Incumbent Andrea Stillman faces challenges from Republican Mike Doyle, Libertarian Marc Guttman
State Sen. Andrea Stillman and her Republican challenger, Mike Doyle, agree that improving the economy by creating jobs is a central theme in this election, but they don't agree on how to do it.
The vacation home Stillman's husband owns in Florida has become another point of contention in the 20th District race, with Doyle and the Connecticut Republican Party chairman accusing Stillman of planning to move there. Stillman has said they are lying. And as it turns out, Doyle owns a vacation home in Florida, too.
Marc Guttman, the Libertarian candidate, is running for the third time in the district, he said, to ensure the party stays on the ballot and to spread Libertarian ideas.
Stillman and Doyle both said small businesses are struggling, and the region has had far too many layoffs, particularly now, given reductions at Pfizer Inc. and Mohegan Sun casino's recent announcement that it was cutting more than 300 jobs.
Stillman sees an opportunity to grow more manufacturing jobs, and she's part of a new bipartisan caucus in the legislature that is working with the state Department of Economic and Community Development to do that. She also sees potential for job growth in New London since a new study the state recently released suggests ways to develop the port.
Doyle, on the other hand, said he wants to invest in the region's small businesses using the money the state allocated for The Jackson Laboratory to create a personalized medicine facility at the University of Connecticut Health Center. If elected, he said, he would try to repeal the nearly $300 million for the Jackson Lab project and cut the budget.
Stillman said she supports the project because it will help establish a bioscience corridor and create jobs, while Doyle argues it would generate far fewer jobs than advertised.
Guttman said that among several things he would do if elected would be to work to end the income tax, balance the budget, decrease spending, protect individuals' rights and roll back "interventionist" policies, such as subsidies and tariffs that convey an unfair market advantage.
"I would be a good representative because I do not actually aspire to hold public office, but am willing to trade off some of my true interests and endeavors to try to undo some of the harm state intervention does to individuals," he said.
Doyle, a New London native, has 21 years of experience in state service, including six years as executive assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of Correction and 12 years as director of the governor's eastern Connecticut office. He will be on the ballot on both the Republican party line and the Independent party line.
Doyle said he wants to increase the number of state troopers because he believes the current force is too small. He also wants to reduce the tax burden on families.
"My main emphasis is bringing the people's voice to Hartford," he said.
Stillman, D-Waterford, is serving her fourth term representing East Lyme, New London, Old Lyme, Salem, Waterford, most of Montville and half of Old Saybrook. As of this election, redistricting will bring more of Montville and all of Bozrah to her constituency.
Stillman is deputy majority leader of the Senate and the Senate chairwoman of the legislature's Education Committee. She said reforming the educational system is crucial, and she also wants to work on tax reform so families and businesses can afford to stay in the state. She said her experience in the 20th District will help her make the best decisions for the area's residents.
"I can't stress enough how much I appreciate that people have put their faith in me all these years to represent them," she said. "And I look forward to continuing to live up to their expectations."
Doyle has criticized Stillman for not living and working in the state for the entire year. Stillman said her husband bought a condominium in Boynton Beach as a vacation home. This year, she said, she spent 10 days there in June, after the special legislative session had ended.
When asked by a reporter if he owns a vacation home, Doyle said, "I sure do. It's an investment in Florida."
He said the difference between him vacationing in New Port Richey, Fla., and Stillman vacationing in Boynton Beach is that he is not an elected official. When asked if he would sell the home if elected, he said he is thinking about putting it on the market.
Stillman called the news about Doyle's home "an interesting revelation" and said she hopes he gets to spend more time there after the election.