Incumbent State Rep. Perillo (R-113) challenged by Heller (D)

The Herald asked both candidates in the Connecticut House of Representatives, District 122 General Election, 2016 the same three questions. Their answers were as follows.

1) What is the most pressing issue Connecticut is currently facing? What plans do you have to address this issue?

The state budget and the negative impact it has on our economy is issue number one. There is no one lever that government can pull to improve the economy. What business owners need more than anything else is predictability in the tax/regulatory environment and a sense that government is working with them, not against them. The Malloy administration has failed to achieve either.

The state budget and its horrible impact on our economy are issue number one when it comes to a lack of predictability. Gov. Malloy has dug a deep hole with his tax increases and budget deficits. Connecticut lags other states in restoring jobs and rates at the bottom of most lists when it comes to jobs, the economy, and debt.

We can fix the state budget and it comes down to four key actions. First, we need a hard cap on state borrowing. We can’t keep raising our debt levels and expect the budget to improve. Second, we need to reach a concession agreement with state employee unions. Approximately 1/3 of state spending is on salaries and benefits. Nobody wants layoffs, so unions must be willing to make sacrifices if we are to avoid them. Our workers enjoy the richest benefit package in the nation and it is simply unsustainable. Third, we need to restructure Medicaid to limit participation thresholds to put Connecticut in line with the majority of other states. Medicaid is an important benefit that should be reserved for only those who truly need it most. Fourth, we need to eliminate new spending programs introduced during Gov. Malloy’s tenure. We simply cannot afford them at a time like this.

2)Why do you feel you're the most qualified to be State Rep. for District 113?

I have been serving Shelton for nearly 20 years. First as an ambulance volunteer, then as the Chief of our non-profit ambulance service. I served Shelton locally on the Tax Board, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Board of Aldermen. I now serve Shelton at the state level. Through my experience I know how the city works - and why it succeeds. I also know how the State of CT works – and why it fails. I believe that is a very valuable combination. Having served Shelton in so many capacities, I have come to know what residents expect from me and how they expect me to represent them. No elected official can make everyone happy but I believe my knowledge of Shelton has given me the ability to understand what this community needs.

My voting record is reflective of that. I have vehemently opposed Governor Malloy’s tax increases and budgets, both of which have crippled our economy. I have fought against the Malloy policies that have harmed our local hospitals. I have proudly supported the men and women of Sikorsky Aircraft. Shelton residents don’t want someone voting in lockstep with Dan Malloy and I believe I am the antithesis of that.

I am the fourth generation of my family to call Shelton home. My great-grandfather emigrated here from Italy and started a business downtown. My grandfather continued that business and served as Mayor. My mother taught at Shelton Intermediate School and my father still lives here. They worked hard to send me to college. I earned degrees in business from Georgetown University and Boston College. I earned a Masters in public policy at Harvard. Outside of my family, Shelton is my life. Because of my family’s history of public service in Shelton, I grew up wanting to play a role in making Shelton a great place and I strive to do that every day.

3) If (re)elected what would be your first action or plan that you implement?

We must first address the state budget and the negative impact it has on our economy. First, we must design a balanced state budget that includes no new spending as well as appropriate tax cuts. Second, we must strive to phase out the income tax on middle-wage earners by 2020. Connecticut small businesses employ half the state’s private workforce. Many of those businesses are family-owned, where owners sweat alongside their employees every day.  By focusing our tax relief on those middle class workers, we take pressure off wages and prices—a boost for the Connecticut economy. Third, (and more locally) we need to continue to revitalize Downtown Shelton. We do that by clearing the path for local property-owners and stepping in when it is appropriate for government to do so. Much of my role is to cut through red tape. I have done that by “working the system” and will continue to do so.

1) What is the most pressing issue CT is currently facing?

The most pressing issue is the lack of good paying jobs in the state.  We need to get people back to work in jobs where people can earn make a livable wage.  Connecticut needs to expand opportunities for small business to thrive as well as make a more inviting environment for larger employers.  Shelton is a perfect location to set up a business, and I will help create an environment that brings quality businesses and good paying jobs to working, middle-class families Shelton.

What plans do you have to address this issue?

I will work on legislation that encourages CT entrepreneurs to start a business or expand an existing one and attract and retain larger companies.  I will look at current taxes and regulation and help streamline or eliminate barriers to businesses without sacrificing Connecticut workers or the environment.

2)Why do you feel you're the most qualified to be State Rep. for District 113?

In my current job, I have over a decade of managing a municipal budget and keeping the budget level.   Previously, I worked with municipal and county governments throughout the country to help them identify areas to streamline operations.  I have been working with government budgets for close to 20 years and I understand the difficulty of providing services while keeping costs down for the taxpayer.  I see ways in which the State can and should be partnering with Shelton to ensure our children get a quality education, our business are thriving and more want to relocate to Shelton, and that the State adequately funding to Shelton is appropriate.

3) If (re)elected what would be your first action or plan that you implement?  

All students deserve a quality education. I would like to examine how the state calculates education cost sharing and ensure Shelton is adequately funded, especially in the area of Special Education.