By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — The road to another term in Hartford is clear for two local legislators.
Democratic state Sen. Joan Hartley, who represents the 15th Senate District, and Republican state Rep. David Labriola, who represents the 131st House District, are not facing a challenge in the Nov. 3 election.
Hartley, 70, who worked as a human resources manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield and educator in Waterbury, is running for her 11th term. The 15th District covers parts of Naugatuck, Waterbury and Middlebury.
“I’m running because I think I had significant accomplishments, and now more than ever there’s many more things that have to be accomplished and addressed,” Hartley said.
This is the first time during Hartley’s time in office she is unopposed. She is also endorsed by the Independent Party this year.
Labriola, 60, a criminal defense attorney with an office in Naugatuck, is running for his 10th term representing the 131st District, which covers Oxford and parts of Naugatuck and Southbury.
“Public service was instilled in me by parents at an early age,” Labriola said. “Serving as state rep was a great honor in my life to help my constituents with their needs from the state government.”
Both incumbent legislators said creating jobs and strengthening the economy are their top priorities.
“My primary goal is trying to get people back to work and to take advantage of the opportunities that COVID has presented the state of the Connecticut,” said Hartley, who is married and has two children.
Hartley, who received bachelor’s degrees in sociology and education from Elms College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree in political science from Trinity College, feels the influx of people moving to Connecticut from neighboring, congested metropolitan areas due to the pandemic makes the state’s labor force more competitive and attractive to businesses. The state needs to capitalize on this to grow the economy, she said.
Hartley added the state needs to work with educational institutions to provide flexible training for certificate and degree programs, and address what she believes is a shortage of teachers in the manufacturing and health care fields.
Hartley said the state should recognize the work and learning experiences of people in manufacturing and health care fields as postsecondary credits so these people could have an easier opportunity to transition to become teachers.
Labriola, who is married and has a son and two stepchildren, earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from Yale University and graduated from University of Connecticut School of Law.
Labriola said the state needs to provide incentives to businesses to spur job creation, while opposing new tax increases.
“The top goal is to create a business friendly climate to create jobs and grow the economy,” Labriola said.
Labriola said his priorities also include continuing to support initiatives to improve the Waterbury branch of the Metro-North Railroad as well as the borough’s plan for a transportation-oriented development on the vacant lot at the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road.