Energy, Taxes, Key Focus For State Rep Candidates

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Thomas O'Dea, left, talks during Monday's candidates forum, while fellow state representative candidates Mark Robbins and David Bedell listen. The three are hoping to succeed the retiring John Hetherington. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Tax cuts, boosting state revenue and cutting energy costs were on the minds of the men who want to succeed Rep. John Hetherington in representing the state’s 125th District.

Tom O’Dea, Mark Robbins and David Bedell stated their cases Monday for why they should be the choice for residents of the 125th District, which includes New Canaan and Wilton.   

O’Dea, the Republican nominee, said the state should cut spending by 10 percent as well as lower taxes, to balance the state’s budget. If private businesses can do it, the state can as well, he said. “I truly believe if we lower our taxes for corporations and individuals and for retirees, more people will come in and pay taxes,” O’Dea said.

For Robbins, the Democratic challenger, the state has the wherewithal to improve things with innovation. Robbins said Connecticut can save money by endorsing decentralized power. He pointed to tapping into a natural-gas pipeline that runs through New Canaan as a power source. O’Dea said tapping into the gas lines might be costly, but that he would be interested in looking into what can be done to defray the expense if he makes it to Hartford.  

Robbins expressed concern about making deeper tax cuts, since 75 percent of the state’s budget goes toward high education, health care and public safety.  “I don’t think we want to compromise any of those aspects,” he said. “What we need is jobs. What we need is revenue. We need to champion our heritage in innovation,” Robbins said.

Bedell, the Green Party candidate, said the state should focus on adding taxes on things people would like to discourage, such as a carbon tax.

Bedell criticized the war on drugs and endorsed legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana sales. Other states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, he said. “It could become a revenue stream, rather than a cause of so much grief for our families,” Bedell said.

Bedell also wants the state to make things easier for towns to create their own utility districts. Bedell said the utility costs for his parents in Wallingford, for instance, were cut in half with the town producing its own power, instead of relying on United Illuminating.

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dbedell:

Medical marijuana has already been approved in Connecticut. I was referring to legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for general use, controlling it like alcohol or tobacco.

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