By SHERIDAN CYR
Last week, officials announced that the Republican candidate for the 30th district of the House of Representatives had left the race. On Tuesday, Oct. 15, on the deadline date that any candidate could join the race, Berlin resident Mike Gagliardi stepped up to the plate to face incumbent Joe Aresimowicz (D).
“I have an uphill battle, not only due to my late entry but because I’m running against the second most powerful politician in the state,” said Gagliardi. “I plan to spread my message through personal interactions with voters, but largely through signs and print ads that can reach a large number of people in a short time.”
Gagliardi has lived in Berlin for 40 years. He holds a degree in business management from Central Connecticut State University.
“I’m running because I believe the solutions to Connecticut’s problems need to come from different viewpoints than the current incumbents are providing,” stated Gagliardi. “There is an economic boom happening around the country thanks in part to tax policies enacted by national Republicans, but Connecticut has been largely left out due to our crippling deficit and middle class tax burdens. I want Connecticut to share in the prosperity that the rest of the country is experiencing.”
Gagliardi outlined a number of issues he hopes to address if elected to office. He said the current state employees bargaining agent coalition (SEBAC) agreement with the state employee unions is “crippling the state’s ability to move forward,” and is “unsustainable.”
“I would like to see an end to the policy of using overtime in pension calculations, as this is a double drain on the economy,” he said. “Workers first receive enormous sums of overtime pay, then the state is on the hook for a larger pension for decades afterwards.”
He shared concerns with high-dollar infrastructure projects, namely the CT Fastrack. He also believes Connecticut does not need tolls on the roads.
“Middle class workers pay enough in car and gas taxes. They do not need additional payments just to get to and from work,” said the candidate. “Tolls will also create a new bureaucracy as hundreds of workers will be needed to maintain them.”
Gagliardi said the taxpayer-funded $500 million bailout of Hartford “should be renegotiated, or scrapped entirely.” He said Southington, as well as numerous other towns, faced a major challenge when state funding was cut.
The candidate said he is firmly against any education or municipal grants being taken away from towns that properly manage their finances to be directed to “mismanaged cities.”
“It’s almost as if Southington is being punished for being fiscally responsible,” he said. “Voters in poorly managed cities need to take responsibility and elect leaders who will fix the finances of those cities, and not seek handouts from financially sound towns.”
The candidate said the General Assembly should end the early release program for violent offenders. He also stated he will fight to ensure that veterans and soldiers returning from duty have access to top notch healthcare, as well as assistance with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.