State Assembly Candidates Talk Jobs, Taxes

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Tom O'Dea, left, Mark Robbins and David Bedell speaks to an audience at a candidates' forum Monday at Wilton Library. The three men are vying for the 125th District seat being vacated by Rep. John Hetherington, who is retiring. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason

WILTON, Conn. – Creating jobs, lowering taxes and tapping into natural gas as an energy source were some of the topics on the minds of the men who hope to replace Rep. John Hetherington as the state representative for New Canaan and Wilton.

Tom O’Dea, Mark Robbins and David Bedell each stated their case Monday for being the best choice to take over from Hetherington.

O’Dea, the Republican nominee, made his strongest comments about job creation, saying the state can go further than the “First Five” tax incentive program and become more friendly to small business. “I would prefer making the entire state more business friendly for everybody, not just the First Five,” he said. “My goal would be to cut spending, cut taxes and make Connecticut more business friendly.”

Robbins, the first Democrat to run for the 125th District in 26 years, was most interested in energy, including finding a way to use more natural gas. Tapping into natural gas opportunities is “a way to save millions of dollars,” he said.

“It’s the future for Connecticut,” Robbins said, adding that he wants to push innovation and enhance infrastructure to bring jobs back. “This is something we need to do immediately."

Bedell, the Green Party nominee, supports the concept of state bank, similar to what North Dakota has. Bedell also endorses as single-payer program to cover health care costs.

The candidates were also asked whether residents should have to show a government-issued ID to vote. The state could do a better job of maintaining voter lists, Bedell said. But there is no proof that elections have been swayed by fraud, Robbins said, calling the rules “a leash law for unicorns.” Presenting an ID to vote “is no more onerous than requiring someone to provide a driver’s license to drive,” O’Dea said. 

About 30 people attended the question-and-answer event at the Wilton Library hosted Monday night by the Wilton League of Women Voters.

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