Incumbent Steinberg set to take on Kraut for 136th
WESTPORT — Republican Greg Kraut won the unanimous nomination of the Republican Town Committee, solidifying his campaign to challenge four-term incumbent Rep. Jonathan Steinberg for his seat in Connecticut’s 136th General Assembly.
“Our town is under attack by the decisions in Hartford. Enough is Enough,” Kraut told the audience gathered in the Long Lots School Auditorium on May 22.
Up until a month ago Kraut, 42, was unaffiliated but registered with the Republican party in preparation for his campaign for state representative. No candidates contended Kraut for the Republican nomination.
“Even though we are at a Republican caucus, our campaign will be working with both Independents and Democrats,” Kraut said in his nomination speech, adding he hopes to cross party lines and do what’s right for the state.
First elected to the state assembly in 2010, incumbent Steinberg is in his fourth term representing the 136th district, which covers most of Westport. Kraut is the first person to challenge Steinberg this election season.
Steinberg received the Democrats nomination Wednesday. He last faced a challenge in 2016 from Republican Cathy Walsh, who he defeated by 15 percent.
In 2010, Steinberg defeated Republican Nitzy Cohen to win the seat.
Following his move from Scarsdale to Westport in 2016, Kraut became active in the Westport community and won a spot on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for the first time last November, earning more votes than any other RTM candidate from his district in Greens Farms.
During the 2017 state budget crisis, Kraut said he grew concerned and began to look through the state’s financial books and formulate a plan. In January, Kraut released his magnum opus for Connecticut’s economic future, which includes a detailed “three-year emergency recovery plan” for the state and more than 15 policy ideas, including a proposal to double the state’s gaming revenue with proceeds going to a separate education fund.
“At the end of the day, one thing is very clear from everybody I speak to we don’t need more taxes. We need more taxpayers and we need a real achievable economic recovery plan,” Kraut said, laying out his campaign to increase the amount of state funding for Westport schools, repeal the social security and pension tax, and improve failing train infrastructure.
Kraut criticized Steinberg for voting for the state union contract, saying, “Mr. Steinberg has shown a vested interest in the state workers and the needs of his party leaders over our seniors, your children and our town.”
A 20-year veteran of real estate management and development, Kraut last year founded his own firm, K Property Group, where he is a managing partner. Kraut lives in Westport with his wife, Haley, and the couple’s two young sons.
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, a Republican, endorsed Kraut at the convention.
When asked for comment about Kraut’s entry into the race to represent the 136th, Rep. Steinberg said, “I have nothing to say about Greg. He is the chosen opponent. Nothing more.”
The 136th District represents all of Westport, outside of the Greens Farms area.
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