WALLINGFORD — A Democrat has filed paperwork to challenge Republican state Rep. Craig Fishbein in the 90th District this fall.
Dan Fontaine, of Wallingford, has filed to challenge Fishbein, who recently announced he will seek a second term. The 90th District covers parts of Wallingford and Cheshire.
Fontaine is co-owner of a software development startup and received a doctorate in computer science from the University of Connecticut in 2016. He grew up in Enfield and has lived in Wallingford for five years. He and wife Kathryn have a daughter, Lily.
Fontaine said he was compelled to run by Connecticut’s “decade-long economic stagnation and financial crisis.” He believes the fiscal woes stem from the “decision to have a two-tiered system with one set of rules for working people and small business, and a different set of rules for corporations, hedge funds and billionaires.”
“I never imagined running for office, but the situation has gotten so bad that I felt somebody had to do something,” Fontaine said. “We have a political class that is either too corrupt or too afraid to stand up to the billionaire donors, the large corporations and the financial institutions that have come to dominate our lives, and working people pay the price every day. Both of our major parties are complicit.”
Fontaine added that he was “energized” to run by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. He also volunteered as a canvasser for the Working Families Partly this past summer.
“I talked with Democrats, Republicans and Unaffiliated voters, and the disconnect between what most people wanted to see happen and what the politicians were actually doing was really quite striking,” Fontaine said.
Fontaine supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, paid family medical leave, and tuition-free public university.
Fontaine contended that data shows, “the rich aren't leaving Connecticut, and taxes in general are not a significant motivating factor for the migration of wealthy people.”
“We have seen our businesses leave not for low tax states in the south, but rather for our higher tax neighbors who are investing in the future,” Fontaine said.
Fontaine was critical of Fishbein’s first year as a state representative, saying he “represents a brand of political extremism... attacking workers’ right, reproductive right, voting rights, the LGBTQ community, Medicare, education and teachers.”
Fishbein said Fontaine’s description of his record is not accurate.
“If he looked at my record, he would see that those things just aren't true,” Fishbein said. “It’s quite obvious that (Fontaine) is following the socialist playbook of the Working Families Party, and I disagree with his unknowable positions.”
Fishbein was elected to his first term in November 2016, replacing longtime Democrat Mary Fritz, who died in July 2016. Fishbein also holds a seat on the Wallingford Town Council.