Following a somewhat disastrous debate debut in Norwalk, Steve Papadakos candidate for the 25th District State Senate seat sent his regrets to the Darien League of Women Voters. There’s the famous , Bird Flu virus, then there’s the not named after Connecticut-Norwalk virus, and now the debut of the Norwalk Republican Chickenitis Virus.
Considering that Darien offers Papadakos his best chance for enticing Republican voters, this was an unprecedented lost opportunity. Especially coming on the heels of a sub par performance last week in Norwalk. Which is what the hot stove rumor factory is saying about Papadakos’ performance. Not showing up to meet voters is certainly an odd campaign tactic.
For Darien however, the debate offered two state senate candidates vying for the carved up district anyways. From the Darien News Time:
Education — both at the town and state level — transportation, and the budget are on the minds of Darien voters, according to the questions posed to its candidates at Darien’s Candidates Night.
The forum was held on Tuesday night in the Town Hall Auditorium and was moderated by Charlotte Garrell.
Candidates running for Board of Education positions and state positions responded to questions submitted to the moderator by the audience.
The incumbent State Sen. Bob Duff, who represents the 25th district, spoke alongside his colleague, Sen. Andrew McDonald, 27th district, who is running unopposed. Both Duff and McDonald are Democrats.
The state candidates spoke for 45 minutes about varied topics such as the environment, charter schools and health care.
Duff’s challenger, Steve Papadakos, a Republican, was ill and could not attend Candidates Night.
“I think the priority is to be budget watchdogs. . . . I’ll continue to make sure we don’t reverse the really wonderful gains we’ve made over the past couple years,” said Duff. “We want to make sure we’re out there protecting our constituents.”
Duff stated that transportation is a “public safety issue” and “one of the most pressing issues.”
Yep transportation is an issue. But the disaster that is the DOT is the problem. I think we have been overly focused on transportation safety at the expense of investing in mass transportation infrastrucutre that the economic engine of Fairfield County sorely needs. And the unopposed State Rep candidate was on hand too.
McDonald said that transportation-related issues were his passion and that the state needs to expand its vision of transportation beyond just trains. “We need to cut the programs that don’t work,” said Duff. “We need to work together and leave our party affiliations at the door.”
Terrie Wood, a Republican, is running unopposed for State Rep. of the 141st District, replacing long-time State Rep. John Ryan, also a Republican.
Education is the most important issue to Wood, who stated she “wanted to increase the standards for these kids and increase their production.”
All of the candidates spoke in favor of charter schools and against the voucher system — where students who aren’t in public school may use their state education allotment to attend another school — but agreed that education in general was an important priority in Connecticut.
I’m curious about the need for charter schools in Darien, but then maybe test scores aren’t high enough or something.
Another topic raised was regarding state statute 8-30g, which has been the subject of debate in Darien recently. This statute currently allows developers to build projects that might not be otherwise approved in towns where less than the mandated 10 percent of housing is deemed affordable.
“We need to make changes to 8-30g. It ends up really hurting the issue of affordable housing,” said Duff.
According to McDonald, “As a State Senator, I have offered amendments to 8-30g. I have not met with any success, but it’s not for lack of trying.”
Wood agreed that “8-30g has not been successful in the state. We are faced with some applications that are in some cases legal extortion.”
Ah, affordable housing. Well the state statute really doesn’t accomplish what it was intended to do which is encourage those municipalities hovering in the single digit affordable housing counts to build more. That would be towns like Darien. I’d like to see 8-30g change so that the towns like Darien, which benefit from being next to cities like Stamford and Norwalk contribute financially towards the infrastructure that enables economic diversity.
source: Darien-Times, Darien Meets its Next Representatives in Town, State, By Meghan Muldowney, 10/23/2008