Voters in the 40th House District, which includes northern Groton and the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard, have the opportunity to send a Navy veteran and small businessman, Andrew Lavery, to represent them in Hartford.
For those looking to assure some political diversity in Hartford, this Republican challenger is a good choice. Mr. Lavery, 30, is certainly not alone in his criticism that the governor and Democratic legislature depended too much on tax increases to solve the state's fiscal crisis. While his pledge to work to "repeal the 77 tax hikes and fees imposed by the Malloy administration" is a standard boiler-plate talking point for Republicans this election, and an unrealistic goal, we do feel Mr. Lavery will be a strong advocate for fiscal restraint. His call to lower the state gas tax is certainly worthy of debate.
The legislature can benefit from new ideas and from people like Mr. Lavery, who can bring the perspective of how decisions made in Hartford are affecting an average citizen and small businessman.
He seeks to unseat the incumbent Democrat, Rep. Ted Moukawhser, who has held the seat since 2003. We remain troubled by the reports of personal financial disorder that surfaced during Rep. Moukawsher's unsuccessful run for a probate judge position in the summer of 2011. There were unpaid bills and taxes paid late. Most disturbing was his negotiation with the Department of Labor to reduce from $2,148 down to $750 a decade-old debt owed the state for unemployment insurance, eliminating interest and penalties. While there appears to be nothing illegal about a lawmaker negotiating with a state agency to lower a debt, it certainly strikes as inappropriate.
These financial problems are part of an overall impression of disorganization on the part of the incumbent. On Friday we clicked "Current News & Issues" on Rep. Moukawsher's legislative website and the most recent item we found is dated Sept. 22, 2011, not terribly current.
It's time for a change. The Day endorses Andrew Lavery in the 40th House District.