Meet the Candidates: 80th House District

We asked Southington’s Connecticut General Assembly candidates the following questions:

1) What should the General Assembly do over the next two years to help the state’s economy?

2) Other than the economy, what are the top issues the General Assembly must address in the next two years? Why?

3) Southington faced unique challenges from the state during the last budget season with $5.1 million in mid-year holdbacks to Southington’s education funding and a $27 million package for municipal grants that left Southington off the list. What did you (or would you have done) to represent the town during this process?

Here are their answers:

Gail Mastrofrancesco, Republican

Gale Mastrofrancesco

(Republican, Challenger)

1) This is one of the most important elections in our lifetime. Connecticut is spinning out of control with high taxes, unfunded liabilities, reckless spending and a continual budget crisis. Small towns like Wolcott and Southington are suffering from the failed policies of Dannell Malloy and Hartford Democrats—with no end in sight. Decades of one party rule and dangerous tax and spend polices have damaged our state’s economy. Connecticut cannot continue to tax, borrow, or spend its way to prosperity.

These policies have failed and will continue to further erode businesses and drive taxpayers away from our state. We need common-sense conservative principles to put Connecticut on a path to prosperity.

The solution to Connecticut’s economy (both long-term and short-term) has to be focused on economic growth and job creation. We must put an end to job-killing policies and lower corporate taxes, so we can retain and attract new companies. Creating a positive pro-business environment will restore confidence in the business community.

Business owners hesitate to reinvest and hire because of the constant threat of increasing taxes and regulations. When business owners are confident that their long-term outlook is good, they will expand their business, which will boost job creation and improve local economies.

We must find ways to make Connecticut more affordable to live, raise a family, and retire. As I go door to door meeting with voters, I hear more concern about this issue than perhaps any other. As one who is dedicated to fiscal responsibility, we must do all we can to provide relief to taxpayers.

2) Connecticut has a spending problem, and it has spiraled out of control causing an increased tax burden on our seniors, families and businesses. The Democratic leadership has racked up our debt and spending to an unstainable amount and it is unacceptable. For example:

Hartford was given a $500 million bailout for mismanaging their finances. What kind of message are we sending? When was the last time you were given a raise for poor job performance?

New Haven was granted $217,597 for the construction of a splash pad at DeGale Field after the city gave $250,000 in bonuses to management employees. Is it absolutely necessary to have splash pads?

$10 million spent for an additional toll study.

This type of unnecessary spending by the State of Connecticut puts an additional tax burden on hard working families. We must learn to use common sense spending in government just as we do with our family budgets. After all, you are doing more with less and so should your government. Until we enforce the constitutional spending cap, and start holding our leaders accountable, we will not bring fiscal responsibility back to Hartford.

3) Our children carry the hope for today and future generations. This hope includes the fundamental right for all children to be given the best education and the best opportunities to succeed in life.

I have had the honor and the privilege of serving on the Wolcott Town Council for the past nine years, with the last seven years as vice-chairwoman. I have experienced first-hand how the mismanagement and overspending of the current Democratic controlled legislature has impacted our towns. The uncertainty of state funding has been extremely challenging and difficult for municipal budgets, which forces them to raise taxes or cut programs.

Our Republican delegation worked very hard to restore funding and succeeded, but unless there is a change in leadership more cuts are likely to come.

The need for fiscal management and strong leadership in the Connecticut state legislature is crucial in these difficult economic times. My work on the Town Council has always focused on what matters most…the people. I have always advocated for fiscal responsibility and accountability. I will aggressively represent the people of the 80th district with the same energy and tenacity that characterized my work on the Wolcott Town Council.

Dave Borzellino, Democrat

Dave Borzellino

(Democrat, Challenger)

1) It is not a secret that our state’s economy needs improvement. However, it is not so disastrous that it is too late to fix the deficit. To help the economy, we must do what is necessary to fix a deficit: cut back on certain expenditures and increase revenue—generating activities.

How do we do this? As a legislator, we are working for you, the people. We need to modify state employee benefits. I have learned from my neighborhood walks, as constituents open their doors, that as a candidate I have already asked for your help, your support, and to earn your trust. I cannot ask for you to shoulder the cost of my mileage reimbursement for a job elected into, nor a pension we would not share.

New hires for the coming year and moving forward should be placed on a defined contribution plan, rather than continue to underestimate its liabilities resulting in a tax hike. Money saved in these fields can be allocated to job growth. We are losing our seniors and millennial to other states.

With a son in college, I understand his concerns of possibly not finding future employment. It opens my eyes to what many young adults are finding frustrating, and it resonates to me that we can do better. Connecticut can be a great place to do business. Companies looking to move in and small business should not be neglected. They are a great source of generating revenue. We should work with them to obtain a mutually beneficial system for our economy.

2) As a substance abuse counselor, the issue of addressing the opiate and prescription drug crisis is near and dear to me. I believe we should create access to treatment, rethink how we provide our current treatment, supply evidence-based production work, continue efforts to destigmatize addiction, provide medical assisted treatments, and provide more access to secure drop-boxes for disposal of prescription drugs.

As a family counselor, I firmly believe in universal Pre-K. It is vital to a child’s growth to be able to receive education sooner, as well as develop social skills at an early age. Universal Pre-K will also help families who struggle to balance work and child care expenses.

Tuition-free higher education is an issue I support. It is imperative to our state’s economic future to have our citizens obtain secondary education, but the growing strain of debt has presented an issue. We need to work towards putting students back into classrooms without fear of the federal government making profits off student loans. Our children and young adults should not have to battle the options of obtaining a higher degree that will put them on a better path and the fear of costs.

3) Every city, every town, and every village in Connecticut has a purpose and contribution to making our state great. It is not  the fault of Southington, or any other town in Connecticut, for any financial challenge we face.

With that being said, it should not be at the expense of the towns to suffer. It is disheartening to hear a town being left off the list of appropriating funds necessary to maintain top quality education or enough time to address budget shortfalls. I will continue to be a strong advocate of education by defending education at all levels.

I would be the voice against budget reductions. I have never been a politician; however, my opponent has motioned for $300,000 education cuts in the town of Wolcott.

We should never experiment on cutting back on education, but analyze the needs of 21st century education and determine how can we not only fund districts properly, but how can we alleviate the burdens of school supplies, desks, books, and other materials necessary. This will not only allow our students to succeed, but our teachers, too. Well-funded education creates healthy communities.


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