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As co-chair of the state legislature's Public Health Committee, Rep. Elizabeth "Betsy" Ritter, 61, has played a pivotal role in pushing through legislation that prepares Connecticut for the coming implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to her work, and that of the administration, Connecticut is out in front of many states and should be ready when "Obamacare" fully rolls out in 2014.
It would be a mistake for voters in the 38th House District, representing Waterford and a section of Montville, to turn Rep. Ritter out of office at this critical juncture.
Rep. Ritter, who lives in Waterford, also shows a practical approach when it comes to controlling state spending. Unlike her opponent, who calls for an across-the-board 2 percent cut in most state agency budgets, Rep. Ritter said the legislature has to look more closely to curb spending where inefficiencies are found and avoid reductions in productive programs.
Rep. Ritter agrees with us that her Democratic majority in the legislature, when addressing the state's fiscal crisis, did probably lean too heavily on tax increases and not enough on cutting spending. But she recognizes that a lawmaker cannot always get the bill she wants but must often settle on the legislation that is fair enough.
For the second straight race her opponent is Republican Tony Siragusa, 67, of Montville, a retired state transportation engineer. There is a certain practicality to Mr. Siragusa's assessment of how the state spends taxpayers' money. He said he recognizes from his time with the state that administrators will spend money needlessly rather than risk losing funding in their next budget. He wants to fix that. And despite being a former state labor union leader, he seems prepared to turn the screws and tighten the pay and benefits of today's state workers.
But on matters of public policy his ideas are rather basic and sometimes contradictory - such as giving more state aid to municipalities to reduce property taxes but somehow cutting state spending. Mr. Siragusa has not given voters good reason to replace an experienced and able lawmaker.
The Day again endorses Rep. Betsy Ritter.