A tax attorney is looking to unseat an 8-term incumbent in the the 107th state House District, which includes Brookfield, the Stony Hill section of Bethel and a portion of Danbury near Candlewood Lake. Republican incumbent David Scribner says he’s running for reelection to continue exercising fiscal restraint.
He is the longest serving leader on the Transportation Committee. He says there have been tremendous improvements to the Metro North Danbury branch, noting there is a long way to go. He touted a $2 million grant to expand the Bethel train station, getting the long stalled Route 7 bypass project completed under budget and on time, protecting funds for an environmental impact study to expand I-84 from the New York line to Waterbury and opposing border tolls. He says there’s been no stronger more vocal voice in Hartford in opposing putting tolls on the border of Danbury and Brewster. He says that’s targeted every session.
Democrat Dan Smolnik is a local tax attorney, former Democratic Town Committee chairman and a member of the Charter Revision Commission.
Scribner says education is critically important, calling it an investment in the future. He cited too many mandates being placed on schools including Common Core, which he says was never voted on by the legislature. He says teachers should be able to do their jobs because they are properly educated, chose the profession for a reason and shouldn’t be restrained by paperwork driven goals on someone else’s checklist. He says it was a shame that the GOP had to petition for a public hearing on Common Core to listen to the practical experience of educators.
Smolnik said in an interview with Danbury Patch that officials should get more feedback from educators before implementing the Common Core standards. He says while the basic structure is a good idea, the execution is a disruptive change.
Smolnik has questioned Scribner's initial "no" vote on the 2013 bill that banned large capacity magazines. Smolnik says the legislation provides an excellent start in identifying people with mental health disabilities.
Scribner says the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission’s findings will need to be thoroughly examined. He says when three issues were combined into one bill last year, commonly referred to as The Gun Bill, school security and mental health issues were virtually ignored. But he says those two portions are critically important. He hopes the SHAC findings are reviewed over time. He thinks all three components should have been addressed and gotten right, as opposed to doing it in haste in an emergency certified manner, which didn’t get a public hearing.
Smolnik is largely focused on fiscal issues, supporting the increased minimum wage. Smolnik said the increase over time from $8.70 to $10.10 an hour raises the standard of living and won't hurt small businesses. Smolnik says he largely supports the governor’s First Five program, which has provided grants and forgivable loans to companies, most recently Danbury-based Fuel Cell Energy and Praxair. Smolnik says he hopes the looming $1.4 billion budget deficit can be largely erased by small business expansion. But he did not rule out a tax increase.
Scribner says there is nothing more paramount on a statewide basis than things that effect the economy. He says the state government should be cleaned up first. While he respects state employees, there are ways to appropriately over time, streamline government. He wants to identify areas where efficiencies can be created, while still providing quality services to Connecticut residents and businesses. Scribner says before more spending or hikes in taxes and fees should be looked at, fiscal restraint should be adhered to.
Scribner, a one-time Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut board member, says improving quality of life for their clients was a priority for him. He helped change state regulations to allow for them to build a new in-patient facility to serve all of Western Connecticut. Over a million dollars in state grant money to help build that facility, which is slated to open in early January. He also participated in working with Western Connecticut Health Network to establish a cardiac care unit at Danbury Hospital a few years ago. He says people who need care at a moments notice, can now receive that close to home.