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Occupation: Legislator, 85th House District since 1981.
Education: Sacred Heart Academy. Southern Connecticut State University, B.A. in biology. Wesleyan University, M.A.L.S. in science. Alternate Route to Teacher Certification.
Platform: Incorporate efficiency recommendations into lean budgets, help our workforce adapt to economic change and earn better wages, support affordable health care, transportation and the state water plan.
Other: Endorsed by Working Families Party, Connecticut Education Association, AFL-CIO, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, National Association of Social Workers. Serves on Environment; Finance, Revenue and Bonding; and Higher Education committees. Co-chair, Quinnipiac River Linear Trail Advisory Committee. Married to husband Martin J. Waters and has two adult sons.
Occupation: Owner of NFP Sports, a high school and youth sports fundraising small business.
Education: Lyman Hall High School, 1992. University of Connecticut, B.A. in political science, 1997.
Platform: Lower taxes, reduce state spending, opening Connecticut for jobs and economic growth.
Other: Cross-endorsed by the Independent Party. Involved with election campaigns since high school, volunteering for Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.’s campaign. Campus and state chairman of UCONN College Republicans for two terms. Field director for Gary Franks, U.S. Senate campaign. Currently on Republican Town Committee, Wallingford Parks and Recreation Comission. Married to Simone Crouch, has 10-year-old stepdaughter, 1-year-old daughter.
Choose a topic below to see where the candidates stand on each issue.
Mary Mushinsky's Stance: The recession eliminated some higher wage jobs and replaced them with lower wages. Although Wallingford’s unemployment rate is 4.2 percent, some workers with full-time jobs can’t make a living wage. A successful economy depends on harnessing the state’s highly educated workforce. I have created apprenticeships like Platform to Employment and Step-Up for vets to prepare workers for new, higher salary careers. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs will attract companies including medical technology and clean energy. Wallingford manufacturers want more STEM workers. I support a higher minimum wage and state assistance to produce employable tech graduates. For seniors, we eliminated taxes on social security beginning in 2019.
Don Crouch's Stance: Small businesses are the backbone of Connecticut’s economy. Connecticut should encourage the creation and growth of small businesses. Instead, Hartford red-tape creates obstacles, costing us jobs. Small businesses, not just large corporations, are leaving Connecticut and closing their doors because the cost of doing business is too much. We have seen this too often in Wallingford. I have owned small businesses and I know that government does not create jobs, but can build an environment that allows businesses to grow by lessening the tax burden and making it easier to start and grow a business.
Mary Mushinsky's Stance: I successfully opposed the governor’s $14 million proposed education cut to Wallingford and supported school security funding. I prefer regional cost-sharing measures to save money and keep the quality education the state is known for, instead of passing costs to towns in higher property taxes. As a member of the Manufacturing Caucus, I have been a creator and supporter of apprenticeships as well as aligning vocational technical schools with future employment. I won an increase for vocational schools and supported two free years of state college or community college to produce employable graduates who carry less debt.
Don Crouch's Stance: Connecticut spends $2 billion per year on education, but state funding punishes well-managed towns like Wallingford and rewards local failures with more dollars. That must change. I will fight for Wallingford’s fair share of state funding so that your children and my children receive the highest quality we can provide. I support our teachers, including my wife Simone, a Wallingford public school teacher. Teachers should not have to worry about workplace violence. Gov. Malloy vetoed Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior (SB453). I will continue the fight to make our schools safe for our children and teachers to thrive.
Mary Mushinsky's Stance: The challenge is to produce a balanced budget and handle unfunded liabilities. A majority of the state budget, 53 percent, is devoted to fixed costs, including Medicaid, debt service, the state’s portion of teachers’ retirement and pension for the oldest class of state workers. While we addressed pensions, cut budget growth to 1.6 percent and cut bonding by $400 million, non-fixed budget costs such as education and public safety will compete for the remaining 47 percent. This reality requires consideration of the CT Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth’s recommendations and efficiency tools such as results-based accountability, budget transparency, regional services, a locked transportation fund and health insurance pools.
Don Crouch's Stance: The No. 1 issue affecting our state is the state budget. Connecticut’s taxpayers have suffered under the two largest tax increases in state history under Governor Dannel P. Malloy and State Rep. Mary Mushinsky. The state continues to borrow money at an alarming rate. Our state spending is out of control. We need to reduce spending, reform long-term debt obligations and look at zero-based budgeting. In 1981, our state budget was around $7 billion and now we are close to $25 billion with a deficit close to $5 billion.
Mary Mushinsky's Stance: The premier public safety issue remains opioid addiction, with deaths from lab-created fentanyl now surpassing deaths from other opioids. Wallingford lost 53 persons to drug abuse and hundreds of town residents overdosed between 2010 and 2013. I’ve worked with the Coalition for a Better Wallingford on legislation to reduce opioid prescriptions, enforce mental health parity, and restrict access by youth to addictive substances. My committee was the first to propose using emergency room case managers to guide addicts to treatment, an idea now adopted at the federal level. The state still needs more treatment beds.
Don Crouch's Stance: I support local law enforcement’s efforts in the fight against opioid abuse and crime, and especially the break-ins that have become all too familiar in Wallingford. This past session, my opponent and her colleagues blocked a bill (HB 5559) that imposed stricter punishment to help deter crime and also help repeat juvenile offenders get the help they need within the corrections system. I will continue the fight to strengthen our court system by having “repeat” juvenile offenders referred to criminal court as adults.
Mary Mushinsky's Stance: I worked with the governor and my colleagues to support commuter rail for Wallingford, allowing residents to save up to 9 percent of their household budget if they commute. One local employer plans to use CT Rail to recruit workers. Transportation will invigorate Wallingford’s downtown and make the state more attractive to commerce. Concerning roads and bridges, a transportation finance panel projected an operating deficit in the Special Transportation Fund by 2020 and depletion by 2022. We must address this deficit to keep our roads and bridges safe. I support the ballot question for a “lock box” to protect transportation funds.
Don Crouch's Stance:Tolls are just another tax. Wallingford residents and businesses simply cannot afford to pay more. Promises to limit tolls to trucks will only open the door for more tolls on all of us. This will raise our cost of living and the cost of doing business in Connecticut. I will fight to provide relief to Connecticut families and businesses by reducing the state gas taxes and exercise fiscal discipline to fund the roads and bridges we need rather than spend millions on expensive and unnecessary projects like the Hartford to New Britain Busway to nowhere.
Mary Mushinsky's Stance: I worked on and support adoption of the state water plan. All agencies that deal with water will use the same document, data, and goal of managing water to ensure the state is No. 1 in water quality and conservation. Water is a public trust. Working with the Town, we won several grants for the Quinnipiac River Linear Trail to close the trail gap between Wallingford and Yalesville. I obtained a more generous 50 percent grant for Wallingford’s sewage treatment upgrade and organized colleagues to defeat Greater Hartford’s attempt to take our funds. I support the ballot question to prohibit the giveaway of state open space.
Don Crouch's Stance: Our parks and water should be clean and vibrant for future generations’ use. The state should not create unfunded mandates that create unfair financial demands on Wallingford taxpayers and businesses. Projects should have a resident-first focus to determine if they are necessary. The two phases of the Wallingford sewer plant upgrades will cost our residents close to $87 million and the state grant is only $17 million. Spending $400,000 on a fish ladder when the state is broke doesn’t sound like a good financial decision either.