Lesser, Kleckowski Vie For 100th Houst District Seat In Middletown

Colleges and UniversitiesElectionsBusinessPoliticsMiddletownScienceMiddlesex Community College

Democratic State Rep. Matt Lesser is running for his third term in the 100th House District in November, and will be challenged this year by Republican Deborah Kleckowski, a common council member currently in her second term.

The 100th District currently includes Middlefield and part of Durham, but state redistricting approved in late 2011 will shift the district to fit entirely within Middletown.

Lesser, 29, is the vice chairman of the General Assembly's Government Administration and Elections Committee. He is also on the education, energy and public health committees.

In the recently-completed legislative session Lesser says he was instrumental in passing education reform legislation and a bill to lower electric rates "by forcing speculators out of the market." He also cites his work getting legislative approval for a bill that toughened safety standards on pipeline purges in response to the explosion at the Kleen Energy power plant that killed six workers in Febuary 2010.

"I authored the toughest safety standards in the country to make sure we never have a disaster like that again," Lesser said. "Those standards are now being used as a model around the country."

He said in another term in the House he plans to attract more "green" technology businesses to Middletown by offering low interest state loans to businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

"We need to allow people with good ideas to have access to capital," Lesser said.

Lesser attended Wesleyan, but said he is "a few credits shy" of graduating with a history degree. He also served on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Kleckowski, his opponent, teaches freshman courses at Middlesex Community College. She said in her campaign, she is focusing on lessining mandates on local government, re-evaluating the prison early release program and encouraging independence of local school districts.

She said she would push to have the early release program suspended.

"We have really siginificant issues with the early release program," Kleckowski said. "It is astonishing that we are letting prisoners out who have [been convicted of] high risk crimes, and this is what the Democratic legislature has chosen to focus on to save money."

Kleckowski, 50, spent six years on the Planning and Zoning Commission, first as an alternate then as a regular member. She has worked for the Connecticut Prison Association working with inmates on job placement and job skills, and worked at Wesleyan University in the Upward Bound program, a college preparatory program for first-generation college students.

Lesser has been enorsed by the Working Families party and Kleckowski has been endorsed by the Independent party.

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