Daniel Kelley to seek Democratic nomination to run for 18th District state Senate seat
Stonington — A recently retired corrections officer from Pawcatuck who has served on the Groton City Council is the first Democrat to say he is seeking his party’s nomination to challenge Republican Heather Somers for her 18th District state Senate seat this fall.
Daniel Kelley, 54, has formed a campaign committee, appeared before the Stonington Democratic Town Committee last week, and is working to raise $15,000 to qualify for campaign funding from the state’s Citizen Election Program.
The party will choose a candidate to run against Somers later this year.
Kelley, who has done everything from coaching youth sports and heading school parent-teacher organizations to serving as the Groton City deputy mayor and treasurer and on the Groton Representative Town Meeting, said running for state Senate is just another step in the process.
“It's what I do. It’s how I was raised,” he said about his many years of community service.
Kelley, who has told supporters his candidacy is backed by former five-term Democratic state Sen. Andy Maynard of Stonington, said that with his retirement from the state Correction Department last week after 23 years, he has the time and energy to devote to the job. He has lived in Pawcatuck with his wife and son since 2005.
Kelley, who describes himself as socially liberal, expressed ideas about how to deal with the state budget crisis that are more likely to come from Republican legislators than members of his own party.
“Our focus on fiscal issues should not be about raising taxes but about spending,” he said.
‘“Things are out of control up there (in Hartford) with taxes and spending,” he added. “We need to run Hartford the way people should run their own budget. You can’t run up your credit card and expect to get anywhere. You live on rice and beans and not go out to dinner. We spend willy-nilly up here and it’s catching up to us.”
He pointed to privileges, such as legislators getting paid mileage to drive to the Capitol in Hartford and getting free lifetime health care after serving 10 years, as benefits not available to the general public.
“Who gets paid to drive to their job from home?” he asked.
Kelley said he is in favor of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, providing for paid family and medical leave, raising the minimum wage and implementing tolls to help pay to repair the state’s decaying roads and bridges.
He said that after two weeks he has raised 25 percent of the money he needs to qualify for public campaign funds.
The 18th District comprises Groton, Griswold, Stonington, North Stonington, Voluntown, Preston, Sterling and Plainfield.
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