Republican state Sen. George Logan is seeking his second term representing the 17th Senatorial District. To earn another term, he will have to fend off a challenge from Democrat Jorge Cabrera.
The 17th District covers all or parts of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge
Logan, a 49-year-old Ansonia resident, said, if reelected, his top priority would be fighting against unnecessary tax legislation, adding that he voted against a proposed restaurant tax and a cell phone tax.
“I believe that Connecticut is becoming less and less affordable for more and more people. We have tried raising taxes, which has really put us in a worse financial situation,” said Logan, the director of environmental management for Aquarian Water Company.
Logan said he’s also against implementing tolls on the state’s highways.
“That is more of a mileage tax. I know folks that are having a hard enough time paying for gas without having to pay for tolls,” Logan said.
Logan said the state needs to reprioritize how it spends money. He pointed to $10 million approved by the legislature to study on tolls and $40 million approved for new computers at the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
“Throwing good money after bad is not the way to go,” Logan said. “Government agencies need to be more effective and more efficient.”
“In order for us to live the quality of life we strive for we need a healthy economy,” Logan added.
Cabrera, a 44-year-old Hamden resident, said one of his top priorities would be making sure education is properly funded.
Cabrera, who works for the United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union Local 919, said many school districts across the state are underfunded. The state’s Education Cost Sharing grant needs to be recalculated to ensure it is funding school districts fairly, he said.
Cabrera said the metrics used to calculate the funding each district is given are not only incorrect, they are not being followed.
“We need to do a better job because it is not being followed. I would use my senate seat to fight for the funding we need,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera said he would like to see the state use different metrics when calculating education funding, such as the number of people on HUSKY Health, the state’s insurance program.
Cabrera said the state also needs to make sure it properly funds special education, which is one of the largest costs for local school districts.
Both Logan and Cabrera said the state needs to do more to support businesses. However, they had different ideas about the best way to do so.
Logan said it primarily comes down to not increasing taxes. He said high taxes have led companies to leave the state, which in turn leads to fewer jobs and people moving out of the state.
“It is tough for companies here in Connecticut to expand or to want to come to Connecticut when we continue to raise taxes,” Logan said.
Logan said the state needs leadership that will show, with words and actions, that it is welcoming to businesses.
“We need to show by our actions we are a business-friendly state,” Logan said.
Cabrera said the state should do more to help businesses when they are just starting out. He said he would like to expand the state’s low interest loan program for new small- and medium-sized businesses.
The state also needs to do a better job investing in vocational schools and community colleges where students can learn a trade, Cabrera said. He said companies have told him how difficult it is to find certified workers.
Logan said he brings business experience and the experience of living in the 17th District for over 20 years to the position. Logan said he’s served on the Griffin Hospital Board of Directors, the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA Board of Directors, and has managed a multi-million wastewater treatment plant.
“We need more people with business acumen to move Connecticut in a different direction,” Logan said.
Cabrera also pointed to his experience. He worked as a legislative aide for former state Rep. Moira Lyons when she was speaker of the House of Representatives and has experience organizing people through his job, he said.
“In think we have a big opportunity to elect a state senator that has experience fighting in the trenches for funding. It is something I have been doing for 20 years,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera said he does not feel the district has been represented well, pointing to recent cuts in Hamden’s state education funding.
“We need to do a much better job fighting,” Cabrera said. “I will fight for [the district] to make sure small business, seniors and schools have the resources they need.”