By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — History will repeat itself at the polls Nov. 3 as the 17th Senate District race features a rematch from 2018.
Republican state Sen. George Logan, 51, of Ansonia, and Democrat Jorge Cabrera, 46, of Hamden, are once again running against each other for the Senate seat. The district includes Beacon Falls, Ansonia, Bethany, Derby and parts of Naugatuck, Hamden and Woodbridge.
Logan defeated Cabrera in a tight race in 2018 that was decided by a recount.
Logan, who is the director of community relations at Aquarion Water Company, is seeking his third term in office.
“I want to help to make my community and the state more affordable for families and individuals,” Logan said.
Cabrerea, a business representative for the United Food Commercial Workers Local 919, feels Logan isn’t standing up for the people in the district.
“I just feel he (Logan) does not reflect the values of his district at all,” Cabrera said. “He’s not getting the job done.”
Logan, who is married and has two children, received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Trinity College and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at University of Bridgeport.
Cabrera, who is married and has two children, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Quinnipiac University.
Both candidates said improving educational opportunities and better funding for schools in the state are among their top priorities.
Logan believes some communities aren’t getting their fair share in state education funding.
“I would like to see the state follow the Education Cost Sharing formula more closely and modify it from year to year as needed, but let’s make sure that all our communities are playing in a fair playing field,” Logan said.
Logan also said tuition for state colleges and universities should be frozen because increasing tuition costs are making it difficult for people to afford college.
Cabrera feels the Education Cost Sharing grant isn’t providing some communities what they need for education. He said the state should provide better financial support for schools as well as invest in and market vocational jobs to make trade school a more viable opportunity for students.
“Our schools are not funded as well as they need to be to provide a good education, especially special education,” Cabrera said. “We need to also do a better job of getting kids who don’t want to go to college into the trades, making that an attractive career path for them.”
Logan said unfunded mandates, excessive regulations and rising taxes are putting a strain on families and businesses in the state.
“We need to show businesses and individuals that we get it. We’re going to do more to prioritize our spending, work within our means,” Logan said. “I believe if we do that, it’s going to encourage businesses to want to stay here in Connecticut because right now we got companies leaving the state and as a result those jobs are leaving the state.”
Logan said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the state’s financial crisis.
“Once the health crisis is over, we’re still going to most likely be in a financial crisis. Until we fix that financial crisis, it’s going to continue to make it more difficult for people to be able to afford to live here because what’s happening now with the current leadership in Hartford is they’re taxing people more, making it more expensive for folks to live here.”
Cabrera listed standing up to utility companies and improving access to health care among his other priorities
Eversource and United Illuminating came under fire for their preparations for Tropical Storm Isaias and response to the widespread power outages that followed. Eversource also faced criticism for a rate hike.
Cabrera said there is lack of accountability when it comes to utility companies. He said a citizen, who is an Eversource customer, should be added the company’s board of directors. He added rate increases should be tied to performance.
“If they don’t perform, when they ask for rate increases in the future or compensation that is just way too high, then I think that they shouldn’t get it,” Cabrera said.
In regards to health care, Cabrera said more groups should pool together for better access to high quality, affordable health care.
“I think we need to a better job of letting small businesses, nonprofits and municipalities pool their customers, the people that they cover in a way to leverage better rates from insurance companies,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera said his message to the voters is he has over 25 years of experience fighting for working people and he believes in working across the aisle to get results.
“Elect someone who is going to be on their side,” Cabrera said. “If they vote for me, they’re going to have someone who is going to champion them.”
Logan said the state needs to head down a different path.
“My message to voters is that we need to go in a different direction than we are now,” Logan said. “The state is lacking the proper leadership to move us in a direction that is going to help us to come out of this financial crisis.”