House: 47th District

CANDIDATES

Brian Sear, Democrat

Occupation

Legislator

Town

Canterbury

Incumbent

Yes

Contact

Phone: 860-377-4262

Email: brian@sear2014.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

59

Family

Wife, Connie, and two daughters, Alexandra and Victoria

Education

A.B. English and English Education, Syracuse University

Civic Involvement

Past President, Canterbury Historical Society; Member, Board of Directors of Governor Samuel Huntington Trust.

Elected/appointed offices held

State Representative, 47th House District First Selectman, Town of Canterbury Member, and Chairman of Canterbury Board of Assessment Appeals

Other government service

Member, MORE (Municipal Opportunities Regional Efficiencies) Commission Past Member, Board of Directors of COST (Council of Small Towns)

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

My six year experience as First Selectman in Canterbury during a very difficult economic time has proven extremely valuable in my serving the nine towns in the 47th District, eight of which have very similar concerns, demographics and landscape as Canterbury. Most of the areas covered by the Legislature have a direct effect on local residents. I have shared those experiences and concerns with town officials as well as individual residents. I work extremely well with representatives of both political parties and have a proven track record of getting things accomplished in a productive manner. I understand the needs of the district and how to serve effectively.

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.

Historically, an accepted part of employment with the state included the defined benefit pension plan model. I support fulfilling the current obligations in good faith, while researching what would most likely be a hybrid system that would be less vulnerable to market shifts while offering stability to both employees and the state.

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?

The bill we passed following Newtown was a comprehensive effort to reduce violence and increase safety in Connecticut. I can't state how I would vote on a concept of "amendment" without being presented with language. All legislation should be subject to review and possible adjustment. I support responsible gun ownership and think that the ammunition component of the safety bill can be improved to respect responsible gun owners and to prevent gun violence. This bill has pushed Connecticut to analyze how we provide mental health services, and that aspect of the legislation can also be analyzed to increase the reach and effectiveness of these services throughout our population, with a specific emphasis on our youth.

Doug Dubitsky, Republican/Independent

Occupation

Attorney

Town

Chaplin

Incumbent

No

Contact

Phone: 860-933-9495

Email: doug.dubitsky@mail.com

Age (as of Nov. 4, 2014)

51

Family

Fabulous wife and two wonderful daughters.

Education

Juris Doctor, University of Utah College of Law Executive Editor and article contributor, Utah Law Forum President, University of Utah student body Representative, Utah Council of Studentbody Presidents American College of Trial Lawyers - National Trial Competition, Semi-finalist CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Outstanding Achievement in Trial Advocacy Representative, Student Bar Association Board of Governors, University of Utah Bachelor of Fine Arts, State University of New York at Purchase Lighting Design & Theatrical Technology Major, Theater Arts & Film Division

Civic Involvement

Associations (past and present) Grassroots East Connecticut Veterans & Military Coalition Connecticut Bar Association Hartford County Bar Association Connecticut Farm Bureau Windham County Farm Bureau Connecticut Horse Council Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies American Agricultural Law Association Oliver Ellsworth Inns of Court National Rifle Association Second Amendment Foundation American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers Int. Assoc. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors IATSE Local No. 1 (Stagehands, NYC)

Elected/appointed offices held

Chaplin Board of Finance Chaplin Planning & Zoning Commission - Vice-Chair Connecticut Teachers Retirement Board, by appointment of Governor M. Jodi Rell

Other government service

Law Clerk/Legislative Aide, Office of the General Counsel, State of Utah University of Utah Board of Trustees member State Board of Regents, Missions and Roles Committee member, Utah Olympic Advisory Board member, 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics

What makes you the best candidate for this office?

Experience, integrity and perspective. Before my wife and I decided to improve ourselves by going to law school, I worked for many years waiting tables, moving furniture, working construction and landscaping jobs, and working as a stagehand and lighting designer. My family and I live and work every day to keep our small farm running and our animals strong and healthy. So I know what hard working people go through to make ends meet, to raise a family and try to get ahead, while working paycheck to paycheck. I know what it's like to be laid off and to wonder where the money for the next car payment will come from. Too many politicians these days are completely out of touch with the people they represent; they have no idea how most people really live. Often, they don't even care. I understand the people of this district and care deeply about helping them succeed. Many of the people in our small towns are really hurting due to the bad economy, lack of good jobs and oppressive taxes and regulations. Having worked hard, dirty jobs for much of my life, I understand their frustration with the policies forced on them by their elected officials. Having worked my way through law school, and now working as an attorney, I have developed the skills and fortitude to pursue policies in that will actually get results for the people of this district. Knee-jerk, feel-good reactions to tragedies, and never-ending borrowing, taxing and spending as Brian Sear supports, are the very reasons we still suffer through the recession while the rest of the country is recovering and growing. By working together with a focus on results instead of good intentions, we can pull ourselves out of this recession. I can help.

