House: 37th District

CANDIDATES

Elbert M. Burr, Republican

Occupation

Retired

Town

Salem

Incumbent

No

Contact

Phone: 860-887-9510

Email: elbyburr@comcast.net

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

77

Family

Married, no children

Education

B S Business

Civic Involvement

Chairman, Salem school building committee; Treasurer, Salem Lions Club; Trustee Salem Land Trust; Past member Weston Kiwanis club; Past Fire Comm., Easton, CT; Barlow School Building Committee, Redding, CT; Exchange Club, Easton, CT; Chairman F.I. Harbor Committee; Member Niantic River Watershed Clean Water Program.

Elected/appointed offices held

Selectman, Salem; Past Member Salem P & Z; Past member Weston, CT, P & Z (Chairman for 8 years)

Other government service

9 years service in the U S Army Reserve as a First Lt.

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

Years of experience in business and public volunteer service. Good leadership qualities, a clear sense of right and wrong. A very good handle on current state issues. Willingness to work hard for programs that will strengthen the state's weaknesses. Some of the items I would like to address are the need for jobs, tax reform to encourage business to come to the state. health care costs, school mandates and special education costs and mental health programs.

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.

I would switch to some type of 401(K) plan. The state cannot continue to try to fund a defined benefit pension plan, as the private sector learned years ago.

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 want to see more focus on mental health issues. As a pistol permit holder, the current paper work has made owning a weapon much more difficult to obtain, but I would need to read the current regulations thoroughly to ascertain what changes I would like to see made, if any.

Ed Jutila, Democrat

Endorsed - View The Day Editorial Endorsement

Occupation

Attorney

Town

Niantic

Incumbent

Yes

Contact

Phone: 860-739-7730

Email: Jutilacampaign@gmail.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

59

Family

Married to Donna Jutila Three adult children Six grandchildren

Education

University of Connecticut - BA Psychology University of Connecticut School of Law- JD

Civic Involvement

Niantic Fire Department Deputy Town Meeting Moderator 1987-95

Elected/appointed offices held

State Representative 2005-present East Lyme Board of Selectmen 1995-97 Charter Revision Commission 1988-89 Democratic Town Chairman 1989-91

Other government service

Legislative Assistant to State Senate Majority Leader 1980-82

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

When I first became a candidate for the state legislature in 2004, I cited my extensive background in both government and business, and a long history of community service. That background included small downtown business owner and corporate attorney. Government and community service included volunteer firefighter, selectman, deputy town meeting moderator and charter revision commission member. Now seeking a sixth term in the General Assembly, I can add ten years of solid results and significant accomplishments as a seasoned legislator. During those ten years, I have served as a member and vice chair on a number of committees. Currently, I chair the Government Administration and Elections Committee. Some of my more significant accomplishments include leadership roles in obtaining improved commuter rail service on the Shore Line East line, and highway safety improvements on I-95. I have also been the strongest voice for completing Route 11, a project that at least is moving forward again, if not by leaps and bounds.

Other examples include:

  • Opposition to burdensome insurance company mandates on homeowners to install costly hurricane shutters

  • Preservation of open space, including most recently a $100,000 grant to acquire more land in Oswegatchie Hills

  • Reduction, elimination or prevention of burdensome taxes on businesses that impede growth and discourage job creation

During this past term, as chairman of the GAE Committee, I had the privilege of introducing on the floor of the House, and leading the debate on, the proposed constitutional amendment, which, if approved by the voters, will permit the legislature to consider new early voting initiatives.

The bottom line: I bring valuable experience to the job of state representative that is key to the solid results I have been able to achieve for my constituents in East Lyme and Salem.

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.

Back in the 1990's, the state began reducing payments toward state employee debt obligations by approximately $100 million per year. If this poor example of fiscal policy had continued indefinitely, it would have resulted in a requirement to make a $4.5 billion balloon payment to the State Employees Retirement System in 2032. Meanwhile, the Teachers Retirement System had been similarly chronically underfunded. This resulted in accumulated combined unfunded debt for the two pension systems reaching $21 billion by 2011, representing gross underfunding for both state employee and teacher pensions. Experts generally consider pensions to be prudently funded at 80%. In 2008, the legislature, working together with the State Treasurer, shored up the Teachers Retirement System by issuing $2.3 billion in pension bonds. Bond covenants requiring full funding guaranteed stability going forward. By 2012, Governor Malloy took steps to restructure state employee pensions by increasing annual contributions and instituting a series of reforms. These initiatives are projected to save nearly $6 billion over 20 years, eliminate the balloon payment in 2032 and fully fund those pensions by that date. Ultimately, the cost of providing defined benefit pensions is anticipated to be comparable to the costs currently incurred by private sector companies to provide 401K type plans, or roughly 7% of payroll. The legislature should provide strong oversight on the health of state pension plans in the short term, making adjustments as necessary to remain on the path to full funding. In the meantime, we are just beginning to see the first wave of retirees in the private sector relying, at least partially, on 401K plans. We should monitor their experience closely and keep an open mind as to whether we should rely more heavily on those plans to provide retirement income to public sector retirees in the future.

