House: 23rd District

REPLAY OF DEBATE

CANDIDATES

Mary Stone, Democrat

Endorsed - View The Day Editorial Endorsement

Occupation

Writer/Editor

Town

Old Lyme

Incumbent

No

Contact

Phone: 860-434-7754

Email:

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

60

Family

Mary Stone and Joel Hawkins have been married for 30 years. Their daughter Abby is 23.

Education

University of Illinois, BFA Industrial Design, 1982.

Civic Involvement

Old Lyme Land Trust, 1994–1998 Florence Griswold Museum and Lyme Historical Society, 1995–2000 Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, 1995–2008 Co-President, Friends of OL–PGN Library, 2004–2007 Public Access Television, 1995–2009 Comcast Cable Advisory Board, 2006–2008 Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools, 1996–2008 The Community Coalition, 2001–2008 Woman's Exchange of Old Lyme, 2003–present Voices for Good Government, 2002–present CASFY (Community Action for Substance-Free Youth), 2005–2009 Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee, 2011–present Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation, 2012–present Mary's service includes making the first documentary of Old Lyme's Historic District ("A Walking Tour of Lyme Street," 1998). She initiated videotaping Board of Education meetings to air on public access television (1997-1999), a practice that the Board of Selectmen also soon adopted. She served as President of the Friends of the OL-PGN Library for three years (2004-2007), during which time the Friends greatly increased their fundraising and provided the Library with its first wireless network, in addition to other new materials and technology.

Elected/appointed offices held

Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education: 2 terms, (1999-2007); Secretary, 2000-2003; Building Committee, 2000-2006; Communications Committee, 2000-2007. Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals: 2 terms, (2011– present), as an Alternate and a full Member. Secretary, 2013–present. Old Lyme Open Space Commission: Appointed as an Alternate in 2014.

Other government service

Poll worker in local, state, and federal elections.

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

Connecticut's economic edge can be restored by fair and equitable taxation for business and property owners, attracting and retaining good employers, and strengthening public education and environmental preservation. To achieve this, we will have to make some difficult decisions. The knowledge and experience gained in two decades of service to the Lyme–Old Lyme community make me the best candidate to serve our towns in Connecticut's General Assembly. I am a fiscal conservative who works across party lines to find the most compassionate, common sense solutions. On the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education, I wrote the first newsletter from the school district to taxpayers and parents, providing a window on every aspect of the school district and its finances. On the Building Committee to renovate our schools, I helped plan the scope of the High School renovation and did a great deal of preparation and community education for each referendum. In renovating our Middle School, I recommended renovating “as new,” thereby saving local taxpayers $2.2 million in bonding costs. Without a thorough knowledge of the process, those savings would not have been apparent. For the Zoning Board of Appeals, I research the best way to make our rulings more consistent, to better serve homeowners. On the Open Space Commission, we work to preserve precious land. On the Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation, we fund initiatives to test innovative educational concepts without using taxpayer money. I listen to people, research answers, and work hard for solutions. The goal is to increase transparency and accountability, thereby increasing public confidence. I advocate this approach to state government. Straightforward accounting practices and steady improvements in efficiency will restore confidence in our public institutions. This is the work I love, and you are the people I want to serve.

Estimates of the state's unfunded pension and benefit liability for retired teachers and state employees are in the tens of billions of dollars. Should the state continue offering a defined benefit pension plan or switch to some type of 401(k) defined contribution plan, which has become standard in the private sector? Please explain why you do or do not support such a change.

People need a plan to help them save for retirement and old age, but this plan must be renegotiated to the point where it is reasonable for both taxpayers and employees. Obviously, we can't afford to continue as before. However, we must not welch on the promises we have made. Therefore, we must be much more careful in our agreements going forward. Future pension plans must be negotiated differently. I support the changes negotiated in the last contract negotiations, which have resulted in decreases in our state's unfunded liabilities. Although the state legislature does not negotiate benefits between state employees and their employers, the legislature is in a position to either ratify or reject these negotiations. Therefore, I would be open to reviewing the defined benefit plan of all future employees, while honoring previous commitments made to current teachers, state employees, and current retirees.

If a bill came before the General Assembly to repeal or amend the gun control law passed last session after the school shootings in Newtown, would you vote to amend the law? If so, what would you want to change?

Let me be perfectly clear: I support the lawful and responsible possession of firearms. Although it isn't perfect, the last year's law worked: 99.6% of Connecticut gun and ammo owners chose to act responsibly by registering their weapons and ammo. Looking forward, we should continue to do background checks on gun and ammunition purchases. However, the “ammunition eligibility certificate” section of the law does not appear to be working in the way it was intended and should be amended. At the heart of every gun tragedy is an undiagnosed, untreated, or unresolved mental health issue. Over the past decades, Connecticut has closed many avenues of help for those needing mental health services. The allocation of public mental health resources should emphasize early intervention for children and adolescents. A stronger support system will help assure that people of all ages who need help can get it quickly.

