The path to another term in office is a clear one for state representatives Lezlye Zupkus and Rosa Rebimbas.
Zupkus and Rebimbas, both Republicans, are running for re-election unopposed in the 89th District and 70th District, respectively.
Zupkus, a 50-year-old Prospect resident, was first elected to represent the 89th District in 2012 when she defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Vickie Nardello. Zupkus, who is the state director for the nonprofit Best Buddies Connecticut, was re-elected in 2014 after beating Nardello — the challenger this time — again. The district represents Bethany, Prospect and a portion of Cheshire.
Rebimbas, 40, is a Naugatuck native and an attorney with her main office in the borough. She was first elected to represent the 70th District, which covers a portion of Naugatuck, in a 2009 special election. She has held the seat since.
“I love the town that I live and work in, and I still think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done at the state level,” said Rebimbas on why she’s seeking another term.
For Rebimbas and Zupkus, the work they feel needs to be done centers on the state’s financial situation and business climate.
As Zupkus prepares for her third term in office, she said the most pressing issue in the next legislative session will be “getting our state back on a path to fiscal sustainability.”
“Over the last few years, the two highest tax increases in state history have burdened Connecticut residents. Even with those monumental tax hikes, we are still facing a deficit. … We cannot tax our way to prosperity. We also must stop over-spending and stop over-regulating businesses,” said Zupkus, who pointed out she did not seek state money for her campaign through the Citizens’ Election Program since she is unopposed.
Zupkus said the state has become the worst one to retire in and one of the worst states in which to do business in over the last few decades. She pointed to General Electric moving its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston as a sign that the state’s business policies aren’t working.
“We were able to keep Sikorsky headquartered in this state through a recent deal, but we must prioritize changing the overall business climate in this state so that ransom deals like this are not necessary. It is just not a good way to govern,” she said. “During the next session, I will continue to work to get our fiscal house in order so we can all afford to stay here, retire here, and make it easier for our children to live and raise their own families here.”
Rebimbas said the challenges facing the state are a result of “fiscal irresponsibility.” Families and businesses alike are facing a difficult challenge of whether to stay in Connecticut, she said. Some business owners she’s talked to felt they have no choice but to stay because they would take a loss if they sold their businesses, she said.
Rebimbas said the state needs to restore predictability and sustainability. Every year, she said, the same “bad business bills” get recycled in the legislature, and businesses looking to leave the state look closely at the business climate in other states.
Rebimbas added the state needs to stop putting Band-Aids on its problems.
“What we really need to start doing is looking long-term,” she said.
Aside from jobs and finances, Rebimbas said, her priorities include working to improve the quality of life for residents and serving her constituents, whether providing them information or getting legislation adopted, if needed.
“I am humbled and grateful for the trust that Naugatuck residents have put in to me to go up to Hartford to represent them,” Rebimbas said.