PLAINVILLE, Conn. (WTNH) — Here in Connecticut, the state Republican Party is working to increase their numbers in the General Assembly on Election Day. They’re targeting Democratic incumbents they think are vulnerable because of their support for Governor Malloy and those tax hikes and spending cuts.
Dr. William Petit is challenging a long-time Democratic State Representative in the 22nd State House District. It’s the district that includes the town of Plainville and the southern part of the City of New Britain. It’s one of the districts where the state Republican Party thinks they can get a win on November 8th and increase their numbers in the Connecticut House of Representatives.
Seventy-three-year-old Democrat Betty Boukus has represented this district for the past 22 years, beating opponents for re-election ten times, but this time she is facing a Republican opponent with nearly universal, state-wide name recognition; Dr. Petit, formerly of Cheshire. As nearly everyone knows, Petit was the lone survivor of one of the most horrific crimes in state history that took the lives of his wife and two daughters.
“Some people offer their condolences, even though it’s nine years later, talk about it for fifteen, thirty seconds. People are usually happy to see me and happy that I’m trying to do something positive and happy that I’m out,” said Petit.
Petit, who is 60, has remarried and now has a young son, says he is drawn to political service because his father and several other members of his family have been involved for years in Plainville.
“I think, state-wide, it’s time for a change. The Democrats have held sway in the House and Senate 38 out of 40 years,” said Petit.
With campaign signs popping up on street corners like mushrooms it’s quite clear Boukus is in a competitive race this time. She says she’s a Democrat with a capital ‘D.’ but always tries to listen to both sides.
“I hate increasing taxes, but you know what? Things cost money. People want services. Recently, I just secured money for the Plainville food pantry. We’ve been working on that for two-and-a-half years,” said Boukus.
As chair of the sub-committee on bonding, Boukus has had a major role in both helping approve and, most recently, curtailing some of the state’s borrowing. She says she is most proud of the projects and services she’s been able to secure for her district.
“This is what I do. This is what I can do for you. This is the support that I can give my community which I believe is everything they’ve ever asked me to do,” said Boukus.
Citing the continued huge deficit projections, Dr. Petit is campaigning hard on an issue that often works against longtime incumbents; the need for change.
“The biggest issue facing the state is money. I think, at a minimum, we need some bipartisan governing so that we can make the changes that we need to make,” said Petit.
For Boukus, the message to voters is; you need someone who knows the ropes and knows the system to get the things from Hartford that the district needs.
“I cannot impress on you, as someone who comes into my community; how much I appreciate my community,” said Boukus.
It was just two years ago this month that Dr. Petit ruled out a possible run for Congress in the 5th District. He had been living in Burlington, but recently moved to Plainville.