Democrat Bob Godfrey is looking to continue his 34 years in office with an 18th term serving Danbury in the 110th House District. Republican Eric Gleissner is looking to unseat him. Gleissner has been a business owner for 35 years as a landscaper and mason. He currently has a handyman service. The political newcomer decided to run for office because there are many changes he'd like to see made in order to better the community. In the last session lawmakers continued to deal with the fallout of COVID-19. Godfrey touted state tax cuts for working families, child tax credits and the 25-cent gas tax holiday. Godfrey says the income tax on pensions and social security taxes were eliminated and similar issues should be addressed in a new session.
Gleissner says some of his priorities would be to tackle affordability and inflation. He says it's time to control unnecessary spending and to reduce taxes. He also wants to see if there's a way to reduce electric rates. Godfrey touted being able to secure bonding for the Danbury War Memorial to fix the roof and the HVAC system. He says updated systems are important considering the fact that it's the emergency shelter for the City.
Gleissner wants to fight for more state education dollars for the City. He also supports the proposed Charter School. He notes that the state's 7th largest city is the only city in the state without a charter school. Godfrey says more needs to be done to help healthcare providers and deal with a booming student population. Godfrey touted the delegation's effort to secure 80-percent reimbursement on eligible costs for the proposed Danbury Career Academy. He'd like the Education Cost Sharing formula for Danbury increased. As for the proposed charter school, Godfrey says this could cost the school system and the City $10 million to $12 million over the first 6 or 7 years of operation because the City would still have to pay for transportation and nurses.
Godfrey says the cost of oil has been driving inflation more than anything else and called it 'greedflation.' When everyone stayed home, costs went up to make up for losses and hurt everyone down the line. Gleissner supports the gas tax holiday. He says it's keeping the economy working, but wants to find a long term solution to lower energy costs. Gleissner called for more state funding to help the elderly with their bills. He's concerned with fuel costs this winter and wants to work toward long term solutions to reduce costs. He would like to see less taxation for every Connecticut resident.
Godfrey supports amending the state Constitution to allow for early voting. He notes that absentee ballots can be used for up to 30 days before the election, but they are not no-excuse absentee voting. He believes voting should be safe, secure and convenient. Gleissner says early voting isn't necessarily a bad thing, but doesn't think it should be more than a week early.
On infrastructure improvements, Gleissner would like to see capitol improvements to protect the community for years to come. He is concerned with staffing a bureaucracy. When it comes to transportation, he wants the I-84 expansion to finally happen. Godfrey supports broadband expansion through Infrastructure Act dollars. He says access is not only a rural issue because of the reliance on connectivity for work and school.
On the issue of crime, Godfrey says the catalytic converter theft bill passed last year was a start. He thinks preventative efforts are important and believes it will be a big topic of the new session. When it comes to police retention and recruitment, Godfrey doesn't think the issues are related to the Police Accountability Bill because it's something seen nationwide. He is open to reviewing the measure to see how it has worked or isn't working. Gleissner supports law enforcement. He says more can be done to address crime, noting that there aren't enough officers on the job. He says it's hard with the lack of support from the community for police. Gleissner says police are doing the best they can to keep people safe, but need help.
When it comes to firearms, Gleissner says there should be better education, safety and restrictions but doesn't see gun crimes on the rise in this area. He believes criminals with firearms should be targeted, with more education around the second amendment. Godfrey is a member of the Judiciary Committee and is an advocate of gun responsibility. He wants to close ghost gun law loopholes, address bullet tracing, and fund police so they can deal with 21st century crimes. Godfrey says the mostly public health related task force called the Commission on Community Gun Violence Intervention and Protection is expected to deliver a report to lawmakers early next year. He says there should be a balance of civil liberties and the ability of police to deal with crimes and guns.