House: 40th District

REPLAY OF DEBATE

CANDIDATES

John F. Scott, Republican

Endorsed - View The Day Editorial Endorsement

Occupation

Insurance Agent

Town

Mystic

Incumbent

No

Contact

Phone: 860-448-6677

Email: johnfscott2014@gmail.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

45

Family

Parntered, No children

Education

Graduated magna cum laude in 1992 from Franklin Pierce College, now University, with a degree in Marketing and Management. I further have earned the Certified Insurance Counselor designation from the National Alliance for Insurance Education. Am currently working on my Certified Risk Manager designation.

Civic Involvement

Immediate Past President - Groton Rotary Club Treasurer - Groton Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow

Elected/appointed offices held

Town of Groton RTM - 2013 to present Chairman of the Groton RTM Economic Development Corporation Task Force Town of Groton RTM - 2003 to 2005 and 2009 to 2011 Groton RTM Rules and Proceedures Committee - past chairman Groton Town Council - 2005 to 2007 Chairman of the Groton Town Council Personnel, Rules and Proceedures Committee - 2005 to 2007 Groton Phase II School Design Committee Chairman - 2005 to 2011 Groton Zoning Commission - Served 5 years City of Groton Beach and Parks Commission - Served 2 years

Other government service

None - See above

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

As a small business owner and insurance agent I have direct contact with clients every day who are struggling to survive. We are seeing a marked increase in the number of requests for insurance on vacant homes in the area as people are leaving town and trying to sell. My commercial lines clients are dying on the vine as they struggle with regulations, higher fees and licensing costs, and a general high cost of doing business in the state. This all has to change Last November when I won a seat back on the Groton RTM I decided that something had to be done to make good and positive change in the economic conditions in Groton which resulted in my proposal to create a Groton RTM Economic Development Corporation. This concept is being studied by a task force that I chair. It is my hope that through this corporation we can create an independent entity that will change how we do economic development in Groton and that will attract and improve businesses large and small. The short term result of my push for an economic development corporation resulted in the town setting aside nearly $400,000 for economic development initiatives in the last budget cycle. I would be the best candidate for the office of state representative as I want to take my economic development ideas to Hartford so that we can create opportunities for business both large and small in this region. Legislation is being passed and no one is looking at the impact that these decisions are having on the economy. I will ask the questions that are not being asked in Hartford right now and work to change our economy for the better.

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.

The private sector saw over 20 years ago that pension programs were a real threat to a business' bottom line both in financial obligations and to the threat of legal action for accusations of plan mismanagement. At that time it was strongly recommended by people in financial management circles that businesses with pension plans convert them to a 401(k) or simple IRA program as this would reduce employer obligations and liability risk. I would believe that most, if not all, small businesses converted as I sell a ton of ERISA bonds for 401(k) plans and nothing for pension plans. My own business used to have a profit sharing pension program for its employees. Roughly 20 years ago we converted it to a 401(k), safe harbor plan. Initially there was some upset over the decision to make the change as we were taking away something that had a known benefit and giving them something that had unknowns, market fluctuations, and personal responsibilities. In the long term our decision has worked out for the best as my participating employees have significantly more money available for their retirement than what they would have had in the pension program. With respect to the state I think a line should be drawn in the sand and pension programs should be discontinued for all new employees hired by the state in favor of a 401(k) style retirement account. I also would like to look into the costs associated with converting the existing pension program into a 401(k) style plan.

