Linares, in the 33rd Senate District
For the second straight election, voters in the 33rd Senatorial District are facing a competitive three-way race.
The district that covers the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook is currently represented by freshman Republican Sen. Art Linares, 26, of Westbrook.
A small business owner who operates a Middletown-based solar company, Sen. Linares expresses frustration with the power the Democrats wield in Hartford, for the last four years controlling the House and Senate, as well as the governor's chair.
He has been consistent in his fiscally conservative ideals and his calls on easing the regulatory and tax burdens on small businesses. Having that opposing voice is vital in achieving balanced policy. Sen. Linares introduced a bill to expand the state's manufacturing reinvestment account program, enabling small manufacturers to create tax-free bank accounts to drive job creation.
If he wins re-election, the challenge for Sen. Linares is to move past just being a consistent "no" vote and finding ways to work across the aisles and contribute to the passage of such legislation.
His Democratic challenger is Emily Bjornberg, 33, of Lyme, who directs the youth and family ministry at her congregational church. She is also familiar with the challenges small businesses face, coming from a family that has operated Reynolds' Garage & Marine in Lyme for seven generations.
Ms. Bjornberg has run an impressive campaign, effectively using social media. She wants to work towards property tax reform to ease the burden on small businesses and homeowners. Ms. Bjornberg also points to the need to protect the state's social safety net.
The third candidate is Colin Bennett, 35, of the Green Party. Mr. Bennett has focused his campaign largely on pushing state investment in clean-energy technologies, such as wind and solar, calling for tax incentives for residents to install renewable energy equipment.
Mr. Bennett also advocates for a more aggressive approach toward protecting open space.
While laudable policies, the state is already doing better than most in both these areas. The other candidates in the race provide more well-rounded agendas.
Though confident that Ms. Bjornberg would be an able senator, Sen. Linares is deserving of another term to make his mark in Hartford. Sen. Art Linares receives The Day's endorsement.
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