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30th District Senate Race: Harding, Zimmerman deliver their pitches

LAKEVILLE — Republican Stephen Harding said his first priority is being a “strong advocate for northwest Connecticut.”

Harding, currently the state representative for the 107th District (Brookfield, Bethel and Danbury) and the GOP candidate to succeed retiring state Sen. Craig Miner in the 30th Senate District in the Connecticut General Assembly, said in a telephone interview Saturday, Sept. 24, that Miner did “an incredible job” in the state Senate in representing the district.

Harding singled out the work he and Miner did as members of the Legislature’s Environment Committee in the wake of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s cutting of trees at Housatonic Meadows State Park last winter.

“We made sure that will not happen again,” Harding said.

He said “affordability” is another priority, and involves taxes, the state budget and the effects of inflation.

He said the state’s surplus, which for the last two years is around $800 million, should be returned to taxpayers in some form, whether in investment in “critical needs” or in reducing taxes.

He ruled out simply sending checks to taxpayers on the grounds it would exacerbate inflation.

Harding’s third priority is strengthening open space regulations, to “curb over-development.”

“The charm and beauty of the area is the open space and the environment.”

Harding is “adamantly against”  any effort to establish statewide zoning, however. He said local control of planning and zoning should be maintained.

Eva Bermudez Zimmerman is the Democratic candidate for the 30th District. In a phone interview Saturday, Sept. 24,  she said her top three priorities are the cost of health insurance and the availability of health care (especially reproductive health care); early education; and affordable housing.

On the first, Zimmerman said the Access Health insurance (the state’s “Obamacare” exchange) has not been adequately funded.

“Health insurance goes up 10 to 14% a year naturally,” she said, adding that people who get their health insurance through the exchange are seeing their monthly (and subsidized) premiums double or triple.

On early education, Zimmerman said an organization she helped found, Child Care for Connecticut’s Future, has been successful in obtaining funding to expand child care and education opportunities for working parents.

She said that such efforts have a profound effect on communities, allowing people to work and employers to hire working parents.

“It goes a long way toward supporting the backbone of Connecticut.”

On affordable housing, Zimmerman said while campaigning in Falls Village recently,  she met a young couple who are expecting a child and have been looking, without success, for a larger rental they can afford in that town.

Zimmerman said the state has “resources we can dip into” to help create more affordable housing in the district.

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