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Bumgardner in 41st

The 41st House District race presents voters in portions of Groton and New London with a difficult choice, which is always a good thing. Do they go with the age and experience of the incumbent Democrat Rep. Elissa Wright or opt for the fresh perspective her 20-year-old Republican challenger, Aundré Bumgardner, would bring to Hartford?

In this case, it's time for a youth movement.

Watch Mr. Bumgardner's Oct. 1 debate with Rep. Wright on and you will find a young man who is very articulate and well informed politically, not just for his age, but for any age. His belief in the American dream of upward mobility comes through in his discussions of public policy. The legislature could benefit from the views of a younger person, because young people are facing greater challenges in gaining financial independence than did previous generations.

Does his ideology match with the editorial stances this newspaper has taken? In many instances the answer is no. For example, we support the gun law passed after the Newtown shooting while he seeks to weaken it. To compete with other states, we feel Connecticut needs to offer business incentives in some instances. Mr. Bumgardner would largely leave matters to the free market.

But this newspaper has long recognized that the best policies often come from the clash of opposing ideas and the resulting compromises necessary to enact laws. It is not differing viewpoints that are the problem, but the inability and unwillingness to find compromise - most dramatically on display in Washington - that has hindered the capacity of government to move forward in confronting major challenges.

Mr. Bumgardner pledges to take a "bipartisan spirit" to Hartford if elected. He endorses the magnet school plan for New London. He sees a need to reform the formula on which state aid to local schools is based. He wants gas taxes set aside in a "lockbox" for transportation needs. On all those issues, we agree.

The trade-off in checking the box for Mr. Bumgardner is giving up on the seniority and political pull that would come with re-electing the incumbent. Rep. Wright, 68, is seeking election to a fifth term. Her recent work to revive the Thames River Heritage Park plan for the area, her success in fighting for state grants, and an impressive environmental record all weigh in her favor.

As noted earlier, not an easy choice, but our nod and endorsement goes to Aundré Bumgardner.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.


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