Boucher eyes run for governor

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Republican State Sen. Toni Boucher speaks Tuesday on the Naugatuck Green during a press conference to announce she is exploring a run for governor in 2014. Boucher, who lives in Wilton, grew up in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Republican State Sen. Toni Boucher speaks Tuesday on the Naugatuck Green during a press conference to announce she is exploring a run for governor in 2014. Boucher, who lives in Wilton, grew up in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — In the familiar setting of the town she grew up in, Republican state Sen. Toni Boucher announced she is exploring a run at the governor’s seat.

“We need proven leaders. Those that can be trusted, who know how to put the overall good of the state before any interest group,” Boucher said Tuesday morning at a press conference on the Naugatuck Green.

Boucher announced she filed the paperwork to form an exploratory committee on Monday.

Boucher, who lives in Wilton, has served in the state legislature for the past 17 years. She currently represents the 26th Senate District, which covers the towns of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton. She represented the 143rd House District, Wilton and Norwalk, for 12 years before being elected state senator.

Boucher said she chose Naugatuck to make her announcement because it’s where she first fell in love with Connecticut.

“I thought it was very important to show you where I first learned to love this incredible and breathtakingly beautiful state,” Boucher said.

Boucher’s family immigrated to Naugatuck from Italy in 1955 when she was 5 years old. She grew up in the borough and graduated from Naugatuck High School in 1968. Growing up in Naugatuck, Boucher said, her father instilled in her the value of hard work and self-reliance.  

Boucher said she grew up in Naugatuck at a time when Connecticut was prosperous and provided opportunities for poor, immigrant families like her own. She said the state was the envy of the nation for its low taxes, excellent education system and superior quality of life.

Now, she said, she can’t recognize the Connecticut she grew up in with the heavy tax burden, its unfriendly business climate, dire economic situation and mounting debt facing the state today.  

 “Connecticut is in serious trouble, very serious trouble,” she said.

Boucher, the director of the nonprofit financial firm Commonfund Institute, said she can’t stand by while the policies of Democrat Gov. Dannel Malloy and the Democratic Party drag Connecticut to the bottom of every economic ranking.  

The Democratic Party’s answer to the economic situation in Connecticut has been to increase state spending and pay for it with new taxes, Boucher said.    

“People and business can’t keep tightening their own belts while the government keeps spending their hard-earned money,” Boucher said.

Instead of offering one-time “handouts” for businesses to expand or move into the state, Boucher said, the state needs to expand its tax base to help businesses grow.

At the end of the day, Boucher said, the standard for government must be raised, which means governing with integrity and principles.

Boucher said she will raise funds and assess her support for governor over the next few months before ultimately making the decision to run.

“I firmly believe that those of us who know how we got into this mess, and what it takes to fix it, have an obligation to step forward and do something about it,” Boucher said.