By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
PROSPECT — A veteran state lawmaker and a newcomer to politics are vying for the 16th Senate District seat.
Republican state Sen. Rob Sampson has received the GOP’s endorsement to run for his second term in the 16th district, which includes Southington, Wolcott, Prospect and part of Waterbury and Cheshire.
“I am running again because I love my country and the state I call home. Unfortunately, I also feel the need to defend the American system of government,” Sampson said. “I am in favor of freedom, opportunity, equal rights and equal protection for every individual, and preserving the American dream.”
Sampson served as the state representative in the 80th House District from 2011 until winning a seat in the Senate in 2018. While representing the 80th district, he founded the Connecticut General Assembly’s Conservative Caucus, and served as its first chairman.
Sampson, 50, lives in Wolcott and is a realtor and insurance agent. He’s single with no children.
Sampson said the state has been mismanaged for decades and the tax burden has become severe, forcing businesses and people to leave Connecticut. He said spending and taxes have to be dramatically cut to create economic growth, pay down debt and make the state a more attractive place to live, work and retire.
“I believe my voice has helped awaken a great many Connecticut residents to the best path forward,” Sampson said. “I am committed to standing strong for these principles and speaking loudly to influence public opinion to help earn a majority to make it happen.”
Democrat Jack Perry received the endorsement to challenge Sampson for the Senate seat.
Perry, 30, lives in Southington with his fiancé, Lindsay Terry, and the couple is expecting a baby boy. He graduated from Southington High School in 2008 and started his own business, HQ Dumpsters and Recycling, a waste management company based out of Southington, three months before he graduated.
Perry said he’s running to make a difference, and he constantly hears concerns from customers throughout central Connecticut. He said that state needs to become a more affordable place to live and more business friendly. He added the state needs to take care of the environment to preserve it for the future generations.
“Overall, I want to make a difference. What I learned in business, I could take that and bring it to the capital,” Perry said. “I’ve built a successful business with the support of the community. I want to make Connecticut more attractive, business friendly and a more affordable place to live.”
Perry hasn’t held an elected political office before. He came up 57 votes shy in a run for the Southington Town Council in 2017, which he described as a learning experience that gave him a bipartisan perspective. He is involved in the Southington community, including as a member of the Southington Apple Harvest Committee and a board member for the Southington Historical Society.
“As long as my community is behind me and my heart is in it, I could move mountains,” Perry said. “Whenever there’s something in the community that needs to get done, I always roll up my sleeves to help in whatever way I can.”