MIDDLEFIELD — After moving to Connecticut 20 years ago, Middlefield resident Michael Skelps committed himself to helping his community. Now he’s taking that vision one step further.
After serving in local community organizations and sitting on both the Middlefield Board of Zoning Appeals and Board of Finance, Skelps is hoping to take his experience to Hartford as he vies for the 82nd District seat in the House of Representatives.
“I was always interested in getting involved in local leadership and local causes, even in high school,” the Republican said. “Of course you get out of school, you work, you have a family, there is only so much time to do these things.”
Now with his sons out of the house, Skelps said this was “a good time” to declare his candidacy as a representative of Middlefield, Rockfall and a section of Meriden.
The pathway to the 82nd District has also become much smoother with Democratic incumbent Emil “Buddy” Altobello confirming his retirement in April after 26 years in the General Assembly.
Skelps will oppose Democratic candidate Michael Quinn of Meriden, who decided to run after years working behind the scenes in Democratic city politics.
“I assumed like everyone else that Buddy would just hold this seat forever,” Quinn said while accepting his party’s nomination. “But all good things do come to an end, and while we are all sorry to see him retire, I want to thank Buddy for everything he has done to represent the citizens of Meriden, Middlefield and Rockfall these many years ... He leaves a huge pair of shoes to fill and I will do my best to be up to this task.”
Quinn served as the city’s corporation counsel from May 2007 to December 2014, and again from 2015 to now. As such, he has led the city’s law department and serves as legal advisor to the City Council. If elected, he will no longer represent the city, Quinn said.
Skelps, who will be running as a Republican nominee, says there is “a lot of ground to cover” in the state, and his campaign is seeking to do just that.
“The biggest thing that is facing all of us in Connecticut is our ever increasing budget, ever increasing taxes. Connecticut has some of the highest tax burdens on its citizens of any state and it seems like our legislature has never met a tax that they didn’t like,” he said.
Skelps says that he is looking to challenge what he calls the “blank check mentality” among legislators.
As proof of his conservative approach to budgets, Skelps cited the work accomplished by the Middlefield Board of Finance in creating the 2021 budget, which included a reduced mill rate, reduction in town expenses and an increase in the town’s rainy day fund.
Additionally, Skelps is seeking to promote investment in infrastructure and emergency services while also encouraging businesses to invest in the state and in technical training. He is also looking to introduce legislation that would create “adequate patent laws” protecting small businesses.
If elected, Quinn plans to work to steady the state’s fiscal position, which was precarious even before the most recent COVID-19 pandemic, he said. He wants to ensure that any cuts in spending are balanced by opportunities to increase revenue.
“It’s important to do as much as we can to encourage business development,” Quinn said. “It’s going to have to get easier to make it for the little guy.”
Quinn has worked at Mahon, Quinn & Mahon, Attorneys at Law, P.C. since 1999, and was named a partner in 2006.