Senate: 20th District

REPLAY OF DEBATE

CANDIDATES

Elizabeth "Betsy" Ritter,
Democrat

Occupation

Legislator

Town

Waterford

Incumbent

No

Contact

Phone: 860-443-0100

Email: betsyritterforsenate@gmail.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

63

Family

Grant Ritter, Husband Carrie Ritter, Daughter Bess Ritter, Daughter

Education

B.A. Denison University M.B.A. University of Florida

Civic Involvement

Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern CT Board of Directors of Natchaug Hospital Waterford Rotary Waterford emergency management PTA School board action planning YMCA of Southeastern CT

Elected/appointed offices held

State Representative, 38th District Waterford Tax Collector Waterford Town Treasurer Waterford Registrar of Voters

Other government service

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives House Chair of the Medical Assistance Program Oversight Committee House Chair of the General Assembly's Committee on Public Health Member of the Appropriations, Human Services, and Energy and Technology Committees Member of the Council of State Governments/Eastern Region healthcare committee Member of the Healthcare Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

It would be a privilege to represent the communities of Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford in the State Senate. For the past ten years I have served as State Representative for the Towns of Waterford and Montville, and I've worked tirelessly to grow jobs, improve education, protect our seniors, and support our working families in Southeastern Connecticut. Years ago I moved with my husband to Quaker Hill where we raised our daughters, sending them to public school. This region has given my family so much, and I have always worked to give back to our communities. Before serving as a State Representative I was elected to several different positions in municipal government, including Town Treasurer and Tax Collector. My work at both the municipal and state level gives me a unique understanding of how policies affect the lives of our region's residents and businesses. This is an important perspective, and one that has helped me to be a tenacious advocate in the legislature for our region. As a mother, I know how important it is to make the future better for all of our children. My years of experience and ability to hit the ground running on day one in the State Senate make me the best candidate for this office.

Estimates of the state's unfunded pension and benefit liability for retired teachers and state employees are in the tens of billions of dollars. Should the state continue offering a defined benefit pension plan or switch to some type of 401(k) defined contribution plan, which has become standard in the private sector? Please explain why you do or do not support such a change.

Connecticut can continue to offer a defined benefit pension plan. Our state's underfunded pension program has resulted from years of executive mismanagement, politically expedient decision-making, and poorly structured repayment plans. Our current governor has a plan to restore the program to full balance without impairing benefits, and that is the kind of approach I would support. I will also look to root out inappropriate and unfair abuses of the program, the most recent case being pensions for judges. If given the chance to be your next state senator, I will make this one of my top priorities.

If a bill came before the General Assembly to repeal or amend the gun control law passed last session after the school shootings in Newtown, would you vote to amend the law? If so, what would you want to change?

The state needs to do more to crack down on domestic and handgun violence, especially in urban environments. Though I would neither support repeal, nor any amendment that would weaken the strength of the law we passed in response to Newtown, I would support legislative efforts to further address gun violence in the home and in our cities.

Paul M. Formica, Republican/Independent

Endorsed - View The Day Editorial Endorsement

Occupation

first selectman

Town

Niantic

Incumbent

No

Contact

Phone: 860-334-4991

Email: paul@formicaforsenate.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

61

Family

widow children; Matthew/Ali/ Hannah/Olivia Boxer/ Mia

Education

high school

Civic Involvement

past pres; EL Kiwanis Club EL Chamber of Commerce ELBO CCM Board of Directors Chair - Rocky Neck Heart Walk(2) CT Restaurant Assoc Knights of Columbus

Elected/appointed offices held

Zoning Commision 8yrs inc 2 as Chair Board of Finance * yrs inc 2 as Sec First Selectman 2007- present

Other government service

Chair - SCCOG Charter Revision Commission MORE sub committee on Education Central Rail Corridor COG Committee Chair

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

This is a time when our great State needs Senators who understand that a positive business environment creates jobs. I have owned and operated Flanders Fish Market, a small business in East Lyme, for 31 years. We need Senators who understand government budgeting- As First Selectman since 2007 , I have overseen 6 balanced budgets and returned unspent budget surpluses of $500,000.00 or more each year. We need Senators who work with across party lines to get things done. I ran unopposed in 2 of the last 3 elections. We need Senators with experience in managing spending and producing budgets with minimal tax increases. East Lyme had an average tax increase of 1.6% over the last 5 years I have the unique perspective of managing both a municipality and a small business during the great recession. We need Senators who can tackle and complete big projects solving big problems. I led the team that developed the Regional Water Connection, a 10 million dollar project that solved our water shortfall We have preserved open space, added solar arrays and installed energy saving measures to town buildings I understand that regional transportation enhancement is important. I am on the SEAT transit Board of Directors and the Central rail Corridor comm. I understand that we must create housing and jobs for our young people to keep them here in Ct. I will have an office presence in the District and direct access. I believe in the future of Connecticut , the 20th District and hope to have earned your vote so that together we can put good ideas into action. Thank you PF Formicaforsenate.com

Estimates of the state's unfunded pension and benefit liability for retired teachers and state employees are in the tens of billions of dollars. Should the state continue offering a defined benefit pension plan or switch to some type of 401(k) defined contribution plan, which has become standard in the private sector? Please explain why you do or do not support such a change.

We need to look closely at this potential future pension change to determine the actual cost effect this switch would have over time. Better to start with dedicating dollars to retire this deficit on a regular basis and get a Treasurer who understands investments and returns. That means that our budgeting must be crisp and effective; not wasteful and that money saved is put to good use.

If a bill came before the General Assembly to repeal or amend the gun control law passed last session after the school shootings in Newtown, would you vote to amend the law? If so, what would you want to change?

I would be in favor to amend; Starting with a review of what worked and what needs improving; to have more programs on education; to expand the focus on mental health both in terms of restrictions and early identification; to enhance Programs such as DARE which I believe should be expanded to include grades 7 and 9 as well as 5th; Licensing should have uniform standards with an individual universal license that would cover all gun registration, ammo and background checks. We need to focus on putting more State Troopers into service We need to provide more support for local law enforcement professionals

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Judith Danenhower Read, left, and Bonnie Reemsnyder, right, are candidates in Old Lyme's first selectman race.

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