Conley defeats Scott in 40th District

Groton —  Democratic challenger Christine Conley ousted Republican incumbent John Scott on Tuesday to win the 40th House District seat.

Conley won 3,671 to Scott's 3,030, with absentee ballots yet to be counted.

"I'm thrilled," Conley said from Democratic headquarters. "I'm so proud of the team. Everyone worked hard and we got it done in the districts."

The economy and state budget had emerged as central issues in the race, with both candidates offering different approaches to deal with the state's fiscal crisis.

Conley, 34, an attorney with the firm of Lori M. Comforti in Norwich and a three-term member of Groton's Representative Town Meeting, said she believed the state could pay for services more economically.

She advocated an approach that would review spending across all departments and look at items line by line. She also said the state should do more to resolve the parking problem at Electric Boat and she pledged to protect the Naval Submarine Base from closure.

Scott, 47, the president of Bailey Agencies Insurance, said he supported the five-year budget plan proposed by Republican legislators. The plan substantially would cut borrowing, hold taxes steady and impose a three-year wage freeze on state employees.

The 40th District is made up of portions of Groton and Ledyard. Both candidates are from Groton.

Scott said the region was struggling to keep storefronts filled and attract industry. He said a one- or two-year approach to budgeting was inadequate for businesses and gave them no opportunity to plan ahead. Scott also said he would advocate for redevelopment of the former Mystic Oral School.

Scott said he was dismayed by the number of people that tell him that once their family reaches a milestone, like a graduation or retirement, they put up their house for sale.

Conley said she wants to see Groton and Ledyard receive a greater share of state education funding. The communities are struggling to keep class size down and meet other student needs like maintaining extracurricular activities, she said.

d.straszheim@theday.com

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