HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As the Republicans push their drive to take control of the State Senate in Hartford, they must keep the senate seats they already have. One of the districts where the Democrats are making an aggressive challenge to an incumbent Republican covers a large chunk of the shoreline and the Connecticut River Valley.
The 33rd State Senate District covers a dozen towns starting on the mid-eastern shoreline towns of Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook. Stretching north up the river valley, the other towns in the 33rd district include; Essex, Deep River, Lyme, Chester, Haddam, East Haddam, Colchester, East Hampton and Portland.
27-year-old Republican Art Linares was just 24 when he was first elected to the State Senate. He is now seeking his third term, and if the Republicans are to take control of the Senate, he must win on November 8th.
He is opposed by popular Democratic Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, He also owns and operates a successful small business, and is the Democrats’ hope for retaking this seat. Linares knows there are more registered Democrats in this district than Republicans, and before him the seat was held by Democrat Eileen Dailey for twenty years.
Like other Republicans, Linares is running against Governor Malloy and the Democrats that control the legislature citing the two big tax hikes, poor business climate and the lack of a growing economy that would make it easier for families to thrive. “Under Dan Malloy and one party Democratic rule we haven’t seen that in Connecticut and we need more balance. We need Republicans to take back the Senate,” says Linares.
Democrat Needleman says, “The solution is to have people work together. No party has a monopoly on good ideas.” Needleman also says he’s not running with Malloy or against him but notes that Connecticut’s difficult budget issues go back several administrations, “I am running as a person who can come to the table and as a result of proven experience try to resolve some of the problems.”
Linares’ focus is simple saying, ‘In Connecticut, because of the high taxes and the burden on businesses, what we’re seeing is it’s very difficult for businesses to stay here. What we need to do is make an environment that’s conductive to economic growth.” Needleman points to his considerable experience in municipal government saying, “In my years in Essex we’ve come up with prudent budgets, minimal increases in spending and we’ve spent less every year than we’ve budgeted.”
But Linares says he is running on his record too; a record of voting against the tax hikes and against the Democrats’ budgets, “Voters in my district understand that. The support that and they want to send me back to Hartford so that I’ll continue to work on their behalf to stand against Governor Malloy.”
The Green Party also has a candidate on the ballot in this district; he is Colin Bennet, the owner of a book store in Deep River.