EDITORIAL: The decision in the 83rd House District

Voters in the 83rd House District are facing a difficult choice when it comes to replacing longtime Democratic Rep. Catherine Abercrombie. The good news is that each candidate offers a solid choice, the difficult task will be choosing between them. The district includes Meriden, Berlin and Cheshire, and has changed since the last election, with more of Berlin and less of Meriden.

Republican Lou Arata is a familiar candidate in the district. This is his third try. He challenged Abercrombie in the two most recent elections, losing by about 300 votes each time. He presents solid conservative values and supports the Republican “Contract with Connecticut,” which lists five initiatives. As he put it in a recent candidate opinion piece in the Record-Journal, those are “An affordable Connecticut, protecting our communities, making government work for you, putting families first and protecting local control in all areas of municipal governance.” He also wrote in support of “the free flowing of ideas.”

“We may not agree on everything, but respectful discourse paves the way to the world of understanding,” he said.

Respectful discourse is a good way of describing the performance of both candidates during a forum sponsored by the Record-Journal and the MidState Chamber. The candidates were cordial and articulate, and gave a good account of their positions.

Fazzino has also taken advantage of the opportunity to present his positions on the R-J editorial pages, and recently wrote about a friendship with a Republican that developed from an encounter he’d had while seeking votes. The piece described the value of the willingness to listen to a different point of view.

In a September op-ed, Fazzino, who is a Berlin town councilor, focused on support for senior citizens. “Property tax credits, retirement income deductions, and caps on prescription drugs provide a great foundation,” he wrote.

“I will continue to work with our local senior centers in providing community programs, transportation options, and other services that keep our seniors connected and engaged,” he wrote.

The candidates also have their share of endorsements. Arata, who is 65, has the endorsement of the Connecticut State Fraternal Order of Police and the Berlin police union. He will also appear on the Independent Party ballot line.

Fazzino, 27, has endorsements by the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME Council 4, and Planned Parenthood. His name will also appear on the Connecticut Working Families Party ballot line.

Those details were included in an early October Record-Journal story in which the candidates had the opportunity to express their outlooks.

“Bipartisanship is important to me,” said Fazzino. “The is the benefit of bringing the local government experience to an office by building a consensus. That is the type of leader I am and aspire to be at the local and state level.”

Said Arata: "My core values of smaller, more efficient government, lower taxes, support and funding police, and supporting communities in the 83rd district to maintain local control of their zoning and BOE, resound overwhelmingly well with my district."

District voters would do well to take a close look at the candidates’ websites. Arata’s includes opinion pieces, some having appeared in the Record-Journal. One, which ran in a February R-J, included the following: “Public schools only receive about 8% of their funding from the federal government but that's enough to steer curriculums away from reading, writing and arithmetic to indoctrinating young minds with divisive ideologies like critical race theory (CRT) and non-gender specific athletic competition. If you don’t do as you’re told, you lose your funding.”

How well such points of view will serve the 83rd District is up to voters to decide. Fazzino is the candidate who ought to be elected.


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