ELECTION 2014: Newcomer challenges incumbent state senator in Shelton

Two-term Republican state Sen. Kevin Kelly is being challenged by Democrat Prez Palmer in the race for the 21st District seat, which includes all of Shelton.

Kelly is an attorney while Palmer is a real estate agent and insurance agent.

In addition to Shelton, the district includes most of Stratford as well as parts of Monroe and Seymour. Both candidates live in Stratford.

Kevin Kelly

Kelly said the most important issues are reducing taxes and state spending, and improving and enhancing aging in place.

“I plan to continue fighting to keep government from living beyond its means and spending more than the state can afford,” he said.

He said he will advocate for the needs of the growing senior population.

“By strengthening Connecticut’s Home-Care Program, reforming Medicaid, and making it easier for seniors to age in their own homes, we can provide a better quality of life while reducing financial burdens on the state,” Kelly said.

As a legislator in the minority party, Kelly said, he has worked effectively with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Accomplishments include helping to pass legislation to establish an Aging in Place Task Force, to reform Medicaid and state insurance regulations, and to address the needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as their families, he said.

Kelly is a former town attorney for Stratford. He now operates his own law firm.

Prez Palmer

If elected, Palmer said, his top priorities will be economic growth and sustainability, and controlling utility costs.

To boost the economy, Palmer said, he backs already established programs such as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Small Business Express program to encourage expansion and job creation by smaller firms in the private sector.

“I would work with local municipality leadership to seek out potential opportunities to both stimulate entrepreneurship and attract established businesses, which will promote economic sustainability,” he said.

To hold down utility costs, Palmer wants to promote transparency in the process, increase protections for residential consumers on how much utility rates may be raised, and require justification for proposed rate increases.

Palmer is a military combat veteran who served as a commissioned Army officer. He is a Realtor, life and health insurance agent, college adjunct professor, and justice of the peace.