McCarty in 38th

In another closely watched contest, voters in the 38th House District will choose a representative to replace Rep. Betsy Ritter, who held the seat for the Democrats for five terms before deciding this year to make a bid for state Senate.

All three candidates, Waterford residents, have something to offer voters in this intriguing race. The district also includes part of Montville.

Green Party candidate Billy G. Collins, 78, a Navy veteran and university professor who has taught at several schools, offers alternative thinking to the traditional major party approach to policy.

Asked about economic development at a recent debate, Mr. Collins pushed for creation of a State Bank, modeled after the only such entity in the United States, the Bank of North Dakota. It serves as an economic development agency, underwrites and reduces the loan risks of private banks, helping them more aggressively finance large-scale projects. It also offers discounted loans to farmers, students and businesses.

Mr. Collins calls for a higher minimum wage, $15 per hour, and policies that discourage corporate big-box development in favor of small businesses.

The positions of Democrat Marc Balestracci, 39, a Waterford police sergeant and veteran of the Connecticut Army National Guard, line up with those of the lawmaker he hopes to replace, Rep. Ritter.

He argues the governor's aggressive job-creation policies that provide direct assistance to businesses to spur economic growth are working and that the state needs to stay the course. Mr. Balestracci is particularly supportive of the Business Express Program that provides grants and loans to help grow small businesses.

Like the incumbent, he promises to protect the social safety net and said the gun control law passed in the wake of the Newtown shooting is reasonable.

A member of the Waterford RTM, the Democrat points to an ability to work with others. For those looking for a fitting ideological successor to Rep. Ritter, Mr. Balestracci is the obvious option.

Then there is Republican Kathleen M. MCarty, 64, a retired educator and small business owner and chair of the Waterford Board of Education. She would challenge spending, tax and regulatory policies that she contends are impeding business growth in the state.

But she is no ideologue, arguing that if implemented carefully at the local level, Common Core Standards can be a vital tool in improving the quality of public education. Knee-jerk opposition to Common Core is more typical of Republicans.

Among three quality candidates, Kathleen M. McCarty stands out as the best and wins our endorsement in the 38th District.

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 Pat Richardson, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, retired Day editor Lisa McGinley, Managing Editor Tim Cotter and Staff Writer Julia Bergman. 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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