No. Branford incumbent sees budget as major challenge

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 6:04 AM EDT
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

NORTH BRANFORD — Wrapping up his first term in the state House of Representatives, Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, is eager to build on his work.

Candelora is running unopposed for re-election in the 86th District, but he said he is still working to reach out to voters during election season.

“I think it’s important that even though I’m running unopposed that the people see what my positions are on the issues,” he said. “It’s their opportunity to educate me if I’m wrong, and if I’m right, they can lend me support.”

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Candelora said he thinks one of the biggest challenges facing the legislature in the next few months will be the budget.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office is projecting a $300 million deficit in the current budget, and further deficits in 2009 and 2010.

Candelora said he hopes the legislature will hold a special session after the election to address the budget issues.

“The majority party (Democrats) refused to adjust the budget and we’ve continued to see the economy decline and the majority party has still not called us into session and every day that passes it’s costing the state more and more money,” he said. “It compounds the problem and the budget is our responsibility.”

He said that the legislature could move to stop funding programs out of any budget surpluses that occur and cut certain programs that have not yet been implemented.

As a businessman — he is chief executive officer of the Connecticut Sportsplex and co-owner of a wire manufacturing company — Candelora said he thinks he brings a fresh perspective to Hartford. Before his election to the legislature, he served three terms on the Town Council.

“I think that we don’t have enough business owners in Hartford; we don’t have enough people with practical experience in local government,” he said. He added that he thinks Connecticut could become more “business-friendly” by not passing legislation with provisions that apply only to companies with more than 50 employees.

“Connecticut has really fostered an environment for only small businesses, and large businesses will not come here, and those are the ones that create the good middle-income jobs,” he said. “We’re seeing a wider revenue gap between the haves and the have-nots.”

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