85th District House Candidates

Mary Mushinsky*

Party: Democratic
Age: 68
Occupation: Legislator and executive director, River Advocates
Education: Sacred Heart Academy; S.C.S.U., B.A. biology, Wesleyan University, M.A.L.S. science
Platform: Sacred Heart Academy; S.C.S.U., B.A. biology, Wesleyan University, M.A.L.S. science
Other: Endorsed by the Working Families Party. State Rep. 1981-present; Deputy Speaker. Member of Environment, Finance, Revenue and Bonding, Higher Education and Employment Enhancement committees. Co-chair, Quinnipiac River Linear Trail Advisory Committee; Board member, Coalition for a Better Wallingford. Served on Wallingford Energy Conservation Commission. Married to Martin J. Waters with two adult sons.

 
Weston Ulbrich

Party: Republican
Age: 33
Occupation: Communications at Ulbrich Steel, Realtor at RE/MAX Right Choice
Education: Bachelor’s in Political Science, Rollins College
Platform: Make our state more affordable for families and businesses. Recover our economy in the wake of coronavirus and prepare for fiscal challenges in the years ahead. Repair Connecticut’s image as a tough place to do business so we can grow our economy, pay off debt and finally reduce taxes. Reduce state spending. Increase fines for financial crimes. Promote state as a hub of innovation. No tolls, protect environment, support police and first responders while promoting equality for all.
Other: Board of Directors of Columbus House, which operates the Wallingford Emergency Shelter. Great-grandfather Fred Ulbrich Sr. founded Ulbrich Streel in 1924.

 
 
 
 

Where they stand

Choose a topic below to see where the candidates stand on each issue.

Economy

Ulbrich's Stance:The economy is our campaign’s signature issue. In the wake of COVID-19, we have new opportunities to rebuild Connecticut. If we elect leaders who care about the fiscal health of our state, then we will secure our economic future. Right now the saving graces of our economy are essential workers and our Rainy Day Fund. Instead of unloading this emergency apparatus to pay off debt, we must find ways to cut spending, support bond covenants and lock in caps to improve our budgetary outlook.

Connecticut needs to start thinking strategically and prioritize state projects based on the needs of the people. The days of earmarks and special interest favors are over. Solving the Pension Crisis is critical to our economy. In my view, everything hinges on these guaranteed benefit plans. If we overcome the Pension Crisis with a modern approach, then we will have a much stronger economy. We will finally be able to retain business and talent to stay here in Connecticut.

Most recently, our state has had one of the strongest cash positions in the country during COVID-19 and was able to weather the storm better than most states across the country. In large part this was due to conservative principles pushed by Republicans in the General Assembly. For voters, it’s no secret as to which party is better at dealing with finances and promoting economic growth.

Education

Ulbrich's Stance:As State Representative, I will seek the advice of Wallingford parents, the Board of Education, the Superintendent, principals, teachers and staff to stand up for our town’s needs at the state level. Listening to users and experts in our education system is important because they know what special projects will create meaningful learning experiences. They also know how fast education technology is changing, especially with virtual learning now in place.

Education is a main factor as far as our town’s desirability is concerned so funding is a must. At the same time, we have to be careful not to overspend at the state level. Currently, Wallingford spends more than $100 million on education. As for the state, education cost sharing should also reflect a fair ratio for Wallingford students compared to other towns of our size. Nobody will shortchange Wallingford students on my watch. As a side note, artistic pursuits, music and sports are personally important to me.

I am also strong advocate for local control of schools so Wallingford can keep its world-class public school system in perpetuity. Lastly, to keep talent here in Connecticut, I would support more STEM and career-focused programs like Junior Achievement that inform students of amazing trades and professions right here in our state.

Pandemic Response

Ulbrich's Stance:I know firsthand from thousands of conversations at front doors that disruption and heartbreak brought on by COVID-19 is far from over. Residents in Wallingford are now calling for new leadership to face modern day challenges. We must do things like stockpile medical supplies and attract more biomedical manufacturers to prepare for the growing threat of global pandemic.

Behind the scenes at Ulbrich Steel, three shifts of essential workers have endured a hot summer of uncertainty. Our men and women have worked through the pandemic to supply metal for medical devices, power generation and consumer products. So how can we show appreciation for essential workers like ours in Wallingford? We should legislate our gratitude for keeping our economy alive.

As State Representative, my first action would be to propose a tax credit for all essential manufacturing and healthcare workers who earn less than $50,000 per year. These people and their families have proven to be vital cogs in Connecticut’s economy. It’s time we repay them for their efforts and it’s time for everyone to get back to work in the safest way we can. Those people who are unemployed right now because of Coronavirus are depending on us to open our economy as soon as possible. Let’s open up the state, let’s be courteous, let’s wear masks and let’s social distance until the Center for Disease Control says otherwise.

Environment/climate change

Ulbrich's Stance: Connecticut ranks 31st in the nation in renewable energy production. We should be a leader in this space and produce “green jobs” that combat climate change. Therefore my goal is to protect our environment by incentivizing who make use of clean energy and sustainable technology. The concept of sustainability allows for economic growth while protecting our environment.

We all agree that we need clean air and clean water. So let’s also come to a consensus to support industries that mean so much to our economy while working to minimize our carbon footprint. Right now, overregulation and obstruction from our current State Representative and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection produce untenable outcomes and prevent hiring in many cases. These bad faith regulatory dealings happen more often than you may know.

Wallingford and Connecticut should move passed the squabbling by finding ways to compromise and seek sustainability for the same of the local economy, jobs as well as the environment. We can have it all if we strike the right balance. In the end, I know that the desirability of Wallingford depends on the beauty and well-being of its forests, streams, reservoirs and wildlife, so I am promising voters to consult experts and to protect the environment.

Housing insecurity/homelessness

Ulbrich's Stance: As a Realtor with RE/MAX and a Board Member at Columbus House, these issues are near and dear to me. There’s no longer an excuse in today’s modern era for us to turn a blind eye to homelessness. When the pandemic struck, I organized a toiletry drive for homeless clients at Columbus House.

I feel strongly about ending homelessness especially because Connecticut has one of the largest income inequality gaps in the country. Therefore, those of us who can, must step up as individuals and support nonprofit organizations who directly care for housing insecure individuals and families. I will use every connection that I have to fundraise from the private sector to put an end to homelessness in our state.

We must be better as a society and pour ourselves out for others. As for policy, I plan to empower nonprofits to take on state services in order to improve efficiencies and save the state money. After all, it’s everyday people like you and I who are called to support nonprofits that work in tandem with state government to end homelessness in our communities.

State pension crisis