Devin Carney, Republican

Occupation

Small businessman

Town

Old Saybrook

Incumbent

No

Contact

Phone: 860-388-7612

Email: carneyfor23@gmail.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

30

Family

Mother - Debra, Father - Paul, Sister - Shaine

Education

Graduated Old Saybrook High School in 2002, BA from Brandeis University in 2006

Civic Involvement

Lector at Grace Episcopal Church, The Kate (on the board fo their annual Oscar night fundraiser), Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries, Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, ASPCA, Habitat for Humanity, Career Beginnings, Gladeview

Elected/appointed offices held

N/A

Other government service

Served on various campaigns (statewide and local) including Carl Fortuna's landslide victory in 2011 and in charge of the 2nd District for a statewide election. Taught government to New Britain high schoolers. Substitute taught for schools in the district.

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

Hartford is full of career politicians and partisanship – I believe things must change and it's time for my generation to step up and be part of the solution. My life/work experience is quite substantial for my age and that has provided me the ability to relate and empathize with folks across the district. I, like many, have a home-based business and student loan debt, while facing a poor economy in Connecticut. Relevance is important in any position, and the office of the State Representative is no different. Too often I hear about people graduating from college, unable to move back to Connecticut due to the lack of opportunity, and many of those who do, end up working at low-paying jobs while attempting to pay off debt. As you know, 49% of people would leave if they could and Connecticut has the 2nd worst rate of retention for people aged 25-34, a critical group in building the economy for the future. My hope is to change this by working to promote job growth, reduce waste, make it easier to do business in Connecticut, alleviate costs on seniors, and allow families the affordability to grow. I will not allow party politics – or Hartford – to dictate how I vote. There is too much one-party rule; a diverse chorus of voices is necessary to pass the best legislation. I have proposed monthly sessions in each town across the district to understand how I can be the most effective voice for the people. I will use social media and technology to interact with the constituents as frequently as possible. In addition, I have a passion for public service. I have been involved in various volunteer organizations such as Grace Episcopal Church, OS Chamber of Commerce, Shoreline Soup Kitchens/Pantries, and the ASPCA.

Estimates of the state's unfunded pension and benefit liability for retired teachers and state employees are in the tens of billions of dollars. Should the state continue offering a defined benefit pension plan or switch to some type of 401(k) defined contribution plan, which has become standard in the private sector? Please explain why you do or do not support such a change.

Currently the state's pension crisis is upwards of $44 billion (possibly more dependent on alternative calculations). Those numbers would require everyone in Connecticut to pay over $12,000 of addition taxes to close the gap of the largest pension systems in the state. The state has taken funds from special accounts, such as the transportation fund, in order to pay off some of the debt – this is unacceptable. I support a change because the only other feasible way to lower the unfunded liabilities would be to raise taxes and/or cut services – no one wants that. Our debt is unmanageable and taxes are already some of the highest in the country. That, coupled with our high cost-of-living, would make Connecticut an even less desirable state for business, families, and seniors. A change to a defined contribution plan for new employees is fiscally responsible. Several states have led the way on this matter by implementing some form of defined-contribution plan. The three options are moving all new government employees to a defined-contribution, having a hybrid plan of benefit and contribution, or allowing a choice between defined-benefit and defined-contribution. Connecticut cannot afford to wait any longer and must, in the very least, move to one of these plans immediately. I believe placing all new government employees into a defined contribution plan is the best solution since it won't add further debt. This, combined with normal turnover in the workforce, can begin to lower the unfunded pension liability burden to more manageable levels. Should existing employees want to change to a defined-contribution, I would hope to provide them that option (possibly with incentives), but would not force them to do so. It is politicians who are at fault, not employees for singing a contract for a defined-benefit pension at the time of hire.

If a bill came before the General Assembly to repeal or amend the gun control law passed last session after the school shootings in Newtown, would you vote to amend the law? If so, what would you want to change?

I would vote to amend the law in order to bring in additional mental health resources and lower the burden on law-abiding gun owners. Connecticut is one of only six states that does not have outpatient commitment laws in the United States – I would advocate furthering the discussion on this with the hopes of implementation. Studies have proven that assisted outpatient treatment reduces homelessness, violence, incarceration, and caregiver (often familial) stress. I don't think it is a negative to have the community, and especially the family, more involved in the treatment of someone who is mentally ill. Identifying and intervening among adolescents with mental health issues is another strong way to identify potential future problems. This is a very tough issue that requires a lot of discussion – we didn't have it when the bill was passed. There was too much emphasis on the gun control aspect of the bill. SB 1160 was too strict when it came to how it affected law-abiding gun owners. I believe, in the very least, the deadlines should have been extended and there should not have been arbitrary numbers implemented for magazine capacity without public discussion. Magazines do not have serial numbers and a registry for them is an overextension of power and resources. Overall, it causes fear for many people, who have never done anything wrong, that they are a threat. Some previously law-abiding citizens could be charged with a misdemeanor or, in some cases, a Class D felony for not registering. I believe this abridges too much on Constitutional rights. Should the possibility for amendment come up, I would advocate for a public discussion, prior to the legislative vote, involving mental health experts, local gun manufacturers/owners, and law enforcement to determine what is/isn't workable and fair.