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 possess a Connecticut state permit to carry pistols and revolvers and am a gun owner. As a lawful gun owner, who has complied with the new registration requirements, I would support legislation to repeal or modify the gun control law that was passed as a result of the Newtown tragedy. My feeling is that this law did nothing to prevent another similar tragedy. Like many things that the Connecticut legislature has done over the years as a response to events that happen in the state, this gun control law was a rushed through, poorly thought out, knee jerk reaction. The state did not have to react so quickly and more thought should have been put into the bill before putting it out there for a vote. It saddens me to see country wide the violent tragedies that have taken place in our nation's schools and it is important to point out that many of these events did not involve a gun but other weapons including knives. The real underlying issue is that we need to significantly improve the mental health care of our youth. The current Connecticut gun law does not even address the issue of mental health. As an insurance agent with a specialty in student health insurance I have seen a marked increase in the utilization of mental health providers on our nation's college campuses. I would fully support legislation that would improve access to mental health providers to our grade school students. There are also many families who have children and young adults in their home who struggle with a dreadful lack of access to mental health care for their serious conditions. It is imperative that we legislatively provide greater care for these people.

Edward E. Moukawsher, Democrat

Occupation

Attorney

Town

Groton

Incumbent

Yes

Contact

Phone: 860-629-0499

Email: tedforstaterep2014@gmail.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

62

Family

Single

Education

College of the Holy Cross, B.A. English 1974 Suffolk University Law School, J.D. Cum Laude 1978

Civic Involvement

Thames Heritage Park Steering Committee, Current Town of Groton Democratic Committee, Current City of Groton Democratic Committee, Current Connecticut Bar Association Director, Habitat for Humanity for Southeastern Connecticut 1996-1997

Elected/appointed offices held

Groton Board of Education, 1979-1983 Member, Town of Groton, Charter Revision Commission 1992-1993 Alternate, Town of Groton Board of Assessment Appeals 1998-1999 Groton Town Council 1999 - 2002 State Representative 40th District, 2002-present

Other government service

None

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

It has been my privilege to serve as the State Representative for the 40th District for 12 years and I previously served my community as a member of the Groton Board of Education and Town Council. My experience as an elected official in these capacities has enabled me to evaluate and understand the effect of government policies on the citizens of the communities I represent and the State of Connecticut. I have also benefited from my experience as an attorney in general practice to understand the interpretation and application of state law on residents of Connecticut in the fields of real estate, criminal law, land use planning, family matters and civil rights. This background has enabled me to make informed judgments on the merits of legislative proposals and to collaborate with my colleagues to ensure that such proposals are in the best interest of the people I represent. I believe that I share the values and experiences of the people I represent and have advocated for their interests even when my position on an issue has put me at odds with my party and leadership. I have been successful in influencing policy and in enacting legislation and securing funding that is necessary and beneficial for the communities I represent. I believe my background, experience and record have equipped me to be 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.

The state of the our pension and benefit funds for retired teachers and state employees is a consequence of a longstanding failure to consistently allocate the funds necessary to meet the actuarial requirements of these accounts. It is also the consequence of previously bargained pension and benefits that were unrealistically generous. Recent contractual changes and a commitment to fully fund required contributions has begun to reverse this trend. The Malloy administration negotiated the SEBAC 2011 Agreement which required all state employees to contribute to their retiree health care fund for the first time. The agreement also eliminated the expensive Tier 1 category and includes creation of a new pension tier that increases retirement age and required all state employees to contribute to their retiree health care fund for the first time. Employees hired on or after July 1, 2013, are required to work until they are 63 if they have 25 years of service or 65 if they have 10 years of service for normal retirement. Current employees who retire after July 1, 2022, must also be three years older than previously required. These changes are expected to reduce pension and benefit liabilities substantially. Recent budgets have contributed the actuarially required contributions. All of these measures are designed to address unfunded liabilities of the current defined pension benefit plan. Switching to some type of 401(k) defined contribution plan is not an option to address our outstanding liabilities. In light of the terrible losses suffered by people with a defined contribution plan in the recent recession I am concerned that a defined contribution plan for new teachers and state employees would not provide a secure retirement. I do not favor such a change at this time.

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 not vote to repeal the gun control law which I supported last session, which was a common sense, measured, bipartisan effort to reduce gun violence. I do not support any amendments to the law that I have been made aware of other than providing a further opportunity for people who missed the deadline to register assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

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Robert Wesley

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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)

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