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State Representative Melissa Ziobron (34) is the Republican challenger for the District 33 State Senate seat. She hopes to replace fellow Republican Art Linares, Jr., who did not seek reelection. Ziobron is in her third term representing East Hampton and her hometown of East Haddam in the General Assembly.
State Senate District 33 represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Deep River, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and northern Old Saybrook.
Ziobron is the Assembly’s assistant minority leader, a ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, and serves on the Environment and General Law committees.
“I have demonstrated a dedication to serving,” Ziobron said.
Ziobron said that her work as a state senator would be “my only focus” should she be elected, unlike her opponent, Democrat Norm Needleman. Ziobron said that Needleman has not said he would give up his roles as owner of Tower Laboratories or as first selectman in Essex.
Ziobron said she’s proud that to have “worked very hard to promote small business across the state” in her time in the legislature. Ziobron named her work in instituting a spending cap in the state budget and working to pass the so-called “cottage food law,” which eases restrictions on the kinds of foods that can be sold from a home kitchen, as two specific accomplishments she’s proud to have worked on.
One significant difference between Ziobron and Needleman is their views on increasing the minimum wage. Needleman supports a gradual an increase to $15 an hour, while Ziobron said businesses couldn’t handle that additional pressure in the current economy.
As an example, Ziobron said she has heard from multiple people in the food service industry in particular who are concerned about being able to pay employees $15 an hour, particularly when a McDonald’s restaurant in Clinton now has a kiosk to take orders instead of a worker.
Ziobron cited the short time between the start of a new term and the beginning of the budgetary process as another advantage she brings to the race.
“We don’t have time for on-the-job training,” Ziobron said.
If elected, Ziobron said she isn’t focused on proposing new laws, but looking at laws already on the books to see what works.
“The majority of my focus is on the Connecticut state budget,” Ziobron said.
Ziobron said she wants to “weigh things as needs versus wants” when developing the budget. Ziobron said state agency requests for expanding services and new technology are in some cases items she would consider a “want.”
Ziobron said she’d be interested in finding ways to streamline services of the DMV. Ziobron said she’d like to “expand services AAA could provide,” but said that the department couldn’t just be privatized entirely.
Additionally, Ziobron is against the proposed idea of adding tolls throughout the state. Ziobron said that some money in the General Obligation Bond could be used to fund transportation projects, as part of a plan called Prioritize Progress, which was written by the Republican Caucus.
For more information on Melissa Ziobron’s campaign, visit melissaziobron.com.
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