Two young men are running to represent Danbury's 109th state House District.
Democratic incumbent David Arconti says public service is important to him and he’s made good relationships with representatives on both sides of the aisle, which has allowed him to deliver for Danbury. He says he’s tried to focus on constituent services, for example offering to meet in person rather than address complicated issues over the phone. He says that’s a great way to learn first hand what people are going through.
Republican Josh Stanley is a 24 year old who graduated from Danbury High School in 2008 and then from Western Connecticut State University with a Small Business Management degree. He is a contractor and foreman who works for his family’s paving company.
Last session, Arconti says he was very proud to help secure $1.2 million for construction of the Healing Hearts program building under the umbrella of Western Connecticut Regional Hospice. It’s the only program of its kind in Connecticut. He says this saves the state money in mental health services with these services being provided by a non-profit, at no cost to clients. They have working groups from 9/11 and from 12/14. He also touted being able to help bring funding to Danbury to fix the roof of the Danbury War Memorial, which is the City’s emergency shelter, and for infrastructure improvements at the Armory, which is being operated by the Harambe Youth Center.
Arconti says a new Education Commissioner coming in next year will be the most important appointment coming up. He hopes it’s a classroom friendly Commissioner. He also wants to work to get teach evaluation system right. He says tying that to standardized tests is not the best route to accomplish that.
During a forum sponsored by the PTO, Stanley said travelling across the state, it’s easy to see that each town is different from each other. He notes that there are also income gaps and it’s not fair for the state to make broad assumptions of how much each school district needs in terms of funding. To make up shortfalls in the Education Cost Sharing formula, Stanley suggested that students and the community pitch in. Stanley pointed out that a few years ago, Danbury High School was going to have to cut freshman sports because there wasn’t the funding for it. He says the athletes went out and held car washes and other fundraisers to save the program.
Stanley was also asked about the Common Core initiatives implemented in the state. He says teachers need to be able to teach, let them decide how best to do what they do. He gave a personal example of growing up with dyslexia, being in a high math lass and a low reading class. He credited his sixth grade teacher for working with him and administrators to make sure scheduling conflicts weren’t an impediment to his success.
Arconti says the state is slowly but surely making its way out of the recession. But he says there’s still plenty of work to be done. He touted some companies coming to Danbury, specifically Eastern College Athletic Conference and New Oak Capital. He also touted the state funding for Cartus to retain and create jobs over the next few years in Danbury. He would like to examine the Business to Business tax and Estate Tax. He predicts next session will be the session for property tax reform.
Stanley says Connecticut needs to be a more business-friendly state if more jobs are going to be created here. He says he knows first hand about the high taxes levied on businesses. Stanley also said he would like to take on the issue of Danbury generating a lot of revenue for the state, but not getting as big a return as municipalities that send less money to Hartford.
Arconti related the story of a constituent who is an occupational therapist and reached out to him. In 2013, copayments on physical therapy were limited to $30. He says the constituent told him that their benefits are similar and patients have told her that they can’t afford to continue the necessary outpatient rehab because of the high copayments by insurance companies. He went to the legislature’s Insurance Committee, made a case and that passed both the House and Senate unanimously.