After a visit to the Connecticut Tool and Manufacturing plant, state Rep. Betty Boukus declared that the state government's drive to retain businesses and train young people for 21st-century manufacturing jobs is paying off.
"These are hard times, and we know that. Here's a company that's expanding its plant and adding jobs. We're seeing some things come to fruition now – I want to continue that," says Boukus, a Democrat who has represented the 22nd House District for more than 15 years.
Scott Saunders, her Republican challenger in the Nov. 6 election, counters that Gov.
"I'd work to make Connecticut more business-friendly," Saunders said. "We need to reduce regulations and taxes on small businesses to enable them to expand and create jobs."
Saunders and Boukus are vying to represent a diverse district whose communities sometimes have conflicting interests.
Saunders, 49, is a consultant and the vice chairman of Plainville's town council. Boukus, 69, has been the 22nd District legislator for nine terms; she defeated Republican challenger Helen Bergenty by a 62-38 ratio two years ago. In the previous race against Saunders in 2008, she won easily – 6,512 to 3,114.
He acknowledged that Republicans won't have the votes in the next legislature to force through any legislation, but said that electing more GOP legislators will give conservative voters a voice.
"You can be effective in the minority. You can be loud. That's what we did in Plainville last year and Republicans swept every seat on the ballot," he said.
Boukus said she wants another term to continue working on behalf of school systems and technical schools in the district.
Carefully targeted state investments in local companies can pay off by creating more jobs or keeping good-paying ones in Connecticut, Boukus said. She wants the state to continue marketing the region surrounding the