Rotella in 43rd

For the first time in 18 years voters in the 43rd House District will be sending a new representative to Hartford. The good news is that they will get to select from two strong candidates to replace Rep. Diana Urban. The Democrat decided not to seek a 10th term in the district encompassing Stonington and North Stonington.

The Democratic nominee is Kate Rotella, 54, currently a selectwoman. As a member of the three-person Stonington Board of Selectmen, Rotella has demonstrated the ability to work in a bipartisan fashion, leaving the board free of the political rancor seen in past years. That’s also a testament to the leadership of Republican First Selectman Rob Simmons.

The Republican nominee is Shaun Mastroianni, 37, who also has experience in local government, serving on the town Planning and Zoning Commission and as a Borough of Stonington burgess.

Based on our interviews, both share a fiscal pragmatism, saying further reforms are necessary to find savings in the state pension plan. Both are ready to dig in and attack the state’s continuing fiscal problems, but acknowledge there is no easy solution.

Likewise they both take a cautious approach to the discussion of legalizing the sale of marijuana for recreational use by adults 21 and older, not ruling it out but saying they want to see more research and a careful assessment of implications before they would take that step.

They depart, however, on the discussion as to whether Connecticut should join other states in the Northeast and erect electronic tolls to generate funds for transportation needs.

Rotella sees it as necessary, the only way to get revenues from the millions of cars that pass through Connecticut but never stop to buy gas and pay the state tax assessed on it. She suggests beginning with a toll on large trucks, but concedes that eventually comprehensive tolling will likely be required to raise sufficient funds.

Mastroianni opposes tolls, seeing them as yet another tax on people and business.

Editorially, we have long taken the position that tolls will be necessary.

Weighing in Rotella’s favor is her experience in purchasing management. Her attention to detail on financial issues has been an asset to the Board of Selectmen and would likewise serve her and her constituents well in Hartford.

The Day endorses Kate Rotella in the 43rd 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 Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. 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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