Republican Linares holds on to 33rd District Senate seat for second term

Westbrook — Republican incumbent Art Linares secured a second term in the state Senate Tuesday, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg and Green Party candidate Colin Bennett to represent the 33rd District.

Unofficial results showed Linares with 22,319 votes and Bjornberg with 17,086. Bennett won 22 votes in Chester, 49 in Colchester, 56 in East Hampton, 42 in Essex and 19 in Lyme, but Bennett’s results for the other towns in the district were unavailable Tuesday night.

The 33rd Senate District covers Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

“I’m happy that our message resounded with voters,” Linares said Tuesday. Linares said he will work tirelessly to grow jobs and lower taxes so hard-working families and seniors can remain in the state.

He thanked his brother, Ryan Linares, who ran his campaign, as well as his family and friends and supporters in his speech at the Water’s Edge in Westbrook.

Linares, 26, a Westbrook resident and co-founder of Greenskies Renewable Energy, a Middletown-based solar company, focused his campaign on lowering taxes and making the state more business friendly. He was elected to his first term in 2012 after the retirement of Eileen Daily, a Democrat who had long represented the district.

During his first term, Linares introduced a bill to expand the state’s manufacturing reinvestment account programs, so small manufacturers can have tax-free bank accounts provided they use the accounts to grow jobs. He also has cited among his accomplishments his work to prevent the reduction of drug-free zones around schools and to raise awareness about the need for flexibility in rolling out new state academic standards.

Bjornberg, 33, is a Youth and Family Ministries Director for Deep River Congregational Church and a member of the Lyme Land Conservation Trust. The mother of two and wife of an Iraq War veteran, she has managed an AIDS clinic in South Africa. She ran on a platform of being an advocate for small towns and prioritized the economy, education and the environment, values which she said are often intertwined in the 33rd District.

On Tuesday, Bjornberg thanked all of her supporters who worked hard for her campaign.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our efforts and our message,” she said. “I will continue to fight for the priorities I fought for in this campaign.”

She said she will consider running for office again.

Bennett, 35, a substitute teacher in the Region 4 school district that covers Essex, Chester and Deep River, ran a campaign that focused on renewable energy initiatives and making the state more affordable. He said during his campaign that his position as a Green Party candidate would allow him to advocate for the district, rather than special interests.

He said on Tuesday he would keep running to provide an independent voice against corporate interests.

k.drelich@theday.com

Twitter: @KimberlyDrelich

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