Two Republicans vying for 19th Senate District nomination

Two Republican candidates are making the rounds in the 19th state Senate District in the hopes of gaining the party endorsement to challenge four-term incumbent Democratic state Sen. Cathy Osten of Sprague, who will seek her fifth term in the Nov. 3 election.

Steve Weir, 45, of Hebron, and Kelley Peck, 49, of Columbia, are seeking the party nomination, have established campaign websites and are raising money. Both also are traveling the 10-town Senate district, meeting with Republican town committees, party leaders and voters. Both will be the guests of the Norwich Republican Town Committee at its 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday at Norwich City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

“From what I’ve seen and heard, they are both quite qualified and able,” Norwich RTC Chairman Rob Dempsky said.

Weir owns American Integrity Restoration, a disaster restoration and cleanup company based in Glastonbury that employs up to 50 people, he said. He served as a Glastonbury police officer for four years from 2001 through 2005. Weir was born and raised in Glastonbury and has lived in Hebron for the past 20 years. He and his wife, Allegra, have three daughters ages 11, 15 and 18.

He serves as an alternate on the Hebron Planning and Zoning Commission. He also is a board member on the Connecticut Apartment Association and is chairman-elect of the Connecticut River Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Weir said he is at a “stable” point in his life now and with strong support from his wife, he can run for state Senate. He attributed his experience as an Eagle Scout for his dedication to volunteering. He is past chairman of the board of trustees of the Gilead Congregational Church in Hebron and is an occasional guest preacher.

“People have lost trust in the government to a degree,” Weir said. “I hear a lot of talk about revenue, taxing and tolls, and no talk about cuts. As a business owner who has to balance my books every month and every year, and as a homeowner I have to make sure I don’t spend more than I take in. I just don’t hear anyone talking about spending reductions.”

Peck is an estate and probate attorney at Cummings & Lockwood LLC in West Hartford. She and her husband have two teenage children in high school. She has been a member of the Financial Planning and Allocation Commission in Columbia for the past several years and is president of the EASTCONN Foundation education agency.

“I have been thinking about it for a while,” Peck said of her decision to seek the party nomination. “Seeing the economic stagnation in Connecticut and having a son going off to college, I’m afraid he’s not going to have anything to come back to. In my private practice, I see older people leaving Connecticut every day. They can’t have a good quality of life here.”

Peck said she’s enjoying traveling throughout the district and meeting members of the various town committees. “It’s good to hear what issues they have in mind.”

Weir and Peck both have highlighted issues on their websites.

“No tolls. No tolls. No tolls,” a statement on Peck’s website beneath a photo of cars and trucks in an Interstate 95 traffic jam in Fairfield County. “We must protect the transportation lockbox from Democratic raiders. We do not need more sources of revenue in the form of regressive tolls that will increase costs on Connecticut’s working families and stifle economic recovery. Tell Connecticut Democrats to keep their hands off the transportation lockbox.”

Under the heading, Control Spending, Weir’s campaign states: “When our budget is out of balance and in the red, we are at risk. We are unable to meet our obligations, and historically have raised taxes, fees and have borrowed money. What we need is for our State government to make tough decisions and cut spending. We wouldn’t treat our home or business budgets this way. Why do we tolerate it when our state is spending out of control?”

The 19th state Senate District covers Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich, and Sprague.

c.bessette@theday.com

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