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.

Firstly, the state made promises to retired teachers and state employees that it absolutely must honor. Retirees worked for years and often structured their lives and finances around the promises the state made to them. The state must not and cannot break the promises it has already made to our retirees. However, when you have dug yourself into a deep hole, the first thing you must do to start filling the hole is to stop digging the hole deeper. Continuing to offer the same unaffordable defined benefit plans that helped create the billions in unfunded liabilities and gave Connecticut the highest debt per capita of any state in the nation, is simply not sustainable or smart. While the state must honor its prior commitments to current employee and retirees under the existing defined benefit plans – and must start putting more money into funding existing pension obligations – it simply cannot continue offering defined benefit plans to new hires. Whether it is a 401K, Roth IRA, defined contribution plan, or some combination of state and private market solution, we need stop digging the state deeper into the hole, while standing firmly behind the state's promises to our 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?

Absolutely. If the "gun bill" is not overturned in the courts, it must at least be fixed to prevent legal gun owners who are legitimately trying to comply with the law from becoming unintentional felons. As written, the gun bill is incomprehensible. It was clearly written by people who didn't understand the basic functioning of firearms and was passed without any public hearing. If the legislature had allowed a public hearing, the public would have undoubtedly educated the legislators on the bill's many inaccuracies, inconsistencies and conflicts. Representative Brian Sear traveled the district, holding Town Hall meetings, promising to vote against the gun bill. He promised the people of this district that even if a bill came up that he supported, he would absolutely not vote for any bill unless the people had an opportunity to address their elected officials at a public hearing on the bill. Despite his promise not to do so, Brian Sear voted to prevent the people of this district from having their public hearing. Brian Sear then voted for the gun bill after promising us that he would not. Despite Brian Sear's promises, the gun bill was passed the same day it was introduced, without any public hearing. Clearly, Brian Sear didn't even read the gun bill before he voted for it. If he had read it, he would have seen that it has multiple conflicting definitions for the same thing; it incorporates definitions from old superseded statutes without stating what those definitions are; and it makes the possession of perfectly legal firearms a crime if the parts of those firearms can be combined in undefined ways to create a newly banned firearm – even if the owner doesn't know the guns have interchangeable parts. The gun bill must be fixed. I know how.

Election News

Absentee ballots now available for Stonington budget referendum

Absentee ballots for the April 30 budget referendum are now available in the Stonington Town Clerk’s office.

2020 candidates target college campuses, court young voters

In this March 15, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks to local residents during a stop at the Central Park Coffee Company in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Young voters, many of whom reside in delegate-rich areas of the state and can be powerful multiplying forces if they’re engaged enough to convince friends and family members to show up and support their candidates, could be a major force in this cycle’s Iowa caucuses. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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

Poll: Many Americans say Trump making race relations worse

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'

Lori Lightfoot celebrates at her election night rally at the Hilton Chicago after defeating Toni Preckwinkle in the Chicago mayoral election, Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot's resounding victory is a clear call for change at City Hall and a historic repudiation of the old-style, insider politics that have long defined the nation's...

Kamala Harris eyes reform as candidate, was cautious as prosecutor

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., makes special remarks during the worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Atlanta. The Democratic presidential candidate is one of several candidates to visit Georgia in the 2020 cycle. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Presidential candidate Kamala Harris pledges a wholesale overhaul of the country's criminal justice system, but when she was a top law enforcement officer she often defended the status quo

Counting prisoners along political lines

Politicians and lawyers are debating whether the state's approximately 13,000 inmates should be counted as residents of their host prison town or the community where they resided prior to...

Groton Democrats seek candidates for local office

Groton Democrats said they are seeking candidates for local office including Town Council, Board of Education and Representative Town Meeting (RTM), as well as numerous boards and commissions.

