Second Democrat announces intention to run for Urban's seat

A second Democrat has announced he is seeking his party’s nomination for the 43rd District state representative seat being vacated by nine-term Democrat Diana Urban of North Stonington.

Chris Donahue, 29, of Pawcatuck announced Friday that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination to run for the seat which represents Stonington and North Stonington.

Urban, who is not seeking re-election to help former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz run for governor, has already endorsed Democratic Stonington Selectwoman Kate Rotella, who announced her intention to run two weeks ago.

Donahue, meanwhile, is being supported by former First Selectmen Donald Maranell and George Crouse, who are the co-chairmen of his campaign committee. The party will choose its candidates at the end of this month and a primary, if needed, would be held in August.

When Urban ran for her first term, as a Republican, she defeated Donahue’s late father Steven and independent candidate Mike Constanzo, a former reporter at The Day. Urban later became a Democrat.

Donahue, is a sales consultant at Valenti Auto Mall in Mystic, and has been taking courses at Three Rivers Community College and said he will soon begin online coures at Eastern Connecticut State University. For the past 10 years he has been a volunteer firefighter at the Pawcatuck fire department, where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as fire chief.

“I grew up in the community around public service. I’ve always been involved in the community,” he said on Sunday.

If elected, Donahue said he would bring a “fresh perspective to Hartford” and help bridge the gap between the younger and older generation and work on their behalf.

Donahue said one of the areas he would focus on is economic development.

“A lot of kids my age are moving to other places for jobs because there is nothing going on here. It’s sad because this is a beautiful area, a beautiful community,” he said.

Donahue said he would also work to make sure the two towns received their fair share of education funding which has been cut in recent years.

When Donahue ran for constable last fall, an unopposed position, he said he knocked on a lot of doors. He ended up being among the top votegetters.

He said he plans to do the same thing this year.

“I’m going to get to know the people in the community better and hear what their priorities are. I want to be an advocate for them,” he said.

Donahue said he has been humbled by the support he’s received from the community not just when he ran for constable but since announcing he was running for Urban’s seat.

Maranell, said that Donahue's father Steve, who also chaired the Stonington Board of Finance, was one of his best friends and together they worked on a a lot of issues together. He added he's watch Chris Donahue grow up, adding Chris helped his father on Maranell's campaigns.

"So there's a loyalty that goes with this. They were there for me. But it's easy to be loyal to Chris. The guy works hard, he's well-spoken and he has a passion for small business," he said.

Maranell said Donahue has the fiscal responsibility with compassion for children and seniors that he wants his state representative to have.

Maranell said that the older generation has screwed up the state so much that maybe it's time "to pass the torch to a younger generation and let them figure out a way to get out this mess. They look at the world differently."

Maranell said 100 people attended Donahue's announcement on Friday.

"He's really energizing the party, especially with younger people," he said.






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