The choice for voters in the state’s 105th House District is between a one-term incumbent and a local politician.
Republican state Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria is seeking her second term representing the district, which covers Beacon Falls, Seymour and part of Derby.
Klarides-Ditria, a 49-year-old Seymour resident, said, if re-elected, her top priority would be getting the state’s budget in order.
“Our residents can’t take it anymore,” said Klarides-Ditria, referring to two of the highest tax increases in state history passed by the legislature in recent years.
Klarides-Ditria said the legislature needs to prioritize spending on important items.
“It is just like we do in homes every day. If you are making less money, you spend less. You can’t continually go to the savings account to pay for things,” Klarides-Ditria said.
Klarides-Ditria’s challenger is Democrat Kevin McDuffie, a 63-year-old Beacon Falls resident who is chairman of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
McDuffie said his main concern is the high taxes Connecticut residents pay.
“I feel like everybody is inundated with taxes. They are just skyrocketing and people are leaving the state,” McDuffie said.
McDuffie, an electrical engineer, said he would also focus on ensuring schools have the supplies they need to educate students.
“These poor teachers have no work books and they have to ration paper out. They lack just the basic everyday supplies. It is very sad,” McDuffie said.
When asked how he would address these issues, McDuffie said he wouldn’t be able to put a plan together until he is working as representative.
“I can’t tell you that until I get in there. I need to figure out how the engine drives before I figure out how we can fix this,” McDuffie said. “I need to see where is the money spent and how it is it being spent. But I do know some kind of change needs to be made.”
Klarides-Ditria said the state should only borrow money for projects that are necessary, pointing to bonding approved for a proposed splash pad and playground in New Haven as an example of wasteful spending.
“It would be great, but in tough times that is not a priority,” Klarides-Ditria said.
Klarides-Ditria said she would rather see the money put toward the Valley Fire Chiefs Regional Fire School, a training school for firefighters slated to be built in Beacon Falls.
“The Valley firefighters are trying to get a fire school and it has been in the queue for years. [The legislators] want to fund a splash pad, but they should be funding a new fire school,” Klarides-Ditria said.
McDuffie feels that Klarides-Ditria isn’t present enough in the communities she serves. He said he would do a better job of that.
“The people in the 105th need to see and hear from their representative,” McDuffie said.
Klarides-Ditria, an athletic trainer at Lauralton Hall High School in Milford, also serves as the football trainer for Seymour High School. In addition, Klarides-Ditria is involved in the day-to-day operations of her family’s business, Klarides Family Associates.
Klarides-Ditria said she will continue to fight for residents of her district and the state.
“I won’t give up until we get the things we need and fix the financial crisis we are in,” Klarides-Ditria said.