Election 2018: Tujak Brill, Kelly face-off in state Senate race

Incumbent state Sen. Kevin Kelly faces a challenge from Democrat Monica Tujak Brill for the 21st district seat. The district includes Shelton, Stratford, Monroe and Seymour.

Read the background of and statements from each candidate below. To find your voting location and a sample ballot for Tuesday's Election, click here.

Monica Tujak Brill, Democrat

Background: A CPA of 30 years, Monica Tujak Brill has worked with the world famous The Frick Collection, Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, and New Opportunities, Inc., helping each administer the many services they provide and keeping expenses low. Monica is an advocate for single Moms, children, and seniors. A News 12 Connecticut “Hometown Hero,” she spearheaded the design and implementation of the children’s wing mural at Bridgeport Hospital. She served over a decade as a home visit volunteer with Fairfield County Jewish Family Services, and as an active parent member of the Trumbull High School Golden Eagles Marching Band.

Candidate statement: I’m running for the Senate to work collaboratively across party lines to tackle our State’s economic issues. They’re simply too big for one party to tackle alone. ‘Balancing the books’ for large organizations is my specialty and I plan to use my skills to ensure that we pass sensible budgets that promote real economic growth, but not on the backs of working families, unions, and seniors.

Connecticut needs an economic strategy that generates a long term recovery while building an economy that provides good paying jobs and more opportunity for young workers entering the workforce. I will make it my mission to eliminate wasteful spending and ask the right questions as to where your hard earned tax dollars go. Senior citizens must be able to afford to stay in Connecticut, and not starve to do so. That begins with making more affordable the price of healthcare and prescription medication. Additionally, I plan to seek greater tax relief so that our elders are not priced out of the towns they call home.

As a former single mom of three daughters, who are now grown women, I have a pretty good sense of what women need today to succeed. I intend to draft legislation that truly protects women in the workforce, strengthens pay equity to make a real impact, and get women the access to the health care they require. There is no reason why women today should be denied equal pay for equal work, access to a good education, and the same opportunities their male counterparts enjoy.

The state and our local Boards of Education can be doing much better preparing our children for the future. As your state Senator I plan to move legislation forward that properly funds education for students entering college and vocational careers. To do this I intend to mandate that education revenue goes to the classrooms, while eliminating wasteful bureaucratic spending. As the mother of an elementary school teacher I want to see her and every other teacher succeed so it’s vital that classroom teachers are given the right tools necessary to do their jobs.

Kevin Kelly, Republican (incumbent)

Background: Senator Kevin Kelly is an advocate for common sense solutions to cut taxes, reduce government spending and create jobs for middle-class families.  He is recognized by many legislative awards from the AARP, including national recognition as a Capitol Caregiver, the Bridgeport Regional Business Council for advocating for better jobs and the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters in recognition of supporting key environmental issues.

Kevin graduated from St. Joseph H.S., Assumption College (BA), Fairfield University (MA) and UConn Law (JD).  He owns Kevin Kelly & Associates and resides in Stratford with his spouse Cindy, they have four children and six grandchildren.

Candidate statement: Thank you for the honor and your trust to be your voice in the Connecticut State Senate.  Our state is in trouble, were losing jobs, racking up debt, while taxes go higher and higher.  Governor Malloy ruined our state and its time to put middle-class families first.

As your state senator, I’ve successfully passed bills to cut taxes, create jobs, enhance affordable healthcare, enable seniors to age in place and improve life in Connecticut for everyone.

I led the repeal of the income tax on Social Security, stood up to Governor Malloy’s veto to allow uninsured pregnant women to purchase affordable insurance, saved the Meals on Wheels program from Malloy’s cuts, passed groundbreaking prescription drug reform to lower costs and joined a bipartisan effort to keep 8,000 jobs at Sikorsky Aircraft in Connecticut.

We’ve accomplished a lot, but we still have more to do to make Connecticut the great state we all know it can be.  I’m ready to continue that challenge to fight for our community, our values and our families.

On Election Day, November 6th, your vote can send a common sense, middle class message that lower taxes, better jobs and a focus on families is key to fixing Connecticut’s problems.  Together, we can get our state working for all of us again.