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Farmington Candidates Take Questions at Forum

The Chamber of Commerce hosted an evening with Farmington's senator, state representatives and challenger.

The Farmington Chamber of Commerce's Candidate Forum was sparsely attended Tuesday night, with about 40 people listening from the audience in the Farmington High School auditorium. Candidates, state Sen. Terry Gerratana (D-6), state Rep. Brian Becker (D-9), state Rep. Bill Wadsworth (R-21) and his challenger Mike Demicco, a Democratic member of the Farmington Town Council addressed the audience, then took questions submitted by the audience. 

The attached video shows the candidates talking about how to reverse the state's reputation as anti-business. Below are excerpts from their closing statements:

Gerratana: Why I’m running for reelection is because I feel very strongly that my experience counts and consistency counts. My main focus has been on job creation here in Connecticut and boosting our economy. I vowed to do everything to help central Connecticut get back on our feet and be part of the economic recovery in our state that’s starting to happen.

I voted for Jackson Labs and the UConn Health Center expansion. I supported education reform that has brought more resources to communities like New Britain and that will also help to educate our new workforce.

I actively worked to bring badly needed renovations to Berlin High School [and supported] work training wage subsidies and… finally I wrote and initiated legislation that facilitates our health insurance change to ensure that Connecticut residents have affordable health care options.

I urge voters to choose me November 6. I believe the work I and those of my party have done have put the state on the path to a very successful future.

Becker: It has been a great honor to serve the 19th district. Thank you for sending me to Hartford in the first place. It’s a great job, as hard as it might be, I look forward to being there each and every day and I have been there each and every day [except one sick day]. The great part is you meet new people and learn new things and struggle with issues that are of importance to people across the state. I take the role very seriously and do my best to study the issues and make the right call on various issues. I’m always thinking about jobs and what would be best for the community. So I ask for your support again this November to return me to the House for another 2 years.

Demicco: My wife and daughters will not be surprised to hear this. I’m running for this position because I enjoy a challenge and because I believe I’m up for it. I have represented the people of Farmington on the Town Council for the last 7 years. I have enjoyed it immensely and I am looking forward to the new challenge of serving the people of Farmington in a larger capacity in the legislature.

I believe I bring a different perspective to the legislature. I believe in a balanced approach – it’s within my nature fundamentally to take a balanced approach to taxes and services. I tell people don’t expect me to be the guy who offers you the greatest services or the lowest taxes. If you go too far to one extreme or the other, it results in problems. I believe in fairness and compassion and judicious decisions based on a balanced view of the situation.

And on a practical level, I believe I can get more done for the town of Farmington as a member of the majority caucus in the legislature. We have a Democratic governor and a Democratic assembly and I’m hopeful in January we will have a Democratic legislator in the 21st District of the state of Connecticut … I can use this knowledge and relationships with leadership of the state of Connecticut to get things done …in order to benefit everyone in the state of Connecticut. One of my main goals is to get more state money for Farmington in order to benefit us at the municipal level and ease the burden of property taxes on residents. I believe I can be effective and ask you for the opportunity to do so. 

Wadsworth: The two revelations I saw down at the State Capitol were the need for high quality education and private sector job growth – both things I had some awareness prior to going down there but being there really reinforced the need. 

Business people make business decisions and they don’t particularly care about the locale. They care about the educated workforce that’s going to perform for them but in this day and age that can be moved without too much trouble.

I got on the appropriations committee by request and it’s a hardworking committee…. But I wanted to be there because that’s where the money is spent.  I went over some parameters as to where we are as state of Connecticut: we’ve had no net job growth in the state in the last 20 years. When you look at the state budget from 1990 …and today… it’s the same amount of people paying for an increase in the size of government. I think we can do better so those people can have disposable income in their pockets to do what they want with or take care of basic needs.

We have a shrinking gross domestic product and we have unfunded liabilities… the largest per taxpayer debt in the nation. That’s why we just had our bond rating decreased recently.

How are you going to solve problems if you continue to increase taxes without making significant cuts like we did in the past year? …We’ve got to do a better job of keeping control of expenditures of the government.

To that end, …Connecticut Business and Industry… scored me 100 percent on the issues important to them and they also endorsed me as a candidate.  The National Federation of Independent Business also scored me by 100 percent on what’s going to promote the interests of the private sector. On education issues, we have an achievement gap that’s increasing as we talk and is 20-30 years old and not improving. Seventy percent of the state’s school districts are not performing. We’re sending 540,000 children to schools, of which 378,000 are not getting the education that they should …We need to do something significant to correct it. I support the education bill but I reflect on my time here in Farmington. We have fully involved parents, fully involved administration and teachers and we do a good job. We need to take that model and put it through the state of Connecticut so every child can have the education they deserve. 