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 gun control legislation adopted during the 2013 legislative session is currently being challenged in the courts on constitutional grounds. The Federal District Court has upheld the constitutionality of the legislation. That decision is now being appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Should the Court of Appeals hold any provisions within the legislation to be unconstitutional it would, of course, be the duty of the legislature to amend the law, consistent with the Court's ruling. Until such time that the Court has rendered its decision, however, the only amendments to the law that the legislature should consider would be in the areas of school safety and mental health, both of which could be further strengthened.

Election News

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Urban announces she will not seek 10th term in General Assembly

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Cheeseman endorses Boughton for governor

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East Lyme Democrats to host three candidates for attorney general

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Businessman Lamont launching candidacy for governor of Connecticut

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Russian pollster stops publishing results on elections

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Wooden, Linares open campaigns for treasurer

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New Mashantucket tribal councilors inaugurated

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Groton charter proposal petition has more than 800 signatures

A group of residents seeking to petition the Charter Revision Commission report to referendum has collected more than 800 signatures, nearly half the number needed to place the question on the ballot.

New London Democrats plan caucus for committee membership

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Poll: Most believe Trump trying to obstruct Russia probe

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Alabama foes make final push before big Senate vote

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Poll: Nearly 9 in 10 black Americans think Trump respects people of color less than whites

President Donald Trump speaks at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Miss., Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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Groton Republicans recommend Weitlauf to fill vacant Board of Education seat

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Sen. Murphy weighs in on Russia probe, North Korea tensions

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It's never too early to shop for Christmas

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Nancy Wyman says she won’t run for governor in 2018

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New London Democrats celebrate victories, reassess party

City Councilor Anthony Nolan, right, reacts as Martha Marx takes notes as preliminary election results come in Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, at the Democratic Party Headquarters in New London. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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Linares joins wide-open field exploring bid for statewide office

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Democratic wins: Start of anti-Trump surge or 'not so fast?'

Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam celebrates his election victory with his wife Pam and daughter Aubrey, right, and Dorothy McAuliffe, wife of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

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Groton Republicans assess election losses

Dean Antipas, left, Republican candidate for Groton Town Council, and Lian Obrey, right, Democratic candidate for Groton Town Council, stand outside the polling station at the Groton Public Library early Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Antipas lost his seat, and Obrey won a seat, in a Democratic sweep. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

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Stonington administrative services director loses bid to become Essex first selectman

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Republican wins spot on Democrat-controlled New London City Council

City Councilor Anthony Nolan, right, reacts as Martha Marx takes notes as preliminary election results come in Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, at the Democratic Party Headquarters in New London. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Voters returned five of six incumbent Democrats to the City Council on Tuesday, and added one Republican to the mix.

Urgo beats out young farmer for North Stonington first selectman

Ellen Spring, left, of North Stonington congratulates First Selectman-elect Mike Urgo, a Democrat, after he defeated Republican opponent Asa Palmer, after the results are announced during municipal elections at the North Stonington Town Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Tim Martin/The Day)

Michael Urgo, a Farmers Insurance agent who is unaffiliated but ran with the endorsements of the Democratic Town Committee and the Independent Party, won his bid for first selectman.

Simmons defeats Crouse for second term as Stonington first selectman

Stonington Republican First Selectman Rob Simmons and his Democratic challenger, George Crouse, campaign next to each other outside the polls at the Stonington Borough firehouse on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 7, 2017. (Joe Wojtas/The Day)

Just as he did two years ago, Republican First Selectman Rob Simmons defeated former Democratic First Selectman George Crouse.

Democrats seize control of the Groton Town Council

Victoria Rossman, right, jokes and shakes hands with both John Scott, left, Republican candidate for Groton Town Council, and Lian Obrey, center, Democratic candidate for Groton Town Council, outside the polling station at the Groton Public Library early Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Democrats swept the Groton Town Council on Tuesday, winning all nine seats and ousting seven incumbents.

