As published in the Record Journal, Tuesday February 14, 2012
By Russell Blair
CHESHIRE / WALLINGFORD — A local Republican businessman has announced his interest in his party’s nomination for the state House seat now held by Democrat Mary Fritz, of Wallingford. The 90th House District consists of portions of Cheshire and Wallingford.
Guy Darter, 57, co-owner of Darter Specialties on Cornwall Avenue, says he wants to work to make Connecticut more business-friendly.
“As a business person, I can’t take what they’re doing,” Darter said. “It’s not a good state to do business. I want to bring a business sense to government.”
Fritz, 73, said she is “happy to have someone interested in the seat.” However, she said she has done a lot to help small businesses during her years in the legislature.
“I’ve run two small businesses, so I know all about that,” she said. “In 28 years, I’ve helped out a lot of business people, but I’ve never heard from Mr. Darter,” she said.
Darter will be making his first run for elected office, but said he has always been interested in politics and has been attending Republican Town Committee and Town Hall meetings for several years, in addition to visiting the state Capitol for the past decade. With his kids out of college and a growing dissatisfaction with state government, Darter said now is as good a time as any to run.
After growing up in Norwalk, Darter took undergraduate and MBA classes at the University of New Haven. He started Coupon Madness, a direct mail advertising business, which he sold in 1990 to start Darter Press Inc., which began in his garage with one printing press.
The company started as a commercial printer before shifting its focus to screen printing, embroidery and signs and banners. Darter co-owns the business with his wife, Alice, and has lived in Cheshire for 32 years.
Among his chief goals is holding the state budget to generally accepted accounting principles. Darter says the rules will make it so state government can’t rely on “phony revenue” to balance the budget.
“No longer can they play with the numbers,” he said.
The state budget has gotten out of control, Darter said, and taxes and mandates make it hard for his businesses to compete with similar shops in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.
“The state is fundamentally broken,” he said.
As a business owner, Darter said he’s against the proposal by House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden, to raise the minimum wage.
“Not in this economy,” he said. “The high school kids won’t have jobs, you’re hurting that population.”
Darter also wants to eliminate the state income tax on Social Security benefits for seniors, and cap the gross receipts tax on gasoline.
Another statewide issue Darter is campaigning on is the death penalty, saying he supports it and wants to strengthen the law to make it easier to carry out.
“It’s impossible to carry out,” he said. “You should get one appeal, and you’re done. ... There’ve been no wrongful convictions on Connecticut’s death row. If there was a flaw, it would come up.”
Darter said Fritz is “very nice,” but it is “time for her to retire.”
“Her politics are old,” he said.
Darter also proposes term limits of 10 years for state legislators.