educating our students through vocational technical schools, giving them the skills to get jobs and making Connecticut an attractive state for companies to come in here, whether it’s loans or tax incentives, so we can create jobs. The economy is in tough shape a study from UConn that said we won’t be at the same level of jobs as in the past until 2018, so things need to be done to promote job growth in the state. Another issue is the environment. I’m a big proponent for the environment. I believe in the acquisition and preservation of open space for active and passive recreation.

The Daily Voice: You’re running against Dan Carter. How would characterize his first term and how would you distinguish yourself from him?

DeMoura: I’m not prepared to make the cuts that he’s prepared to make. Given tough times the programs that are necessary need to stay. I look to not raise taxes, but I can’t take that off the table or promise to lower taxes because I’m the type of leader who will do what is right for Connecticut even if it’s unpopular, which is balancing the budget. My opponent thinks massive cuts and maybe rolling back taxes will accomplish a balanced budget, so that’s where we differ. I won’t take away funding from education. The Republican-proposed budget proposed education and Medicaid cuts. I’m interested in a balanced approach and shared sacrifice, just like Gov. Malloy did. The next budget will carry the same issues and problems because the economy hasn’t rebounded yet, so we’ll have the same issues we had before and tough decisions need to be made.

The Daily Voice: Do you think Connecticut is going in the right or wrong direction?

DeMoura: I think Connecticut is going in the right direction. I have roots in the community, was born and raised in the Bethel-Danbury area. I work in this community and will raise a family here, so I think it’s a great place to live and will continue to be that way. I want to insure future generations have prosperity, they have good paying jobs to go to, they have a good education and are attractive to employers. The state is taking it very seriously; what I’m worried about is the debt that we’ve acquired. I want to address things so we’re not just passing the buck down the hill. We have to make strides to keep the state a great place to live.

The Daily Voice: Why should people vote for you against an incumbent Republican?

DeMoura: Our district’s about 50-50. In the redistricting it was probably cut out to be a Republican district, but it’s gone back and forth. Dan Cutler’s predecessor, Jason Bartlett, was a Democrat. I have an uphill battle, but people should vote for me because I’m a person with integrity and very vested in the community. I have a big extended family in the area that owns small businesses that employ people. They’re teachers, police officers, laborers from all walks of life. I’m an average, hard-working guy who’s empathetic to all sides. In my profession, I handle adversarial relationships, but it’s not us against them. I’ll go up and say "How do we fix these problems?" Democrat, Republican, doesn’t mean much to me. My constituents and the hard work I’m doing are what are important.

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