Mattson becomes first Democrat to lead Lyme

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Reemsnyder wins fourth term as first selectwoman in Old Lyme

Jude Read, left, and Bonnie Reemsnyder, right, shake hands after the results of the election were announced at the polling station located at Cross Lane Firehouse in Old Lyme late on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.  Reemsnyder had the most votes and will continue to be the first selectman, and Chris Kerr and Mary Jo Nosal will be the selectmen.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)

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Waterford Green Party wins a seat in all four RTM districts

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Five new faces join New London school board

City Council candidate Martin Olsen, right, comforts Board of Education candidate Kathy Skrabacz as her husband, Steve, looks on as preliminary election results come in Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, at the Republican Party Headquarters in New London. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Five new faces join New London school board. A recount between two of the candidates is expected.

In Ledyard, 19 of 22 candidates are winners

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Cold Election Day winds whistle in, from all directions

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Republican Nystrom takes Norwich mayoral seat with apparent Republican council majority

Peter Nystrom gets a hug from Norwich City Councilor Stacy Gould as they watch the election returns come in with his family and supporters at Prime Eighty Two Restaurant and Bar in Norwich on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Nystrom was elected Mayor of Norwich for a second time wile Gould was re-elected to the council.  (Tim Cook/The Day)

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Registrars predict voter turnout to be up in some towns, down in others Tuesday

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Where to vote

Freda G. Pashalis double checks her ballot to make sure she filled it out correctly before stepping away from the voting booth at the polling station at New London High School on Nov. 8, 2011.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Polling places across the region.

Still voting after all these years

Colman Ives, 100 years old, a resident at Avalon Health Center, says

Three centenarians talk about why it's important to cast a ballot.

Montville Town Council candidates face pressure to bring taxes down despite hurdles

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Six running for five open spots on Montville school board

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Norwich mayoral candidate Nystrom says he'll retire from UPS job in May

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Norwich Republicans to hold anti-tax rally Sunday

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Economic development, the budget and education central in Groton Town Council race

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11 candidates compete for nine Norwich school board seats

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Five candidates running for Norwich mayoral seat

From left, Libertarian William Russell, Republican Peter Nystrom, petitioning candidate Joseph Radecki Jr., petitioning candidate Jon Oldfield and Democrat Derell Wilson during the Norwich mayoral debate at Kelly Middle School on Oct. 17, 2017.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Newcomer Democrat Derell Wilson, Republican Peter Nystrom, Libertarian William Russell, and petitioning candidates Jon Oldfield and Joseph Radecki Jr. are listed in that ballot order.

Simmons has now raised almost $23,000 in campaign funds

A newly filed campaign finance report shows that Republican First Selectman Rob Simmons and his running mate for selectman, John Prue, have now raised a total of $22,989 in campaign funds.

17 candidates vie for six slots on Norwich City Council

The crowded 2017 council ballot includes six Democrats, five Republicans and six Libertarians, in that ballot order. Because the four-year mayor has a seat and vote on the City Council, he will be...

Norwich voters have 2 referendum questions to answer

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Taxes, farms among issues tackled by North Stonington candidates at debate

North Stonington first selectman candidates Asa Palmer, second from left, and Mike Urgo shake hands after a debate, with selectman candidates Robert Carlson, left, and Nita Kincaid, right, at Wheeler Library on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2017.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Among selectmen and first selectmen candidates in North Stonington, there is frustration that the state has been fiscally unfair to the town and that, as a result, rising taxes are a concern. But the...

Elementary school renovations, redistricting top issues for East Lyme Board of Education

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Norwich mayoral candidate defends claims of budget cuts

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Norwich candidates express doubts about public funding for arts

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Six candidates run for East Lyme Board of Selectmen

Six candidates, mostly incumbents, are seeking the town's five selectmen seats.

Firmin, Nickerson run for East Lyme first selectman

Robert Wesley

Incumbent First Selectman Mark C. Nickerson and Robert Wesley "Wes" Firmin III are seeking the town's top office, with Nickerson running on his record and Firmin representing a change to the "status...

East Lyme registrars reminds voters of municipal election

The East Lyme Registrar of Voters office reminds voters that there will be a municipal election from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Meet the candidates: Groton Board of Education

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Firmin, Nickerson debate housing, town spending, police

Incumbent Mark Nickerson, left, and petitioning candidate Wes Firmin during the East Lyme first selectman debate at East Lyme High School, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)

First Selectman Mark Nickerson and challenger Wes Firmin sparred on the topics of housing and development in town, the local response to the state budgetary crisis, and police services during an...

Urgo, Palmer face off for North Stonington first selectman

North Stonington first selectman candidates Asa Palmer, left, and Mike Urgo, right.

With new election rules in place, it's "go big or go home" for the two men running for the top spot.

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North Stonington selectman candidates pledge to bring in business, students

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Four candidates running unopposed for North Stonington school board

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Kiker, Lord run for Lyme Board of Selectmen

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Leonardo is running to represent Lyme on the school board

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Stonington candidates float ideas for improving town, its schools

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