Tim Bowles in 42nd

We termed our 2012 endorsement in the 42nd District House a close call. And so it is again, with a rematch between the Democrat, Rep. Timothy R. Bowles, now a one-term incumbent, and Republican Mike France.

Two years ago, the nod went to Mr. France. This time it goes to Rep. Bowles. The difference is that Rep. Bowles now has a legislative record and it is a good one.

Working with the Malloy administration, Rep. Bowles helped secure a $5 million Urban Act state grant earlier this year that has allowed significant progress in cleaning up the Preston Riverwalk property - formerly Norwich Hospital - to prepare it for development.

Despite freshman status, Rep. Bowles, 64, was appointed chair of the Regional Entities Working Group of the MORE Commission (Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies) that has been looking at concrete ways to make state government operate more efficiently. The committee's work led to reducing the state's councils of governments from 14 to nine.

Rep. Bowles has more ideas for trimming government. They will be ripe for consideration. Whoever is governor will want to find ways to control spending while fulfilling campaign pledges not to again raise taxes.

Among his most interesting proposals is to end the inefficient fragmentation of human services in this state. He would consolidate the departments of Aging, Children and Families, Developmental Services, Mental Health and Addiction, Public Health, and Social Services into a comprehensive Department of Health and Human Services, allowing significant cuts in redundant administration.

He is a strong advocate for working to create a "green energy corridor" in our region, attracting solar and wind manufacturers.

As noted two years ago, Mr. France, 52, a Navy veteran and engineer, is a quality candidate. He has the experience of wrestling with budgets at the municipal level with his service on the Ledyard Town Council, where he chairs the Finance Committee. However, his call for cutting state spending, eliminating burdensome regulation and improving efficiency is a bit long on rhetoric and short on details.

Voters in this district that stretches across Ledyard, Montville and Preston again get to choose from two strong candidates. As for The Day's endorsement, it goes to Rep. Timothy R. Bowles.

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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