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110th State House race features 2018 rematch

The 110th state House race is a repeat of the 2018 contest.  Longtime Democratic incumbent Bob Godfrey is being challenged again by Republican Erin Domenech.  Godfrey touted millions of dollars secured during the last session for a new career academy to be built in Danbury, implementation of Paid Family Medical Leave and an increase in the minimum wage.  Domenech says change is needed, and called on the legislature to stay ahead of things rather than reactive to them.  Domenech touted her military family and volunteers for veteran causes. 

When it comes to the handling of the pandemic, Domenech says the Governor is ignoring the CDC in favor of his own experts.  But she notes that there's a lot that's being overlooked.  She wants the administration to be transparent about their decisions.  Domenech says people want to go to work and pay their bills, but that isn't happening right now.  She says there's something to being self sufficient and people don't want to rely on someone else to take care of them.  Domenech says there are some parents who are understandably concerned for their kids health, but notes there's another impact from the pandemic.  She says interacting with peers is part of the educational experience and is having an effect on kids mental health and self esteem. 

Godfrey says decisions should be led by science to deal with the disease itself.  He wants to expand affordable health care access.  He says there needs to be state funds for public schools to help them operate safely, when the infection rate is low enough to protect students and staff.  Godfrey says he's concerned with the state's response to infection in nursing homes.  He wants the legislature to investigate how the disease was able to spread so quickly among patients and staff.

Godfrey touted the utility accountability bill passed in special session.  He says the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority was empowered to do more and gather more information for utilities.  He called the storm response unconscionable.  Godfrey expects more bills to come before the legislature next year to further address the state's high cost to electricity.  Domenech says the bill might not have been needed if lawmakers voted a different way in 2018.  A bill was passed that mandated Eversource and United Illuminating, as of July 1, contract to buy power from the Millstone Power Station.  She says lawmakers should have noticed how the pandemic was impacting people's wallets and recalled that the rate increase was going to go into effect. 

The candidates agree that tolls should not be implemented.  Godfrey says the rainy day fund should not be used for infrastructure projects, because there should be funding in the budget for routine work.  Domenech also opposes tolls.  A problem she had with the bill was that information would be exempt from Freedom of Information laws on spending, and taxpayers deserve to know how money is being spent.  She says the Special Transportation Fund lockbox hasn't been maintained, and it should be. 

On the police accountability bill, Godfrey says a bipartisan working group drafted the legislation.  He says the Republicans have voted against the state police contracts, worked to end collective bargaining and fought against gun safety; all of which he says help police.  He says funding for body cameras, civilian review boards and limiting the use of chokeholds were goo things.  He expects the bill to be fine-tuned in the upcoming session.  Godfrey says he supports the police, except those who commit crimes like he supports protestors, except those who commit crimes.  Domenech says the Minneapolis City Council voted to defund police and now there's a spike in crime. She wants Connecticut residents to know they can walk out their door without fear and that's what the so-called police accountability bill will lead to  She notes that other parts of the country are seeing more police resign because of similar initiatives and that will lead to less public safety.  She called for a repeal of the bill.

When it comes to helping seniors, Godfrey says insurance coverage for telehealth visits is important.  He touted work to cap the price of insulin.  Domenech called it disheartening that people are leaving the state when they reach retirement age because their pensions are taxed. 

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Todd Schnitt

Local Headlines