Election News

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Democratic 2020 presidential candidates are making an early effort to court young Iowa voters

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President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, April 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A new Pew Research Center survey finds 56% of Americans say President Donald Trump is making race relations worse in the United States

Stonington registrars to hold voter registration for borough election

The Registrars of Voters will hold two voter registration sessions for new voters who wish to cast ballots in the May 6 borough election.

Lightfoot says Chicago mayoral victory means 'a city reborn'

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Kamala Harris eyes reform as candidate, was cautious as prosecutor

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Groton Democrats seek candidates for local office

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Bill would allow automatic voter registration at Conn. state agencies

Advocates pressing for bill that would allow automatic voter registration at various Connecticut state agencies

Who wants to help run Preston? All three selectmen not seeking re-election

First Selectman Robert Congdon plans to retire for real this November, and Selectmen Michael Sinko and Lynwood Crary also will not run for re-election.

Majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws

In this Thursday, July 26, 2012, file photo, an AR-15 style rifle is displayed at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop, in Aurora, Colo. A new poll shows a majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws, and most believe schools and places of worship have become less safe over the last two decades, according to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research both before and after last week’s mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

AP-NORC Poll: Majorities support stricter gun laws, say schools and places of worship are less safe than 20 years ago

Polling place study committee: Preston should move elections to middle school

The polling place committee recommends moving all town elections and referendums to Preston Plains Middle School, which is handicapped accessible.

Beto O'Rourke announces 2020 Democratic presidential bid

In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, former Democratic Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke smiles during an interview with Oprah Winfrey live on a Times Square stage at

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With hopes for 2020 ballot question, officials raise awareness of early voting proposal

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State investigating dozens of disqualified ballots in Groton

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Early voting public forum to be held March 12 in Groton

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New London council ponders replacement for Nolan

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State fines Montville GOP over free 2017 campaign headquarters

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3 Democrats, 2 Republicans win legislative seats

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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont speaks Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, to The Day's Editorial Board.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

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Norwich Democrats seek candidates for 2019 election

The Democratic Town Committee is recruiting candidates to run for City Council, Board of Education and treasurer in the upcoming 2019 municipal elections.

Will New London Dems lose their safe 39th District seat?

City Councilor Anthony Nolan speaks into the microphone during a debate for the 39th District state House seat at the Science and Technology Magnet High School on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New London. A special election will be held on Feb. 26 to replace state Rep. Chris Soto, a Democrat who resigned to take a position with Gov. Ned Lamont's administration. The debate was sponsored by The Day and the League of Women Voters of Southeastern Connecticut.  (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

The endorsed Democrat in the race didn't make a very strong case for himself in this week's debate.

Candidates for the 39th District House seat face off in debate

The audience listens during a debate for the 39th District state House seat between the four candidates, Jason Catala, Kat Goulart, Mirna Martinez and Anthony Nolan, at the Science and Technology Magnet High School on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New London. A special election will be held on Feb. 26 to replace state Rep. Chris Soto, a Democrat, who resigned to take a position with Gov. Ned Lamont's administration. The debate was sponsored by The Day and the League of Women Voters of Southeastern Connecticut.  (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's running for president in 2020

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Mirna Martinez could be New London's third-party voice in Hartford

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Two New London candidates qualify for campaign funding

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39th House District candidates to face off in two debates

Candidates seeking to fill the vacant 39th state House District seat will have two opportunities to debate in advance of a Feb. 26 special election.

State eyes investments in electrifying vehicle fleet

State Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven, left, speaks at a forum on clean transportation and electric vehicles Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, at the Capitol Building in Hartford. Lemar, who co-chairs the Transportation Committee, says lawmakers will introduce a bill requiring half the state's light-duty fleet, and 30 percent of all public transit buses, to be electric vehicles by 2030. Other speakers included CT Fund for the Environment climate attorney Claire Coleman, background, Acadia Center Senior Policy Analyst Emily Lewis, seated left, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1336 President Mustafa Salahuddin, and ChargePoint Director of Public Policy Kevin Killer. (Benjamin Kail/The Day)

Lawmakers say they will introduce legislation this year requiring half of the state's light-duty fleet, and 30 percent of public transit vehicles, to be electric by 2030.