Phil Dunn October 24, 2012 at 09:44 AM
I was shocked to see the false and misleading mailer sent by Mike Demicco last week and would advise anyone who seeks the truth to read Bill Wadsworth's response. http://farmington.patch.com/articles/state-rep-bill-wadsworth-responds-to-attack-mailer Keep in mind that with Mike Demicco you get one of the premier tax and spend liberals who owes his part-time political patronage job to Chris Donovan, our disgraced former speaker who has watched as his campaign staff and supporters were indicted for multiple serious campaign violations. Yes, the same Chris Donovan who came to Unionville this Spring to campaign with Mike Demicco. http://farmington.patch.com/articles/unionville-parade-342eef1f#photo-10090874 I have to marvel at the nerve of Mike Demicco to claim he has achieved anything as a member of the Farmington Town Council. He has served under a Republican majority his entire time on the Council and any initiatives that have passed were Republican initiatives. Mike's attempts to spend more money were thwarted and seniors and famlies trying to afford their first home should be thankful. We need some one representing Farmington who will not follow the flawed policies that have raised State taxes to historic levels and forced businesses to flee the State. We need Bill Wadsworth.
Bob Johnson October 24, 2012 at 01:44 PM
First off, I attended the debate last night and I like what Mike Demicco said a lot. He clearly understands the issues and seems like someone who will represent everyone in Farmington and not little segments of the population. Bill Wadsworth seemed to think he was entitled to the position, which is a quality I don't enjoy in anyone. On another note, I did receive the mailer that the two gentlemen who previously commented are upset about. Hey, the mailer was not a personal attack in anyway. It was about issues and votes. Bill Wadsworth has a right to explain his no votes to things like services for veterans, but I disagree with your tactics above. You are turning this into a personal attack on Mr. Demicco. Keep the campaign about the issues. Your comments should be modified to prevent the mudslinging we all regret seeing in campaigns. I am sure Mr. Wadsworth has much personal baggage he does not wish to see exposed. I think I will be supporting Mr. Demicco this year. He just seems like my kind of guy. Someone you can actually talk with and who will listen. - Dr. Bob
Saul Freedman October 24, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Dr. Bob, the facts are clear in the press release. If you support corporate welfare for hedge funds, Mike is your guy. If you support more spending and higher taxes to pay for it, Mike is your guy. These are the cold hard facts.
Robert Huelin October 24, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I think it is instructive that two people who are "schocked" by the "unethical" mailer don't identify anything actually unethical and also fail to disclose who they are in a clear attempt to mislead people who don't pay close attention to local politics. Mr. Dunn is a member of the Republican Town Committee and republican elected offical and Mr. Landry is Bill Wadsworth's campaign manager and a republican elected official. The dishonesty and shameless hypocrisy in both of your statements are truly astounding. And yes, I am the DTC chair (honest disclosure--you should try it), but I didn't check my integrity at the door when I took the job. On the substance of the mailer, there is nothing unethical or unfair about criticizing Mr. Wadsworth for the votes he cast on actual bills before the legislature. This is a job interview and voters deserve to know everything about his job performance and Bill has an obligation to explain those votes.
Robert Huelin October 24, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I also dispute the claim that everything done in Mike Demicco's time on the Town Council was a republican initiative. Indeed, Mr. Dunn should try to get some facts before he launches his invective. The current property tax relief program for seniors was passed over the opposition of Mr. Wadsworth, who voted againt the program enhancements during our debate. It was MIke Demicco, myself, Charlie Keniston and, I think, Don Perrault who created the current program--a demonstrably Democratic initiative and one that Mike Demicco should be applauded for making a reality.
Robert Huelin October 24, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Please, spare me the spin. Voting against the budget represented a vote against the identified spending, and Mr. Wadsworth knew that when he cast his vote. A legislator must always choose among competing priorities when casting a vote. Few bills ever represent a single, discrete, opinion-poll like question. Mr. Wadsworth made clear that he prioiritizes his ideological opposition to tax increases more than the identified benefits when he voted against the budget. And as for your "disclosure"--you aren't commenting on the press release that you wrote (indeed, you and Mr. Dunn fail to note that the campaign wrote the response). You are making broad, misleading and unsubstantiated slurs about Mike Demicco's character in a comment on last night's forum in a way that makes you appear to be a disinteresed observer, which you are not.
Robert Huelin October 24, 2012 at 03:05 PM
No, I see that you did mention the "campaign's official response" in the last sentence of your first comment.
Bill Stanford October 24, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Anyone who would have voted to give Malloy the giant taxpayer financed slush fund called the First Five is unfit for public office. Instead of financing Malloy's crony capitalism, we should have given every CT employer a tax break. If you look at our country's high growth states, they all have low taxes on businesses.
