Shelton resident qualifies to run for state rep as an independent

Cheryl Jansen
Cheryl Jansen

The November race for state representative in the 122nd District will be contested, with Cheryl S. Jansen of Shelton having succeeded in getting on the ballot as a petitioning — or independent — candidate.

“I believe running as a petitioning candidate is a positive alternative for voters who are dissatisfied with the current direction in Hartford,” Jansen said. “Not being affiliated with a major party means I won’t be tied to party politics and influence, if I win.”

Jansen is an attorney and litigation mediator who lives in Huntington.

She has run for the seat twice before as the Democratic nominee, losing in 2008 and 2010. She ran a particularly strong race in 2008, helped by a big Democratic turnout with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket.

This year Jansen decided early on to run as an independent. “Major parties come with a lot of baggage,” she said.

Jansen said her views have always been out of the Democratic mainstream on some issues. She emphasized she is not a big fan of either Obama or Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is seeking re-election this year.

She said she disagrees with their policies and political philosophies in many areas. “I think Malloy has done a terrible job,” Jansen said. “Connecticut isn’t even stagnant anymore — it’s getting worse.”

Three elections in the district

This will be the third time since late July there’s been an election in the 122nd House District, which includes slightly less than half of Shelton as well as small parts of Stratford and Trumbull.

The seat became vacant in May when longtime state Rep. Larry Miller died. Ben McGorty, a Republican, won a special election to replace Miller on July 22, and then McGorty won a Republican primary on Aug. 12 to be the GOP candidate this fall.

Arlene Liscinsky is considering legal action to try to get on the Nov. 4 ballot as the Democratic candidate due to issues with her qualifying petitions. Liscinsky lost the special election to McGorty.

Jansen said she knows Liscinsky from Democratic politics and likes her as an individual. She doesn’t know McGorty.

In Shelton, the 122nd District includes most of western and southern Shelton, including Huntington, Log Hill and Pine Rock.

Wants 'a business-friendly climate'

Jansen said her two top priorities are trying to lower unemployment and improve infrastructure.

She said she was once active with the local Chamber of Commerce and understands the challenge of running a business. “Small business people are having a tough time,” she said.

Jansen wants to work with other pro-business legislators “to get rid of some of the state’s unnecessary regulations.”

“Connecticut has one of the best pools of educated, skilled workers in the nation,” she said. “But we remain near the bottom in creating a business-friendly climate, which limits opportunities. We must commit to being competitive with states that are draining off people and jobs.”

She is critical of Malloy’s efforts to provide grants and loans to businesses to keep them in Connecticut, especially the attempt to provide millions of dollars to a hedge fund to move from Westport to Stamford.  She said that deal would have helped the super-wealthy while “the little guy gets nothing.”

Tolls and infrastructure upgrades

Jansen supports investing to upgrade highways and the rail system. She said it’s time to bring back toll booths because people who use the roads — including out-of-state drivers — should pay for their upkeep.

“I know people bristle at that, but I’d get rid of the gas tax,” she said.

Connecticut politicians keep diverting money intended for transportation to the general fund to deal with budget deficits, she said.

Other than tolls, Jansen said she is against any new taxes. She is worried Connecticut could try to impose a new special tax for education. “Where did all the money go from the lottery and the casinos?” she asked.

Jansen said high taxes and “unbridled spending” are hurting Connecticut. “Getting spending and debt under control is the only answer — we can’t tax our way out of our problems,” she said.

Has a legal background

Jansen previously worked for a nonprofit agency training legal representatives to protect the rights of foster children in the juvenile justice system.

She now is semi-retired as a lawyer, but still does some legal mediation work.

She doesn’t plan to participate in the state’s public campaign financing system. She had to secure at least 78 voter signatures to get on the Nov. 4 ballot, and did that by going door-to-door.

Jansen grew up in Bridgeport, where her father was a police officer. She has two grown children and two grandchildren.