Education: Berlin High School graduate.
Occupation: Education coordinator at AFSCME Council 4.
Platform: Supports a spending and borrowing cap for state budget; wants to invest in vo-tech schools to satisfy growing job opportunities; hopes to continue to spread awareness of the opioid epidemic; wants to implement an electronic toll system to help address highway and bridge conditions; wants to improve energy efficiency.
Other: Elected House speaker in 2017. Head Coach of the Berlin High School Football Team. U.S. Army Reserve 1990-1997.
Occupation: Shift supervisor, Walgreen’s pharmacy, West Hartford.
Education: Business management degree, Central Connecticut State University.
Platform: Fiscal conservative; Opposes tolls and congestion pricing; Wants to see state budget deficit reduced, and eventually eliminated, through reduced spending, lower taxes. Believes current contract with state workers is crippling the state.
Other: No prior political experience. Married for 16 years with an 11 year old son. Gagliardi took over as the GOP candidate after Steven Baleshiski was forced to step down Oct. 12 over offensive social media posts.
Choose a topic below to see where the candidates stand on each issue.
Joseph Aresimowicz's Stance: Aresimowicz wants to invest in the state’s vo-tech schools and align the education curriculum’s with growing industries.
“It is critical we have an efficient, effective workforce pipeline to meet the growing needs of Connecticut employers. Making our state more business friendly, worker friendly, and family friendly are not mutually exclusive, and that needs to be our focus as we work to encourage sustained economic growth.”
Michael Gagliardi's Stance: Connecticut's $4.1 billion budget deficit results in an individual taxpayer burden of $53,000, second in the nation to only New Jersey. There is an economic boom happening around the country thanks in part to tax policies enacted by national Republicans, but Connecticut has been largely left out due to our crippling deficit and middle class tax burdens. I want Connecticut to share in the prosperity than the rest of the country is experiencing, and I believe we need different viewpoints than long term incumbents are providing.
Joseph Aresimowicz's Stance: Aresimowicz points to his increases in education funding for Berlin and Southington as a sign of things to come if he is reelected.
“I was proud to secure increases in education funding for Berlin by $678,900 and for Southington by $2,812,708 over what we received last year. This is also true in the area of higher education where the level of state support matters and has a real impact on our economy. Investing in UConn and our college and university system is a solid investment in our future and we need to recognize that and target more resources there.”
Michael Gagliardi's Stance: Each town and city in Connecticut is responsible for providing high quality education for their children. However, in recent years there has been much discussion about taking state education funds away from financially responsible towns and diverting it to mismanaged cities (which are run by Democrats). I am firmly against any education or municipal grants being taken away from towns that properly manage their finances and being directed to mismanaged cities. Voters in poorly managed cities need to take responsibility and elect leaders who will fix the finances of those cities, and not seek handouts from financially sound towns.
We must also commit to providing the highest quality college and technical school training possible by working the private sector to insure a skilled workforce is being trained for the future. Fixing our budget problems and lowering taxes will go a long way in keeping and attracting the best secondary schools.
Joseph Aresimowicz's Stance: Aresimowicz highlights his negotiated bipartisan budget for the state.
“This included both a spending cap and a borrowing cap, funding many important programs our residents depend on, and overturning Gov. Malloy’s cuts to local education. As a result, the budget is balanced and the reserve “Rainy Day” fund stands at its highest balance in decades.”
Michael Gagliardi's Stance: I want to see our state budget deficit reduced, and eventually eliminated, through reduced spending and lower taxes. One important way to accomplish this is to renegotiate, or scrap entirely, the $500 million taxpayer funded bailout of Hartford's outstanding debt. This debt is the result of decades of mismanagement by city Democrats. The burden to pay it back should not fall on the backs of taxpayers who did not elect these leaders.
Also, the current SEBAC agreement with the state employee unions is crippling the state's ability move forward. The current levels of benefits are simply unsustainable. I would like to see an end to the policy of using overtime in pension calculations, as this is a double drain on the economy. Union workers should also pay health care premiums and co-pays that are more consistent with what private sector workers pay. Connecticut state employees can have job and retirement security while easing the burden on all taxpayers.
Joseph Aresimowicz's Stance: Aresimowicz believes two of the most important steps to ensure public safety are working with first responders and addressing the opioid crisis.
“We need to continue to work with medical professionals and experts to preserve the gains already made and further expand access to treatment and overdose prevention. It is also important to fully support our first responders...It is important that we continue to work with them to provide them with support and resources they need so they can continue to protect us.”
Michael Gagliardi's Stance: “I believe that our law enforcement officers are the finest in the country, and we must support them in every way possible. This includes providing the latest training, education, and equipment. We must also allow law enforcement officials at local, state and federal levels to work together to share information, without unnecessary roadblocks put in their way.
“I want to insure that our veterans and returning soldiers have access to the best quality health care available. This ranges from routine exams to treatment for mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our soldiers are true heroes and deserve to be treated as such.”
Joseph Aresimowicz's Stance: Aresimowicz wants to update what he considers to be an “outdated transportation infrastructure” by implementing a modern electronic toll system to help Connecticut residents.
“We are at a flashpoint where many of our roads and bridges are in disrepair, and funding is drying up. A modern electronic toll system with discounts for state residents and a corresponding decrease in the gas tax can help get us back on track in the long term, and is fairer to Connecticut taxpayers who are now providing a freeway to the heavy out of state traffic that passes through our state, yet paying every time we drive into surrounding states.”
Michael Gagliardi's Stance: Gagliardi opposes tolls and congestion pricing.
“We do not need tolls on our roads. Middle class workers pay enough in car and gas taxes, they do not need additional payments just to get to and from work. Democrats want congestion pricing, which would increase toll costs during peak travel periods such as morning and evening rush hour. This policy would be devastating to many workers who already live paycheck to paycheck.”
Joseph Aresimowicz's Stance: Aresimowicz supports improving energy efficiency, promoting conservation and acknowledging the challenges of climate change.
“This requires a comprehensive approach that should include committing to existing energy efficiency programs, encouraging market expansion of Connecticut’s robust fuel cell industry, and extending renewable energy credits to small businesses.”
Michael Gagliardi's Stance: Gagliardi supports more fuel efficient vehicles.
“Protecting our environment is important to me. Every year, automobiles become more fuel efficient and exhaust fewer pollutants into the air. As older vehicles are replaced with newer ones pollution will decline. We must look at environmental issues from the perspectives of both cleaner air & water, as well as protecting jobs and insuring an adequate supply of fuels for everyday needs.”