In the final week of campaigning for Election 2010, Citizen’s News talked with several of the area’s Democratic and Republican town committee chairpersons to gather their opinions on the races affecting locals.
In Prospect, the race in the 89th Connecticut house district between Democratic state Rep. Vickie Nardello and Republican challenger Katheryn Brown has become a competitive campaign. Nardello, who has served for 16 years in the state house, faces a strong challenge from Brown, according to the chairmen of both parties’ committees in Prospect.
“Vickie’s been an incumbent for many years and has always been strong in the community,” said Michael Scaviola, chairman of the Prospect Democratic Town Committee. “As far as Kathy Brown goes, I see a lot of people interested in what she has to offer. It’s hard to say how that one turns out. That’s one to watch.”
“I see a lot more grassroots support for Brown,” said Tom Galvin, chairman of the Prospect Republican Town Committee. “Vicky keeps talking about her record, and her record means to me spending tax dollars. If something good were going to happen, it was going to happen in the last 16 years. Kathy Brown will be some fresh, new blood in there.”
With Naugatuck’s state house representatives Rosa Rebimbas (R-70th) and David Labriola (R-131st) not being challenged, the only other contested state house race is the 105th district in Beacon Falls, where Democratic state Rep. Theresa Conroy faces Republican challenger Len Greene, Jr.
Beacon Falls Democratic Town Committee chairwoman Katherine Grace has been impressed with Conroy’s accomplishments in her first term and want to see Conroy keep her seat in the state house.
“I’m a very strong supporter of hers,” Grace said. “I’ve been so impressed with what she’s accomplished in one term. As a freshman up there, she’s gotten onto committees to work on different things. I’m very happy with her.”
Beacon Falls Republican Town Committee chairman John Blesse didn’t immediately return a call for comment, but he has previously voiced his displeasure with Conroy’s first term.
“There’s a solid argument that not only have we not brought jobs into the area, but I would bet … we’ve lost quite a lot of jobs in the past few years,” Blesse said in a CN interview in mid-July. “So I really can’t point to a lot of accomplishments that I think were stellar in her first term.”
Blesse is also on record as saying he thinks Len Greene, Sr.’s state congressional service will provide stability and guidance for the younger Greene if he is elected to the state house.
“I would certainly think that what his father was able to accomplish in those twelve years, and Len’s ability to hear his father and know what his father was doing in that period would be a benefit to anyone,” Blesse said in the same CN interview.
Grace says she doesn’t like the negativity she has heard from Greene, Jr.
“The first time I had ever seen him was at last week’s Citizen’s News debate, and I expected more from him,” Grace said. “He was just repeating platitudes from the Tea Party. He was also attacking our first selectman [Susan Cable], and that’s not something a state representative should be doing. I’m afraid to have him up there.”
The 17th senate district race between longtime incumbent Democrat Joseph Crisco and Republican challenger Tamath Rossi has also attracted attention. Some, like Grace, say Crisco is an asset to the area and should return to the state senate.
“Joe is so well known partly because of all he’s done,” Grace said. “He’s worked and produced for all these years. He’s done things for children and helped pass bills [concerning insurance and healthcare coverage]. He’s done so many things to affect the daily lives of so many people—emotionally, physically, and financially.”
Others, like Naugatuck Republican Town Committee chairwoman Dorothy Hoff, think the district needs fresh representation in the state senate.
“Mr. Crisco is a gentleman and God, country, and family are important to him,” Hoff said. “But he’s been in there too long and is out of touch with what families need right now. I see Tamath Rossi as a mother who can relate to the needs of families in today’s world.”
Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is expected to maintain her seat as Connecticut’s 3rd district representative in the U.S. Congress, but she’s being challenged by Naugatuck resident Jerry Labriola.
Republican leaders acknowledge that the chances of Labriola unseating DeLauro are slim, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are dissatisfied with DeLauro’s record.
“She used to work for [U.S. Senator] Chris Dodd and comes out of that mold of taking tax dollars and spending them on a lot of unnecessary things,” Galvin said. “I think her biggest accomplishment was going to the White House to watch the Super Bowl with President Obama. I think Rosa’s going to win, but it’s too bad because I like Jerry a lot. I just don’t think his message has got out very much.”
Democrats say DeLauro still has strong public support and Labriola has been too quiet to garner any sort of following.
“From what I’m hearing, the feelings coming out are that people are still backing Rosa,” Scaviola said. “Rosa has a strong following here in town. I haven’t heard too much about Labriola. I haven’t seen much literature about him, so it’s pretty quiet.”
Polls will be open Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Citizen’s News will have full coverage of all races affecting the area in the Nov. 5 edition.