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106th state House district race in Newtown features 2018 rematch

In a 2018 rematch, Newtown residents will see familiar names on the ballot when they cast a vote for the 106th House district.  Republican incumbent Representative Mitch Bolinsky is again being challenged by Democrat Rebekah Harriman-Stites. 

They recently participated in a candidate forum hosted by the Newtown Bee and discussed several issues.  The focus was on how to make Newtown a more livable community for its aging residents, the recently approved police accountability bill and the future of development at the Fairfield Hills campus. 

Bolisnky is seeking a 5th term in office.   Harriman-Stites is on the Board of Education, co-founded the Everwonder Children's Museum and is a social worker. 

Fairfield Hills issues are on the local ballot, and not really under the purview of the state.  Harriman-Stites says she would like to see any housing proposal before support it.  Bolinsky says proposals from developers should be entertained.  Both say there should be some limits on density.

Bolinsky says the police accountability bill was quickly cobbled together and done in a punitive way.  He relayed conversations with officers he says are retiring.  He says without public safety, there cannot be a thriving community.  Bolisnky called defunding the police an absurd concept.  Harriman-Stites responded that the bill does not defund the police.  She notes that there are many police officers in her family and she has great respect for the role they play in society.  But Harriman-Stites say the bill came from a cultural crisis around racial equality.

Newtown has an aging population.  Bolinsky says the Friends of Newtown Seniors has been doing admirable work to make it a senior-friendly community.  He wants to help people age in place, whether it's housing costs or improved public transportation.  Bolinsky called for controls on retirement and social security income taxes.  Harriman-Stites says the Board of Ed and parent groups were working to bring seniors and school children together for learning and community building, and noted that the work of the senior center is admirable.  She called for property tax reforms.

Both candidates agree that cost of prescription drugs is too high and support the public option introduced by state Comptroller Kevin Lembo.  The each touted his work in saving the state money on health care and prescription costs.  Bolinsky co-sponsored the bill, which stalled in the pandemic-shortened session.  Harriman-Stites says she knows about health care costs, noting that it forced her to sell her business and the cost for her non-profit went up 8-percent this year.

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