By Ed Harris
Former Town Councilor Al Natelli has announced that he is running for the chance to represent Southington in Hartford. Natelli is seeking to unseat freshman state Rep. Dave Zoni (D-81).
The 81st district encompasses all of Southington. Unlike the other districts in town, it does not include any other neighboring communities.
Natelli received the endorsement of the Southington Republican Town Committee last Thursday. Zoni was endorsed by the Southington Democratic Town Committee last week as well.
“He has a medical background,” said Southington Republican Town Committee Chairman Brian Callahan, referring to Natelli’s dentistry profession. “The legislature is littered with lawyers and real estate agents. He can give it a different perspective.”
Natelli served four years on the Town Council, from 2009-2013. Previous to that, he had served on the Self Insurance, Public Works, Ordinance and Emergency Medical Services Committees. He is also a past chair of the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve always thought about it,” Natelli said about seeking higher office. “I had to find the right time to do it.”
Natelli said his platform would address unfunded mandates, taxes, better statewide implementation of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), fixing the state’s infrastructure and keeping people in the state. He also addressed the recent budget surplus reported by Gov. Dannel Malloy, which briefly promised everyone a small tax refund.
“You borrowed money to give it back to us to borrow it again,” Natelli said about Malloy’s proposed tax rebate that was recently rescinded.
He further drew upon his time on the Republican led Town Council, which helped oversee small mill rate increases, as the kind of fiscal order that needs to be brought to Hartford.
Natelli, referencing a recent poll that found that nearly half of the state’s residents would like to leave, said that officials need to give people a reason to want to stay. His thoughts on accomplishing this included reducing taxes, including the gas tax, making government smaller and playing up the many positive aspects of the state, including Mount Southington and Lake Compounce locally.
“We need to get the message out that the state is a great place,” he said. “We need to self promote ourselves.”
Closer to home, Natelli said that if he was sent to Hartford, he would focus on helping seniors in the Southington community and bring in money for infrastructure, including the water treatment plant.
Natelli said he plans to participate in state financing through the Citizens Election program.
Natelli, a dentist, owns Southington Dental Associates. He has resided in Southington since 1995. He is married with four children.
“This is about the issues and who you want in Hartford,” Natelli said, about his campaign.