Riley fits his 46th District well

Rep. Emmett Riley is an unabashed progressive. He favors boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour and mandating paid family leave when a family member has a crisis that pulls him or her from work. He’d rather impose a tax on the wealthy than cut a social program for a person on the margins.

He fits his 46th House District well.

Riley, 49, is seeking a fourth term representing the urban sections of central and southern Norwich, a place where many working poor depend on the social safety net to meet food and medical needs. These are neighborhoods where a bump in the minimum wage can translate into a few more bucks in the paycheck.

He faces Republican Andrew Lockwood, 58, familiar to New London voters after running unsuccessfully for several state and municipal offices in that city.

Lockwood’s political philosophies are as ill-suited for the dynamics of the 46th Norwich District as they were for New London. Lockwood wants stripped-down state government, but he seeks to represent a district which, because of its older housing inventory and many public agencies, is particularly dependent on state aid.

And while Lockwood talks of the need to balance the state budget, he rejects every proposed new revenue source — legalizing sports betting, allowing the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana for adults, and placing tolls on the highway.

Riley recognizes that Connecticut cannot address its fiscal problems by cutting alone and must find new sources of revenue. He said he supports all of the above initiatives.

As a lawmaker, Riley backed reforms to demand more accountability from the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative after investigative reports by The Day and other publications documented fiscal abuses, including using funds for annual trips to the Kentucky Derby and other junkets.

He helped fight for funding to transfrom the Ponemah Mills into an apartment complex.

The incumbent has had a tendency to follow rather than lead. We would like to see Riley use his growing seniority in the House to initiate legislation and be a louder advocate for the policies he espouses.

But in this race it’s an easy call. Emmett Riley gets the endorsement in the 46th 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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