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Slate of candidates endorsed by GOP, Dems for the November ballot

Updated 5:21 pm, Thursday, June 5, 2014
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143rd HOUSE DISTRICT

Includes the western section of Westport, as well as most of Wilton and the eastern section of Norwalk.

Incumbent Republican state Rep. Gail Lavielle is seeking re-election.

Serving her second term in the state House of Representatives, Lavielle is the House Republican leader of the General Assembly's Commerce Committee and a member of the Appropriations, Education and Higher Education committees. She is also the House Republican leader of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation.

"People throughout the state fear that neither they nor their children can have a future in Connecticut," Lavielle said in her acceptance speech. "They worry about jobs, about high taxes, about the costs of higher education and about retirement."

She said "Connecticut's fall to the bottom of so many nationwide rankings, along with the decline of its education system and infrastructure, is all the more distressing because our state is endowed with enormous potential."

Democrat Keith Rodgerson, of Wilton, an economic development professional, will try to unseat Lavielle.

Rodgerson, a Wilton resident for about a year, previously lived in Bridgeport, where he served for two terms on the City Council.

A Harvard University graduate, he has worked in economic planning and development and is the executive director of the Neighborhood District Economic Development Corp., which provides support to small businesses, the foundation of a strong economy.

"I am running because I believe we can do better," he said in his acceptance speech.

"We can do more to make our area affordable for our families and seniors," he added. "We can do more to support our local businesses, protect them from big-box development and create an environment where they can thrive. And we can do more to support our children and public education, from pre-K to college. I believe we can achieve progress, but we need to have a representative with a seat at the table and the experience and pragmatic nature to get there."

136th HOUSE DISTRICT

Encompasses most of Westport.

Incumbent Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat, is seeking his third, two-year term.

Steinberg has been a member of Westport's Representative Town Meeting, serving as its deputy moderator three times. He also served on a number of town committees.

As state representative, Steinberg said his top priorities have been job creation, fundamental operating and budget reform, and establishing a more progressive energy policy for Connecticut.

"As a member of the Transportation Committee, I've fought to make sure that our urgent transportation infrastructure needs remain top state priorities," he said in his acceptance speech. "I will use my role to hold Metro-North accountable on its promises to provide reliable and safe train service and will work both at the state level and with our federal elected officials to secure the funding we need to fix our railroad and highways."

Steinberg was a marketing executive for more than 25 years, working primarily in New York City.

Republican Brandi Briggs, a member of the Representative Town Meeting, will challenge Steinberg.

"As a mom of three children, I am determined to make sure Westport's future is bright," Briggs said in her acceptance speech. "That means preserving our great schools, creating more good-paying jobs, protecting our environment, lowering our tax burden and improving transportation and traffic in our area. To achieve this, we need positive, forward-thinking leadership representing us in Hartford."

Briggs is a lawyer with expertise in trusts and estates, civil litigation and elder law, and is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Colorado School of Law. She is also an active volunteer in the community, serving on the Executive Board of the Westport Young Woman's League and as a member of the Long Lots Elementary School PTA.

26th SENATE DISTRICT

Includes all of Westport, Wilton, Redding, Ridgefield and parts of New Canaan, Weston and Bethel.

Incumbent state Sen. Toni Boucher, a Republican who has represented the district since 2008, is seeking another term.

"I do not take this responsibility lightly or take you for granted," Boucher told delegates in her acceptance speech.

Citing a recent Gallup poll that found that nearly 50 percent of Connecticut residents said they would leave the state if they could, Boucher said she will campaign to promote Connecticut jobs, reduce state debt and restore integrity in government in the face of what she called the Malloy administration's irresponsible spending.

Challenging Boucher is Democrat Phil Sharlach, of Wilton, who retired after a nearly 40-year career in business and corporate management, and has longtime involvement in community service. He also worked for the U.S. General Accountability Office and served as an adjunct professor in management accounting at the University of New Haven.

"We need representatives in Hartford who understand the value of investment and can achieve progress, not obstruct it," Sharlach said in a press release. "Our representative has demonstrated time and time again that she is more interested in obstruction and party politics, instead of being part of the solution and getting the job done. It is time for a change."

Boucher could face a primary for the GOP nomination.

Walter Reddy, of Weston, has said he plans to challenge Boucher, using the petition process to qualify for the ballot in the August primary.

In a press release, Reddy said Boucher "voted in lock step with the Democrats for pushing gun control, and sweeping costly mandated mental health mandates in S.B. 1160, Public Act 13-3." He said this legislation was "introduced, then passed under emergency certification without any pubic testimony or facts."

Reddy, according to the press release, has the personal endorsement of former GOP presidential candidate and Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

28th SENATE DISTRICT

Includes parts of Westport, Fairfield, Weston, Easton and Newtown. The seat is held by Republican John McKinney, who is seeking this year's GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Kim Fawcett, state representative in the 133rd District in Fairfield since 2006, received the Democratic endorsement.

Fawcett served on the boards of the League of Women Voters, the Stratfield School PTA and the Brooklawn Park Association. She remains an active member of the community and volunteer at Black Rock Congregational Church. In 2007, Fawcett and her husband, Rick, became founding supporters of Urban Impact, a nonprofit organization that enlists suburban volunteers to help children living in the P.T. Barnum housing community in Bridgeport.

In her spare time, Fawcett is the producer, director and host of a children's talk show called "Kids Who Care," whose mission is to engage children in a conversation about current issues.

Tony Hwang, also a Fairfield resident, and state representative in the 134th District, will challenge Fawcett. He is a member of the Legislature's Insurance and Public Safety committees and is ranking member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

He was born in Taiwan to parents that had escaped Communist China as teens and lived under martial law in Taiwan.

Hwang graduated with a bachelor's degree in labor relations and organizational behavior in 1987, worked briefly for United Technologies and then entered the executive search business, ultimately founding his own company recruiting technology executives. For the past 12 years, he has been involved in residential real estate, currently with Coldwell Banker.

PROBATE JUDGE

The judicial district includes all of Westport and Weston.

Lisa Wexler, the incumbent Republican, is seeking a full, four-year term in the Westport/Weston Judicial District. She was elected probate judge for the district this past November in a special election to fill the term of former Probate Judge Kevin O'Grady.

"In the time I have served, I have kept my promises to you. I give weekly free educational seminars on probate topics," said Wexler.

"Court hearings are available on CDs for the first time," she added. "We have reduced the backlog of matters by hiring two part-time clerks. We have substantially increased our roster of attorneys, as well as doctors, social workers, psychiatric nurses and other professionals willing to help. When I ran for office just a few short months ago, I pledged to you that I would advocate for those without a voice. I pledged to you that I would do my best to rule with fairness, integrity and adherence to the law. I renew those pledges now, and I ask you for your support in November, to continue the work that we have just begun."

Wexler has been a Westport resident since 1989 and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1985 and the Connecticut Bar in 1990.

Democrats are not running anyone for this position, according to Democratic Town Committee Chairman John Hartwell.