Return Jutila in 37th
Voters in the 37th House District have elected Ed Jutila as their representative for five consecutive two-year terms. We see no reason why they should not elect the Democrat from East Lyme for a sixth time on Nov. 4.
Rep. Jutila, 59, is an active and effective lawmaker. As a member of the Transportation Committee, he has worked with local, state and federal officials to make improvements along a difficult stretch of Interstate 95 in East Lyme, near the connector to Interstate 395. He also played a leadership role in expanding the frequency of Shore Line East train service into the area.
Much work in transportation remains, both in continuing improvements to I-95 and upgrading the quality of the Shore Line East service. With his experience and seniority, Rep. Jutila could play a critical role. And while efforts to extend Route 11 into the region remain stalled, due to a lack of state funding and federal support, it is not for a lack of effort by Rep. Jutila.
The incumbent also points to his opposition to onerous insurance requirements for installation of shutters in homes adjacent to coastal areas, requirements that regulators mitigated when presented with evidence that the requirement was unreasonable in many instances.
We also note Rep. Jutila's work in winning grant money to secure open space in the Oswegatchie Hills area, discouraging development there.
A proposed constitutional amendment, which if approved Nov. 4 would allow Connecticut to pass laws easing access to absentee ballots and potentially allow early voting, advanced through the Government Administration and Elections Committee, which Rep. Jutila chairs. The Day supports the measure.
Challenging Rep. Jutila is retired businessman Elbert M. Burr, 77. He lives in Salem, where is serves as a selectman and chairs the school building committee. The Republican candidate raises legitimate points - the need for tax reform, easing the burden of special educations costs on local school districts, reducing costly mandates, for example. But he declined to debate Rep. Jutila, a forum that would have given him a chance to offer solutions and challenge the incumbent.
He has not come across as a candidate serious about winning an election. In addition to declining a chance to debate, Mr. Burr has neither sought to qualify for public financing for his campaign nor made an effort to privately raise funds. While money should not be the end all of politics, some level of funding is necessary to run an effective campaign.
Confident that he will continue to well serve the district that includes the towns of East Lyme and Salem, The Day endorses Ed Jutila in the 37th House District.
The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.
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