By Lindsay Carey
With fall just around the corner Democratic state Rep. Dave Zoni and Republican candidate Albert Natelli are looking for ways to reach voters before November’s election
Both candidates for the state House of Representatives seat in the 81st District have been present and spoken publically at meetings spawned by citizens concerns regarding Hartford Healthcare’s plans to make changes at Bradley Memorial Hospital. Despite their political views, both have shown support in keeping the campus open for Southington residents.
The two are also planning to increase their door to door campaigns to speak with Southington voters and listen to their concerns, so that they can bring that information back to Hartford to make changes.
In addition to going door to door, the candidates hoping to represent Southington in the Connecticut House of Representatives will begin contacting voters by phone and mail as well.
“I am the sitting representative, it’s my responsibility to continue to address constituent concerns,” said Zoni.
In recent weeks, Zoni attended the Italian American Festival to speak to voters face to face and he is looking forward to the Apple Harvest Festival.
“I feel real good about my chances [for re-election],” said Zoni. “I’ve gotten great reception going door to door, people know who I am.
As the campaign approaches, Zoni said he hopes to let voters know he’s accessible.
During his term, Zoni fought for a bill to stop gas stations from charging extra for using a debit card. Although it went to a public hearing, the industry wouldn’t budge. However, Zoni said that if re-elected he hopes to purse that more.
“There are a lot of things I’m proud of,” said Zoni. “I help constituents work through problems and bring them back to Hartford. I have also tried to bring the economy back to Southington, getting funding for the schools, the art center and the YMCA. I feel I play a part in that.”
Zoni is also proud of the commitment he has shown to the town of Southington.
“I’ve never missed a vote or a public hearing for any of the three committees I served on,” said Zoni.
Natelli, Zoni’s opponent, is the owner of Southington Dental Associates on Liberty Street, so he is well known around town. Aside from his success in dentistry, like Zoni, Natelli has experience working on town committees. He served on the Town Council from 2009-2013.
He has served on committees including Self Insurance, Public Works, Ordinance and Emergency Medical Services.
Natelli, the Republican candidate, has been going door to door since May to talk to voters and he said he’s really been enjoying it.
In recent weeks, he said he has increased his door to door campaigning to nearly daily in order to address concerns like maintaining small businesses in Southington.
“The legislature and the governor have passed laws that make it hard for the middle class and small business owners,” said Natelli. “I want to look to make it easier for small businesses stay, then people are working in them can keep their jobs.”
Natelli said he is also concerned about the state of Connecticut as a whole in maintaining residents. According to Natelli, parents are concerned about their children leaving the state once they graduate and a lot of elderly people can’t afford to stay here.
“We are the gateway to New England,” said Natelli of Connecticut. “We have to make it a state where people want to stay.”
For the most part, Natelli said that he has gotten a “warm reception” from constituents and that some people have said they are finding it “refreshing” to speak with a Republican.
“What the public has to decide is if they’re happy with Zoni and what is happening at the state level,” said Natelli. “If they are, then okay, but, if they want change they should let me be a part of it.”
Last month, Natelli went to Walmart to help football coach, teacher and author Brian Durbin raise money to support the Fisher House Foundation.
Natelli said he felt strongly about helping out Durbin, because he wanted to see the community rally around residents that need support.
“I wanted to support him on this and thank him for everything he does,” said Natelli.
Natelli said he will continue to reach out to voters at town events and that he hopes Southington residents will see that he can bring about change.
“If it’s still not working, then maybe it’s something to get rid of,” said Natelli.
By Lindsay Carey