And change in the 41st House

In the 41st House District, covering sections of Groton and New London, voters will have the choice between a candidate with much state legislative experience and a challenger with extensive experience in municipal government. We give the nod to the latter.

Harry A. Watson, 63, a retired Pfizer research chemist, has served on the Groton Town Council from 1990 to the present time. That tenure included three terms as mayor, as selected by his fellow councilors, from 2003-2009. The Republican has served on far too many committees and task forces to mention in this editorial. Suffice it to say it would be difficult to find a candidate who knows all aspects of municipal governance better than Mr. Watson.

Why does this qualify him for the state legislature? Because so much that the legislature does affects municipal government, from tax policy, to economic initiatives and, often most profoundly, mandates. The legislature will benefit from a lawmaker ready to point how proposed legislation will hinder or help municipalities, and be able to act on that knowledge. While there are other former (and even current) selectmen and councilors in the General Assembly, there cannot be many, if any, with Mr. Watson's level of experience.

While solidly Republican in his call for less burdensome regulation and lower taxes, Mr. Watson has very much proved himself a pragmatist during his service in Groton, ready to work with anyone who has a good idea.

He is challenging the incumbent Democrat, Rep. Elissa T. Wright. The 66-year-old lawmaker is seeking a fourth consecutive term. Rep. Wright has been an able representative for her district, working with the southeastern delegation to gain state support for tourism, supportive housing, economic development and other services.

Rep. Wright is particularly passionate about environmental protection, but sometimes we fear she is not sensitive to how implementation of some rules can adversely affect businesses. On balance, her environmental record has benefitted the state and district.

Yet we see the opportunity to send an experienced politician with an important perspective to Hartford and so endorse Harry A. Watson in the 41st House District.

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