Philosophical differences mark race in 16th District

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Joseph Markley
Joseph Markley

Voters will decide between two candidates with philosophical differences on the role of government.

Republican state Sen. Joseph Markley believes the state needs to cut costs to live within its means. His challenger, Democrat Ryan Rogers, would prefer to find ways to “maximize revenue” by looking at how the state levies taxes.

Markley and Rogers are running in the 16th District, which includes Wolcott, Prospect, Southington, and parts of Cheshire and Waterbury.

Rogers, a 31-year-old insurance auditor, supports tax reforms that would look at new ways of generating revenue — “not necessarily raising taxes but just being more effective in the way we do taxes in the state.”

Rogers also says he’d use his experience working as an insurance auditor to eliminate waste and fraud.

Markley, 59, is seeking his fourth term representing the district. He was first elected for a term in 1985 and has held the seat since 2011. He campaigns on the premise of reducing government spending. He advocates eliminating layers of government such as the Board of Regents, which has more than 100 employees and governs state-run colleges and universities.

Rogers accuses Markley, a frequent critic of Gov. Dannel Malloy, for “voting against everything, though he hasn’t stopped anything from happening.”

Markley says he’s proud of his record. He counts legislation he passed that makes it easier for seniors to obtain medical care at home as one of his biggest accomplishments.

“I think it’s safe to say it’s kept tens of thousands of seniors in their homes instead of nursing homes and it’s safe to say every year it saves the state tens of thousands of dollars,” Markley said.

Ryan Rogers
Ryan Rogers

Also, he points out that he helped initiate a major study of opioid addiction through the Program Review and Investigations Committee.

Rogers and Markley are both from Southington. Rogers, who serves as an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals, believes the state needs to find ways to make higher education more affordable. He also suggests municipalities consider regionalizing services.

Rogers said his experience serving in the Air Force, and as a current member of the International Guard, has taught him to be a leader and to work with others to achieve a common goal.

“I know I have the patience to work with people from all different political views as well,” Rogers said.

Markley said his goals if re-elected include budget cuts that could be implemented “without too much pain” and in “as orderly a fashion as possible.” Also, he aims to “prevent Malloy from doing any further damage to the state.”

He said he’s inspired to continue serving in the legislature because of his “love for this country and respect for its principles and history.”

“I’ve spent a lifetime pondering that in my own way,” Markley said.