Catala secures spot on ballot for special election

He is running against Anthony Nolan, Mirna Martinez and Kat Goulart for the 39th District state House seat in New London.

Kamala Harris jumps into presidential race

In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., greets the audience at George Washington University in Washington, during an event kicking off her book tour.  Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday.  (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

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New London Greens pick Martinez to run for state rep seat

Members of the New London Green Party on Sunday voted to endorse Mirna Martinez as it's candidate for the vacant 39th District House seat.

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Connecticut officials have announced a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would allow early voting in elections

New London Republicans nominate Goulart for state rep seat

City Republicans on Tuesday chose Kat Goulart to represent the party as a candidate for the 39th District House seat.

Parties to select candidates for 39th District state rep seat

The Republican and Democratic town committees plan meetings this week to determine candidates in the Feb. 26 special election to fill the vacant 39th House District seat.

Stonington Democrats endorse Kepple to fill selectmen's vacancy

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Senate kicks off with hopes of bipartisanship, paid family leave

State Reps. Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford, left, and Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, examine their names on the big screen listing the members of the House of Representatives after being sworn in on the opening day of the 2019 legislative session Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at the State Capitol in Hartford.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Kicking off the 2019 legislative session Wednesday morning, state Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney proffered a long list of goals, including passing a paid family leave act and raising the...

Councilor Nolan files candidacy for Soto seat

Former state Rep. Chris Soto, center, is joined by New London City Councilor Anthony Nolan on the floor of the Connecticut House of Representatives on the opening day of the 2019 legislative session Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at the State Capitol in Hartford. Nolan has announced his candidacy to run for Soto's House seat. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

City Councilor and police Officer Anthony Nolan on Wednesday announced his candidacy for the 39th House District seat vacated by former state Rep. Chris Soto.

Martinez expected to run for Soto's state rep seat

In this October 2015 file photo, incumbent Mirna Martinez (G) answers a question during the New London Board of Education debate at the New London Science and Technology Magnet High School.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)

School board member Mirna Martinez has emerged as the Green Party’s likely candidate in the race to fill a soon-to-be vacated 39th District House seat.

Ramping up renewable energy remains lawmakers' focus in 2019

The state has contracted with Millstone Power Station in Waterford for more than 1,000 megawatts in the zero-carbon electricity auction. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

State leaders and the incoming Lamont administration remain focused on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and ramping up renewable energy production.

Legislators continue to debate gaming-related issues

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Third casino, sports betting on the agenda yet again.

New London, candidates gearing up for quick special election for 39th District seat

Election preparations are underway in anticipation of the resignation next week of state Rep. Chris Soto, D-New London.

Montville's McNally announces mayoral run

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Groton legislators talk tolls, deficit and more at town hall meeting

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Women changing makeup of military, and perhaps its politics

Michele Fitzpatrick, a retired lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard, poses for a photograph Dec. 18, 2018, at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London. Female veterans, both current and former service members, were more likely to vote in the 2018 midterm elections for Democrats than Republicans, 60 percent to 36 percent, according to data from VoteCast. (Jessica Hill/AP Photo)

Women changing makeup of military, and perhaps its politics

Three Mashantucket Pequot tribal councilors inaugurated

Elected in November, Rodney Butler, Richard E. Sebastian and Daniel Menihan take oaths of office in ceremony at museum.

Elizabeth Warren takes big move toward 2020 presidential run

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2018, file photo, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., answers a question from the audience at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, after delivering a speech on her foreign policy vision for the country. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking the first major step toward running for president. The Massachusetts Democrat said Monday she’s launching an exploratory committee for the 2020 campaign. She’s the most prominent Democrat yet to make such a move. Warren is one of the most recognizable figures in the Democratic Party and a favorite target of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking the first major step toward running for president

Millstone, offshore wind among zero-carbon auction winners

Dominion's Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford on May 11, 2005. The company's proposals are among those chosen in the state's first zero-carbon energy auction.  (Sean D. Elliot/photo)

Regulators on Friday announced selections in the zero-carbon electricity auction, picking proposals from two nuclear facilities, including Millstone Power Station, nine solar projects and an...

New London Democrats back Councilor Nolan for Soto seat

New London City Councilor Anthony Nolan steps forward to announce his consideration to run for the 39th District state House seat, at New London City Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. State Rep. Chris Soto will vacate the seat next month to take a position as legislative affairs director in the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont. Soto served one term in the state House and was re-elected in November. A special election for the seat to be held in the coming months. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Leaders of the city’s Democratic Party left little doubt Wednesday that they want police Officer and City Councilor Anthony Nolan as their representative in Hartford.

Rotella to step down as Stonington selectwoman

Democratic Selectwoman Kate Rotella announced this weekend that she will resign her position as of Jan. 1.