One of only two open State Senate seats is for the 30th District, which includes New Milford.
Republican Craig Miner is currently serving his 8th term as state Representative for Bethlehem, Litchfield, Morris, Warren and Woodbury. In the legislature, he is a member of the Appropriations, Environment, Labor & Public Employees, and Public Safety committee.
Democrat David Lawson teaches in Dover Plains, New York. He lives in New Milford with his wife, and that's where they raised their children. He is serving his fourth term on the Board of Education and is currently the chairman. His priorities would be economic growth and development, education, health, and the environment. He decided to run for the legislature because of the partisan bickering in Hartford. He wants to help end that and start the General Assembly working as a team.
During the last term, Miner says he worked with the outgoing Senator from the 30th District, Clark Chapin, to secure statewide municipal grants to deal with invasive species in Connecticut waterways. He supported legislation to give financial assistance to firefighters who suffer from certain diseases as a result of performing their jobs. The funding comes from the Firefighter Cancer Relief Program.
Lawson wants to protect and preserve wildlife, waterways, and air quality. When it comes to preserving open space, he says the state is not currently transparent in land transfers, and would like to change that.
Miner says he's concerned about the lack of job growth. He thinks Connecticut has a lot to offer and he'd like to turn the state's economy around. He believes the legislature should get into budget issues earlier. He says there is some wasteful spending that needs to be addressed. Miner says post employment benefits, wages and benefits for state employees should all be on the table. He says once the state gets a hand on expenses and bonding, corporations and residents will feel more secure and will stay.
Lawson agrees that the Education Cost Sharing formula needs to be reworked and more equitable. He was pleased when he first heard the judge rule that the state is not constitutionally fulfilling its role in funding education. But he says the ruling went far beyond the scope of the initial lawsuit. He says the idea of one-size fits all needs to be looked at, as do teacher evaluations.
He would advocate for the Northwest corner to expand vocational and technical opportunities. Lawson wants the state to be proactive and not reactive. He would work to keep the hospitals in the district open. He says they cover a wide area and are a big asset to the region.
Miner served on a subcommittee of the Task Force dealing with guns and ammunition. He voted in opposition to the Gun Safety Bill passed in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook School, but voted in favor of some fixes to the bill. He says he voted against the large bill because of questions that came up, including what happens if someone leaves their gun to a relative in their estate. Miner said another issue dealt with antiques and curios, a group covered under a federal license for selling high value firearms. One fix Miner introduced was allowing people to get their firearms back that were in a gun shop on consignment with a magazine larger than a certain size. The original bill didn't allow for those guns to return to their owners. Another provision gave equality to constables as to police.
The opiate, drug and alcohol issues are also a priority for Lawson. He says the state has learned that Connecticut can't arrest its way out of it. He called for more education and opportunities for people with addiction to get the help they need.