Mike Clark October 24, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Looking for full disclosure and accuracy, I served as the Town Council Chair (R) with Bill Wadsworth and Mike Demicco for 6 years. The Elderly Tax Relief was a bipartisan committee with Mike Demicco and Charlie Keniston appointed. They brought forward a proposal that granted the our seniors tax relief. It was passed with a unanimous Town Council vote (including Bill Wadsworth). Several years later Mike Demicco brought forward a proposal to enhance the relief. This proposal was defeated by the majority of the Town Council, who recognized that we were mired in a difficult economic downturn and we could not afford further action. I too thought that Mike's mailer which I received today was misleading and bitterly partisan. We have always prided ourselves in Farmington with having differences but being respectful and keeping the nasty partisan political claims under control. It looks to me like we have now abandoned that standard. This type of campaigning usually backfires. After seeing this mailer it will make it pretty easy for me to pull the lever for Bill Wadsworth in 2 weeks.
Robert Huelin October 24, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Mike Clark is correct that after we amended the proposal to create a more generous tax relief baseline that he and Mr. Wadsworth opposed, theCouncil approved the amended proposal. I assume that the politics of trying to force the tax plan back to the original proposal was simply untenable for Mr. Clark (though I do recall Mr. Keniston being loudly harangued from behind closed doors over his vote---a somewhat surprising way to endorse bipartisanship. Of course, that vote was taken, I think, in 2007, when the Council was 4-3. I am not at all surprised that a 5-2 Council held by the Republicans would refuse to increase the financial support our community provides to seniors.
Robert Huelin October 24, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I also must say that I continue to be amazed that a simple listing of actual votes is considered misleading and partisan. I assume Mr. Clark and his fellow republican elected officials simply don't believe that the public has the right to question the votes of their fellow conservatives. Mr. Wadsworth has long had the courage to tell rooms full of concerned parents that he believes we should cut education spending and lay off teachers--I've seen this with my own eyes. It is unfortunate that his surrogates lack Mr. Wadsworth's conviction.
Ron White October 25, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Are you kidding? If Mr. Wadsworth wants to justify his voting record I’ll listen but don’t try to flip an unpopular voting record as some kind of conspiracy theory. The votes are what they are. Mike Demicco is one of the most honest and capable guys I know, he has my vote.
Yankeelover October 27, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Dr Bob Johnson, Why would you bounce from the Farmington Patch to the Granby Patch? Political hack? Supporting the democratic candidates at all cost - sell your soul - even if it mean to fabricate? Think about it.
Ron White October 31, 2012 at 01:02 AM
At least he backs what he has to say with his real name. I'm voting for Mike Demicco
Phil Dunn October 31, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Here is some audio of Mike Demicco speaking at the forum. I will refrain from making any partisan conclusions about his performance. Decide for yourself. http://soundcloud.com/farmingtonctgop Oh, and "Dr. Bob" welcome to Farmington. Perhaps you can take an interest in the electoral process and register to vote.
Bob Johnson October 31, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Yankeelover, Phil - please stick to the issues. This is not about me, but I will not let you make personal attacks on me or anyone on the forum. Your worse than many of my students, this is not grade school anymore. Stick to the issues and not personal attacks on me or anyone for that matter. I am sick and tired of reading the patch and just seeing attacks from the Republican Party and your members. As a onetime Republican, I switched my party affiliation years ago because it has become a party that just fights against everything and never comes up with decent solutions. Please do not add to it and let us have an intelligent and decent debate. This is why I am supporting people like Mike Demicco this year. We need solution finders who actually work for us, rather than their party’s special interests.
Phil Dunn October 31, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Bob, if you want to be an out of town shill for the policies that ail our State then just say so, but trolling the local Patches to spread your views is going to be met with the repsonse it deserves. I am sorry that you have such a thin skin. I suppose you think Mike Demicco's misrepresentation of Bill Wadsworth's votes is just fine. You are entitled to your opinion, but the people of Farmington deserve to know that Bill voted against giveaways to wealthy corporations and a budget package that is crippling our State, not some feel good programs Mr. Demicco would like us to believe. Oh, and this is not grade school, this is serious business and you are not the teacher. I pity your students who have to listen to your liberal dogma and just sit there and take it. I don't.
Saul Freedman October 31, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Bob, are you sure "your" a teacher? Your difficulty with basic grammar leads me to believe "your" not being truthful with us.

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