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

Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, hoping to turn buzz from a surprisingly close November loss in his state's Senate race into a White...

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

House Joint Resolution No. 161 proposes an amendment to the state constitution to allow people to vote at least three days prior to an election, as well as no-excuse absentee voting.

State investigating dozens of disqualified ballots in Groton

The State Elections Enforcement Commission is investigating an issue where about 77 Election Day registration ballots in the November 2018 election in Groton were rejected, state officials said.

Early voting public forum to be held March 12 in Groton

State representatives and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will hold an early voting public forum on Tuesday, March 12, in Groton.

New London council ponders replacement for Nolan

City Council is prepared to vote as early as Monday on Nolan's replacement.

State fines Montville GOP over free 2017 campaign headquarters

The state recently ruled that the Montville Republican Town Committee received an excessive and unreported contribution through the free use of office space as campaign headquarters in 2017.

3 Democrats, 2 Republicans win legislative seats

Three Democrats and two Republicans have won seats in the Connecticut legislature following a series of special elections

Lamont eyes new ways to streamline state government

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

In an interview with The Day's Editorial Board, Lamont cast himself as a deal-maker seeking transformative change and compromises on tolling, casino expansion, sports betting and New London's role in...

Advice to GOP: Muzzle Stefanowski

The failed gubernatorial candidate has surfaced recently in television and radio interviews, complaining about the governor who beat him in 2018.

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)

Candidates vying for the 39th District House seat weathered criticisms, pitched new ideas and took their cases to the public on Wednesday during a debate that focused on current hot topics, including...

First of two New London debates is Wednesday

The first of two debates for candidates seeking the vacant 39th House District seat will kick off at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of the New London Science & Technical High School.

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

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2018, file photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks about his new book, 'Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance', at a George Washington University/Politics and Prose event in Washington. Sanders, whose insurgent 2016 presidential campaign reshaped Democratic politics, announced Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 that he is running for president in 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's running for president in 2020: 'Our campaign is about transforming our country'

Feds, Connecticut reach deal on identifying voters who died

Federal officials say they've reached an agreement with Connecticut on the state's process for identifying registered voters who have died, in an effort to prevent voter fraud

Unchallenged, Groton City Democratic candidates to go on 'listening tour'

With no challenge from city Republicans in the May elections for mayor and City Council, the endorsed slate of Democratic candidates said they will go on a "listening tour" to hear what voters want...

New London Green candidate qualifies for public campaign funding

Mirna Martinez, a school board member and a New London Green Party candidate for the vacant 39th House District seat in New London, qualified for $14,075 in funding. She is the third of four...

Formica, Carney to hold office hours in Old Lyme

Sen. Paul Formica and Rep. Devin Carney will discuss key issues being debated in the 2019 legislative session and answer taxpayers' questions during office hours on Monday, Feb. 11.

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

Third parties have made cross-endorsements of Republicans and Democrats, but Martinez would blaze a new trail if elected representative for the 39th District.

Two New London candidates qualify for campaign funding

Two of the four candidates seeking to fill the vacant 39th House District seat in New London have qualified for a $21,112.50 campaign grant through the State Election Enforcement Commission’s...

Lawmakers pushing to allow early voting in Connecticut

Connecticut lawmakers are pushing to amend state's constitution and allow early voting

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)

Kamala Harris opens Democratic presidential bid

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.

Connecticut takes step toward early voting

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

The Democratic Town Committee has recommended that Mystic Middle School teacher Jocelyn Kepple fill the vacancy on the Board of Selectmen, created by the resignation of State Rep. Kate Rotella,...

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

The abandoned Showcase Cinemas off Interstate 91 in East Windsor was demolished in March but a third casino came no closer to reality in 2018. A bill in the upcoming session will attempt to clear the way legally for the casino, which would be operated jointly by the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans. (John Woike/Hartford Courant via AP)

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

Town Council Chairman Tom McNally on Thursday threw his hat in the ring to seek the mayor's office.

House Democratic leadership team features 11 new co-chairs

Panels with new leadership include Education, Energy and Technology, Housing, Judiciary, Planning and Development, and Transportation.

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

About 25 people attended the last public forum representatives Christine Conley and Joe de la Cruz held before the start of the 2019 legislative session.

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.

State fines Groton business owner $6,000 over $30 in illegal campaign donations

Groton business owner paid for employees' contributions with business credit card in violation of state campaign finance laws