By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — State Sen. Jorge Cabrera, D-Hamden, will look to secure his second term representing the 17th District as he faces Republican challenger Kathy Hoyt in the Nov. 8 election.
The 17th District consists of Ansonia, Derby, Beacon Falls, Bethany, and parts of Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge.
Cabrera, 48, said he’s running again because he thinks legislators have done a good job putting people first by passing a bipartisan state budget with more than $600 million in tax cuts, including a child tax credit, and making investments in mental health.
“I want to get back into the legislature and make sure we help more people, whether it’s with the cost of home heating oil that looks like it’s going be an expensive season, or making sure people have enough to buy groceries, pay the rent and pay the mortgage,” Cabrera said. “So we’ve done some big things that I think are good, but we know we have more work to do so I want to keep doing that work.”
Hoyt, 58, of Hamden, said one reason she is driven to run for office is because her father served in World War II, joining other proud veterans who gave their life and time to fight for people’s freedoms.
“I think we’re at a crossroads right now where our freedoms are in question. I feel strongly we have rights and the government is at a point right now where they’re overreaching,” Hoyt said, citing how the state government has taken the vaccine exemption choice away from parents to do what is right for their own children.
Cabrera, who has a wife, Rebecca, and twin 17-year-old sons, said a big issue is the rising cost of living, particularly health care.
“Health care is a big drag on people’s budgets,” he said. “The cost of prescription drugs, we were able to lower it, but we have to do more. We have to lower it more and make health care more affordable for more people.”
Cabrera said he also wants to help people with child care and give police officers more support while trying to tackle crime, which includes expanding youth crime prevention programs.
“We need to do more after-school programs and get kids into productive things,” he said. “Let’s help identify at-risk youth and get them off the streets before they become hardened criminals. So I want to make sure we get more money for that.”
Hoyt, who has two sons, said the state needs to be tougher on criminals with higher bail amounts and longer prison terms. She also wants to fix the juvenile system and start helping at-risk youth in first grade, rather than high school.
“It’s these people over and over – they get arrested for stealing cars, shooting people, whatever the offense might be on that particular day, and they’re out of jail in two days,” Hoyt said. “We’ve seen the statistics on that. They go on to repeat the offenses again and again. We need to keep them in jail. We need to be stronger on crime. We need juvenile reform.”
Hoyt said it’s time Republicans get a chance to lead the legislature.
“I think we need to have a different look at things,” she said. “For the last 30 years, it’s been one-party rule. The Democrats have been in office, in power, for 30 years. That doesn’t make for good conversation, good brainstorming. It’s one way or the highway. I think we need other folks up at the Capitol to just give other ideas, to give suggestions, to bring a different voice to the table.”
Cabrera, a United Food and Commercial Workers Local 919 business representative and director of organizing, said one of his goals is to make sure all of the communities in the district receive their fair share of infrastructure funds for bridges, roads and buildings.
“That’s one of the biggest things for economic development that people look at is the condition of the towns,” he said.
Cabrera said one of his other goals is to fill vacant manufacturing jobs in the state.
“We have to do a better job of marketing to young people to present this as an option because they’re good, solid middle-class jobs,” he said.
Hoyt, a William Raveis real estate agent for commercial and residential properties, said she wants to be a voice for the district.
“I want to make our streets safer,” she said. “I want families to feel secure in their homes and I want communities to feel safe while they’re out.
“The design of government should be it’s the power of the people. That’s the basic reason why I’m running,” she added. “The people feel they have no voice. Government was designed to be a voice for them and we’ve gotten so ridiculously far away from that, that it’s alarming.”