Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Day endorses the re-election of Sen. Art Linares in the 33rd Senatorial District

Linares on the left

Thank you to The Day for hearing our message and for your endorsement!

"If enough Connecticut voters decide that the budgetary approach of the Democratic legislative leadership needs replacing, Republicans could become the majority in the state Senate in the Nov. 8 elections. 

And if that happens, incumbent Republicans like Art Linares, the two-term senator from the 33rd District Connecticut River valley shore towns, would, if re-elected, be in a position to prove their claims that they could do a better job to manage Connecticut's finances and economic prospects.

The best outcome would be a Senate with near-equality between the two parties, encouraging if not forcing bipartisanship. The challenge for the Republicans, whichever side has control, would be to pivot from years of complaining about being shut out of Democratic caucus meetings and show what they can do.

Voters in the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook have a choice that offers genuine differences in approach among Linares and his opponents, Democrat Norm Needleman, the first selectman of Essex, and Colin Bennett, owner of a Deep River bookstore who is running as a Green Party candidate.
All three operate locally based businesses, which means that the winner will be someone who understands the obstacles and opportunities for companies in a state that many say is too hard on business.

Bennett, 37, is reprising his low-key campaign of the 2014 election. He says his goal is principally to show there are better ways to do the state's business. He advocates for environmental issues, for reinstating benefits for needy citizens and for increased taxation of wealthy residents.

Needleman, a popular multi-term selectman and first selectman in Essex, presents the viewpoint of a seasoned businessman who employs about 225 people in manufacturing medicinal remedies like Bromo-Seltzer. He founded Tower Industries in 1979; the day-to-day management is now done by his children. If elected to the Senate he would continue his term as first selectman.

Needleman, 65, says his experience in municipal government has taught him that removing restrictions is as important as enacting new laws. He would like to serve on the General Assembly's appropriations committee, which recommends how the state will spend its money, and the education committee.

He is a strong candidate.

Linares, a Westbrook resident, also offers a combination of public service and business experience. At 27, he serves as executive vice president of human capital at Greenskies, a Middletown-based solar energy firm he helped found as a family business.

An assistant minority leader in the Senate Republican Caucus, he has sharply criticized the budgeting process and its final product and has said his motive in running is to oppose Democrats' fiscal policies. He would like to simplify the state tax code for businesses, shrink government through use of technology, consolidate state agencies and use furlough days to cut state employee labor costs.
Although he accepted public campaign funding through the Citizens Election Program, he has said he would end the program and to redirect the funds to other state expenditures. On that point, we disagree. While allocations to candidates could be trimmed, the CEP has been effective in keeping special interest money out of legislative elections.

As a delegate at last summer's national party convention, Linares helped nominate Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and continues to back him even as many party leaders have slowly withdrawn their support following charges about his behavior toward women and some of his statements. 

While disappointed with Linares' Trump stance, The Day's primary focus in endorsing candidates for the state Senate is not the national political scene but for Connecticut to deal with its sluggish economy and persistent budget crisis. Needleman, while a thoughtful candidate and a proven public servant, would, as a freshman senator, probably exert little influence. He will be expected to toe his party's line. 

Linares, on the other hand, lines up with Republicans who could well have greater influence in the Senate in 2017 and who will push back on business as usual.

Paid for by Re-Elect Art Linares. Lucille Silvestrini, Treasurer.
Approved by Art Linares.

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