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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WALLINGFORD - Trying to make a name in the 90th House District

As published in the Record Journal, Saturday September 15, 2012

By Russell Blair
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2225

Recognition is big problem for Darter in campaign vs. Fritz

WALLINGFORD - Republican Guy Darter has been going door-to-door since June in an effort to convince voters to elect him to the 90th House District and send home 28 year state Rep.Mary Fritz. Darter, a Cheshire businessman making his first run for elected office, won his party’s nomination in May and has been working hard to get his name known. He also met with voters at the recent Cheshire Fall Festival. “I’ve gotten a great response,” he said. “I’ve been talking to them about the issues. I think people are fed up with the state government.”

Fritz, a Wallingford Democrat, was first elected in 1982, lost in 1984 and has won every election since. In addition to sending out mailers to her constituents and going door-to-door, Fritz has been having meet and greets in some of the new neighborhoods her district added in last year’s redistricting.

“In an informal atmosphere like that, people feel comfortable to talk about anything and everything,” she said.

Fritz said she does her best to be available to her constituents and is constantly meeting and talking with constituents at church or in the grocery store. She said she routinely appears at community events, such as the Fall Festival and Wallingford’s recent 9/11 memorial service.

Both Darter and Fritz qualified for public campaign financing. The candidates received $26,850 from the state’s election fund after raising at least $5,000 on their own from at least 150 donors from their district.

Darter said his primary focus if elected will be to reduce the tax burden — particularly on senior citizens, by eliminating state income tax on social security benefits — and make the state more business friendly. He pointed to a recent study by the Institute for Truth in Accounting that ranked Connecticut’s financial state as the worst in the nation.

“Spending is out of control,” Darter said. “Democrats have controlled the General Assembly 28 of the last 30 years. (Fritz) is a Democratic leader. She can’t run from it.”

Fritz considers herself a moderate Democrat and said she has voted against several bills that weren’t in the best interests of her constituents, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s most recent budget that raised taxes by $1.8 billion. She noted that the Institute for Truth in Accounting report only details Connecticut’s fiscal status through mid-2010 and she believes things have gotten better since then.

“I think the jobs bill has been helpful,” Fritz said.

Darter is a believer in term limits and a true part-time legislature.

He wants to limit state legislators to five terms.

“A state government should not be run by career politicians,” he said.

Fritz said she works hard on behalf of her constituents and it’s not uncommon for her to meet with one on a Saturday morning to work on a problem. She said some of her recent accomplishments including working to bring EDAC Technologies Corp. to the former Pratt & Whitney plant in Cheshire and fighting the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection over phosphorus regulations that could cost local towns millions.

“I worked for my community on a lot of issues,” she said.

Darter, Fritz and other candidates are expected to appear at the Cheshire-Wallingford League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 11 at Cheshire Town Hall, where they will field questions from the audience. The event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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