CONNECTICUT — The 2020 election is heating up in Connecticut and there are plenty of races with candidates eager to serve in elected office. Eyes are primarily focused on the presidential election, but every state representative and senate seat is up for grabs.
All five of Connecticut’s congressional seats are up for grabs as well.
There are 151 seats in the state House of Representatives and 36 in the state Senate. Democrats currently hold majorities in both chambers with a 91 to 60 lead over Republicans in the House and a 22 to 14 lead in the Senate.
Connecticut Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns.
Paul Cicarella, of North Haven, is running for Senate District 34, which serves East Haven.
Party affiliation: Republican Party
Family: I am married to Christy Cicarella and we are the parents to two children Giada Cicarella age 7 and Paul Cicarella age 6.
Occupation: I am the owner of a private investigative firm with multiple offices throughout the state
Previous elected experience: Vice Chairman, North Haven RTC, Member, North Haven Zoning Board of Appeals
Family members in government:No
Campaign website: Paulchic2020.com
The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
We need to make our state an affordable place to live. We cannot continue to allow the State to lose tomorrow’s leaders and talent because the state is too expensive to live, work and raise a family in. Now more than ever we need a new generation of leadership to help rebuild our State’s economy and get people back to work. I love the State of Connecticut and the local community. I grew up here and I am raising my family here. I chose to operate and invest in a small business here. I want my children to have the same opportunities as I did and grow up to love this State and be as proud of this region as much as I am. We need to address the real-life challenges that working and middle-class families face every day and provide a place to call home and be proud of. We need to create opportunity here in Connecticut for young professionals to live and work. We need to support law enforcement and keep our communities safe. We must keep our promises to those most in need and create opportunity for all families, workers, and job creators to succeed.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I am not a career politician. I will be a fierce advocate that will fight tirelessly for the people of the 34th district and continue the work of Senator Fasano. Working together with common sense solutions we can resolve the issues we face in our great state. My professional experiences as a businessman and my ability to listen to our residents and communicate their thoughts and ideas will allow me to reach across the aisle and make real change for the people of the 34th District. I believe in hard work, honesty and integrity. My parents have instilled these values in me, and I teach my children the same.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I had a career in law enforcement before my current line of work. I started an investigative firm in one small room in my home. I grew that firm into a large corporation with multiple employees and offices throughout the state. As part of my day to day operations I analyze client’s problems and develop strategies to solve those problems. I see adversity as a challenge that must be met with a common sense solutions and I will work as long and as hard as it takes to work through that adversity and achieve an outcome that will be beneficial to all of the people of the 34th District.
Do you believe Connecticut needs reform when it comes to electric utility oversight? What steps, if any should be taken?
The response to Tropical Storm Isaias by Connecticut utility companies, Eversource in particular, fell far short of the customer service and competence that ratepayers deserve. Those failures, coupled with a huge increase in ratepayer’s bills, brought needed attention to the fact that Connecticut must revisit our energy policies in a comprehensive and well thought out approach. It is clear that the storm response issues were a reflection on upper management, not a reflection of the people on the front-lines who worked extremely hard, spending days away from their families, to restore power and address safety issues. That being said, the management breakdown must be addressed head on. We also need to hold state regulators who oversee rate increases and review storm preparation plans accountable. Steps that must be taken including a thorough investigation of the utilities and regulators. We need to make sure the response is not a knee jerk reaction, but rather is a response that will help make energy more affordable and reliable over the long term.
What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses?
Government needs to listen to the voices of small business owners. We need to pay attention to Main Street, not just Wall Street. Connecticut must work to reduce burdens local employers faced before the pandemic that are even more magnified today. Reducing burdensome regulations and making our state more affordable when it comes to tax policy will help mom and pop businesses survive these tough times. Those in power also need to provide clear metrics on when different businesses will be able to safely open and increase capacity. The lack of science-based metrics and confusing flip-flopping on reopening policies has created chaos for small businesses making it nearly impossible to plan for how to support their workers and keep their businesses afloat. We need transparency and metrics so that small businesses can know what to expect and can prepare for how to survive in these challenging times.
List other issues that define your campaign platform:
I will fight to lower taxes and minimize the tax burden on middle- and working-class families. I will stand with law enforcement. Keeping our residents and children safe in Connecticut means protecting our first responders so they have the support they need to take care of us. I will fight to protect our children by fighting to keep school resource officers in our schools. I am the father of two school aged children, and I understand the importance of a quality education. I believe teachers, parents and students should have a say about local education decisions and not bureaucrats in Hartford. I will always fight to maintain local control of education.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
As a small business owner, I am supportive of measures to make State government and business more efficient and less burdensome. I will be an advocate for the taxpayer and small businesses, reducing business regulations to assist small businesses and provide opportunities to create jobs and grow our economy. In a COVID-19 environment we do need to be flexible and look at new ways of conducting business. I will work to safely get residents back to work and lower taxes so business can thrive.
As a husband and father, I will focus on families and address the real-life challenges they face every day. I will focus on advancing quality education and ensuring our classrooms are safe spaces for teachers and our children. I will work to improve access and affordability of healthcare. I am committed to supporting law enforcement and for providing for safe communities.