Connecticut’s 135th District — covering , Easton and part of Redding — is a seat that’s been held by the Republicans since 1993.
Leon Karvelis, a Redding Democrat, is hoping to end that trend.
On Monday, Karvelis announced his candidacy to challenge , who first won election in 2010 after John Stripp, who held the seat since winning in 1992, decided not to run for reelection. (Shaban won the seat with 56.4 percent of the vote.)
“The voters deserve a choice and over the last 18 years, the district has been dominated by one party,” Karvelis told Patch. “I have the time, energy and expertise necessary to represent the people of the 135th objectively without any conflict, express or implied, with any company, employer, career, industry or union.”
Karvelis said Shaban’s votes “overwhelmingly side with business at the expense of employees, consumers and the environment.”
There are a number of problems affecting Weston, Redding and Easton, Karvelis said.
“The problems I would like most to focus upon include unfunded state educational and operational mandates, the serious issues related to Lyme disease, the unending upward trajectory of property taxes, the need for regional services cooperation to achieve greater municipal operating efficiency, maintenance of quality schools, protection of our watershed and open spaces, and improvement in regional road and rail transportation and related safety issues,” he said.
Karvelis said his 35 years of experience in the private sector, where he dealt with governments across the country suffering from financial and economic difficulties, well qualify him to represent the 135th.
“I have worked, during the course of my private sector career, with literally thousands of state and local governments and have determined where they have erred and where they have successfully addressed problems,” he said. “I want to share that expertise with the legislative leadership in Hartford. I can do a much better job of presenting the suburban/rural citizens' viewpoint in the leadership caucus because I will have access to that caucus not enjoyed by my opponent.”
Karvelis, who is a member of the Region 9 Board of Education, said he’s proven an ability to work across party lines.
“My opponent has not demonstrated a capacity to work on a bipartisan basis,” he said.
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His membership on the Region 9 school board and experience as an inner-city school teacher provide Karvelis with more qualifications that his opponent, he said.
“My qualifications to address the serious educational issues of our state are far greater than those of Mr. Shaban,” he said.
Problems facing Connecticut
Karvelis also outlined a number of problems he felt are facing Connecticut.
Among them are “the ongoing financial challenges implicit in the budget deficits presented to the governor by the last administration, including significant underfunding of the state's pension and OPEB liabilities; the need to create high quality employment opportunities for our people; the educational achievement gap and the need to restructure our educational system to improve outcomes, particularly in our urban school districts; transportation infrastructure underfunding; and the efficiency and reliability of utility service delivery.”
Karvelis said he’s the best choice for the district.
“It is my belief that serving as a legislator requires breadth and depth of experience, analytical capabilities, the ability to strike reasonable and thoughtful compromise and a keen understanding that one is representing the views of constituents, not those of any special interest or lobbyist,” he said.
“I have proven time and again during my private sector career and my more recent dedication to community service that I can effectively deliver solutions to problems, work effectively with people of all political stripes, and demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of the people of our region.”
For more information, check out Karvelis’ campaign website.