Republican state Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco will face Democrat John “Corky” Mazurek, who held the 80th state house district seat 10 years ago, in the November election.
Mastrofrancesco said the state has “lost its way” and needs to return to constitutional principles.
“I think people today have lost their faith and trust in the government,” she said. “The country and the state has gone so far to the left.”
She’s running for her second term in the 80th District.
Mazurek, who held the seat for four terms until 2010, said he was prompted to run by the lack of state aid for Wolcott and Southington.
“When you receive state funding, that saves the taxpayers money,” he said. “Why can’t our current representatives work with Governor (Ned) Lamont?”
Both are Wolcott residents. The district includes Wolcott and a portion of Southington.
Since his narrow defeat by Republican Rob Sampson in 2010, Mazurek has run unsuccessfully both for his former state house seat as well as the state senate. His last General Assembly race was for the 80th district in 2014, when he lost to Sampson.Coronavirus response
Mastrofrancesco wants an immediate reopening of businesses and organizations, saying the goal of “flattening the curve” of infections has been accomplished. She doesn’t expect some businesses to survive a prolonged shutdown.
“It’s too much. It’s had such a devastating effect on our businesses, our community,” Mastrofrancesco said. “People need to be accountable for themselves as well. Educate them on how to stay safe. If they want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you don’t, you don’t.”
“We can take care of it. We are smart people to be able to make those decisions for ourselves as opposed to big government always telling us what we should and shouldn’t do,” Mastrofrancesco said.
Mazurek credited Lamont’s leadership with saving “thousands” of lives during the pandemic. While hospitalizations were declining in Connecticut, other states are still seeing more cases.
The governor’s executive orders may anger “constitutional candidates,” Mazurek said, but he’s done a “tremendous” job.
“It’s not up to somebody who is uneducated. It’s not up to somebody who doesn’t have the resources the governor has available to him,” he said.Effectiveness in Hartford
Mazurek criticized Mastrofrancesco, and Sampson before her, for not working with Democrats to get state aid for the district. He said they focused on picking fights with state leaders.
“They’ve had conflicts with both (former governor Dannel Malloy and Lamont),” he said. “That’s all fine, but if you needle the governor, you get nothing.”
He said state leaders will face tough decisions in how to manage revenue lost during the pandemic. Cuts won’t make up all the losses and Mazurek said he’s open to considering sports betting and online gambling to generate revenue.
“I’ll be sitting at that table (for discussions). Our current representation won’t be sitting at that table, and they haven’t been sitting at the table for the last 10 years,” Mazurek said.
Mastrofrancesco said Wolcott has successfully applied for state grant money and that Sampson was able to get money from the state. The larger issue is the state’s lack of funds.
“The state has no money, period,” Mastrofrancesco said. “We do everything we can do to work with our colleagues up there.”
She prefers to see cuts to the scope of government to deal with budget shortfalls.
“Unfortunately, the mindset for the progressive Democrats up there is to always increase taxes, to increase revenue rather than decrease the spending,” Mastrofrancesco said.