WATERBURY — A 28-year-old Waterbury man is seeking to unseat the long-time incumbent in the 15th state Senate District.
Republican Karl Shehu, an attorney, announced his candidacy for the state senate seat last week in a press release. The district includes parts of Waterbury, Naugatuck and Middlebury.
The seat is currently held by Democrat Joan Hartley, who has held the office since 2001. Prior to serving in the Senate, Hartley represented the 73rd District in the State House of Representatives for 16 years.
“I have found that the longer politicians are in Hartford, the less relatable and less connected they are to the people at home,” said Shehu in the press release. “Over the next several months, I will embark on a door-to-door campaign not seen in this district in decades. By listening and learning from these encounters, I will truly be the people’s voice in Hartford. The 15th District deserves a leader who is in touch with the economic realities faced by a struggling middle class — not a career politician beholden to a small segment of special interest groups. Next January, I will take my message of fiscal conservatism and individual responsibility to the state Capitol.”
Hartley has not officially announced whether she is running for another term. She said Tuesday she has formed a candidacy committee to explore the possibility.
According to a press release, Shehu intends to apply for the state’s Citizens’ Election Program, which will require him to raise over $15,000 from at least 300 individuals in the district. In doing so, Shehu will receive over $100,000 in public financing to fund his campaign.
Shehu owns Shehu LLC, a law office in Waterbury. Shehu said in the release he is sensitive to the plights of small business owners.
“Connecticut’s one-party rule in Harford has resulted in a business environment increasingly hostile to economic growth and consistently ranked among the worst in the nation. We must do better.” said Shehu in the release. “Small businesses are the economic engine that can drive us out of this prolonged economic slump. As a small businessman, I understand the various roadblocks imposed by Connecticut’s expansive bureaucracy and onerous regulations. When elected, I will work tirelessly to alleviate those burdens and foster a business environment that focuses on growth and jobs.”
Party endorsements for state senate will be held between May 6 and 27. The election will take place on Nov. 4.