The candidates vying for the 28th state Senate District seat are looking to represent Newtown and other southern Fairfield County towns. Republican incumbent Tony Hwang is being challenged by Democrat Michelle McCabe, who unsuccessfully challenged him two years ago. They recently took part in a candidate forum hosted by the Newtown Bee.
Hwang says there are ways to make Connecticut affordable for seniors to retire here, and attractive for young people to move to the state. Hwang says people are moving away from urban centers and business recruitment needs to happen. But he says the key is to attract workforce talent. McCabe Connecticut is not friendly to businesses because of the permitting process. She says it needs to be streamlined, with a renewed focus on a skilled workforce. She also advocated for a public-private partnership with student loan forgiveness.
When it comes to getting the state's fiscal house in order, Hwang says Connecticut has the highest unfunded pension liability in the country, per capita. He wants to find a way to pay down that debt while honoring the commitment that past legislatures have made. He notes that the other critical factor is helping small businesses. McCabe agreed that workforce development is important and called for benefits reform.
The pair also addressed the pandemic. Hwang says the public health concern, but the economic fallout was devastating. He says any decision needs to rely on the science, but there has to be a plan to take progressive steps to reopen. He called for a bipartisan collaboration on the work ahead. McCabe says the state should help businesses to prepare to pivot. She notes that a lot has been learned since March and that should be applied to building an infrastructure to help businesses.