Democrat Donato challenges incumbent McGorty for 122nd House seat



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Frank Donato normally works behind the scenes helping politicians he supports get their word out. This year, the registered Democrat is standing front and center.

Donato, a former Stratford resident who has lived in Shelton the past three years, has thrown his hat into the political ring for the first time, challenging longtime incumbent Republican Ben McGorty for the 122nd District House seat this November.

“I decided to run because in no time in my life has our democracy and right to privacy been under such assault,” said Donato, a veteran of the Navy Reserve and member of the Shelton Democratic Town Committee who has worked the campaign trails for local Democrats in the past.

The party endorsed Donato to run in the 122nd District, which covers sections of Stratford, Trumbull, and Shelton. Republicans last week endorsed McGorty, who is seeking his fifth term.

“As the grandson of immigrants, he is so thankful for everything in his life, and he would like to have the opportunity to serve and help others achieve the American dream as the endorsed candidate for the 122nd State Representative District,” said Shelton DTC Chair Kevin Kosty.

Donato, who formerly owned a retail fish market in Albertson, N.Y., said the pandemic exposed the weaknesses in society.

“We don’t need to look beyond our towns and cities to see food and housing insecurity,” Donato said. “We do not want to force more people into desperation because assistance was not given. It is in everyone’s interest to help those who are in difficult situations.

“We must look for opportunities to help people,” he added.

Donato said that his focus will be on legislation that will aid women, children and military veterans.

“(Women) have suffered the greatest economic loss from the pandemic,” he said. “We need to ensure existing programs such as paid parental sick leave is working for them, along with fighting for affordable childcare and flexible work schedules. We need women who want to be in the paid workplace to have the opportunity to do so.”

Schools must be funded to not only teach fundamental skills but to deal with problems brought on by the pandemic, according to Donato, such as mental health issues that have contributed to a rise in teenage suicide and the rise of violence in society need to be addressed.

“We have to ask, ‘what are we missing’ and ‘what can we do to help individuals grow to contribute to our society,’” Donato added.

Donato said he will also work on legislation that encourages people to stay in Connecticut, regardless of if they are workers, small business owners or graduates of one of the many state universities.

“They are a vital part of our society and economy,” Donato said. “Gov. (Ned) Lamont has led the state through a difficult four years, I want to ensure the 122nd will be part of the state’s growth going forward.”

Donato said he is not a “career politician” but has an avid interest in politics and earned a degree in political science.

“I am a former small business owner, parent, grandparent, and an informed citizen who would like to make a difference for future generations,” he said.