Osten easily beats Crouch in 19th District

State Sen. Cathy Osten, running to keep her 19th District seat, and Naomi Rodriguez, a Democtratic Town Committee member, wave as people arrive at the polling station in the Ledyard Center School on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.    (Dana Jensen/The Day)
State Sen. Cathy Osten, running to keep her 19th District seat, and Naomi Rodriguez, a Democtratic Town Committee member, wave as people arrive at the polling station in the Ledyard Center School on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Baltic — State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, held off Republican challenger Barbara Crouch on Tuesday in the 19th District to gain her third term in the General Assembly.

Osten, a former corrections officer who served in the military during the Vietnam era, won a concession from her opponent after initial tallies showed her with about 57 percent of the sprawling district's votes. Crouch is Sprague's Republican registrar, while Osten is the town's first selectman.

The 19th District comprises Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich and Sprague. She won by a higher percentage than in her previous two elections.

"I am greatly honored to represent the people in the 19th District," Osten said in a victory speech at TJ's Cafe after Crouch conceded before 9 p.m. "We tried to push in areas where we had not won before."

Osten, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, had run on her record as a leader in the General Assembly. She had spearheaded roundtable meetings to develop better economic ties between southeastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island.

"I'm already planning for 2018," said Crouch, reached by phone at Prime 82 restaurant in Norwich. "This was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to meet so many people and learn so much."

Crouch, 51, director of development at Hygienic Art in New London and an adjunct professor at Goodwin College, had claimed Osten voted in lock step with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in a state that has hindered business growth with too many regulations and taxes.

Crouch had never said whom she backed for president, but at least one Facebook posting in recent days had indicated support for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

Crouch said Tuesday she is convinced that the country needs to change for the sake of its children.

Osten, 61, cited her government experience in heading the legislature's Planning and Development Committee and serving as vice chair of the Aging, Housing, and Labor & Public Employees Committee. She also is on the legislature's Transportation Committee and touted her work in raising the minimum wage and enacting "Erin's Law" to require sexual-abuse education in public schools.

l.howard@theday.com

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