The economy is a key focus for both candidates seeking the state House of Representatives seat in the 23rd District.
Incumbent Rep. Marilyn Giuliano, R-Old Saybrook, and Democratic challenger Adam Stillman, an attorney, are seeking to represent the district covering much of Old Saybrook, Lyme, Old Lyme and Westbrook.
Giuliano, 59, a psychologist for the Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools, is serving her fifth term. She was formerly vice chairman of the Old Saybrook Board of Finance.
Stillman, 45, practices administrative law and is serving his second term on the Old Saybrook Zoning Board of Appeals. He also served on the Old Saybrook Democratic Town Committee.
In her campaign, Giuliano is emphasizing jobs, the state budget and "creating an affordable Connecticut," she said. Her plans to stimulate the economy include cutting taxes and supporting home-based businesses and manufacturing.
Stillman, who is running on a campaign platform of job creation, individual rights and environmental protection, said he plans to bolster the economy by investing in biotechnology, bringing large businesses to the state and stabilizing the housing market.
Specifically, Stillman said, a state program to securitize home loan mortgages would allow people to take advantage of the state's low interest rates and would draw new residents to the region.
He also said he would implement tax incentives for businesses that hire new employees, rather than add to the deficit with broad tax cuts for businesses. Stillman further proposes allocating a percentage of every dollar spent on new projects toward paying down the state's debt.
He supports Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's tourism budget and has ideas on how to draw people to southeastern Connecticut, such as with an indoor ski hill.
"Tourism is a tremendous financial engine in our region, and I think we should be promoting it," he said.
His background as a lawyer has convinced him that deregulation of industries would be a mistake, he said.
"We really need to ensure that licenses are upheld and reviewed," he said.
Giuliano proposes convening another forum, such as when the House Republicans hosted a small business forum to listen to the needs of businesses in the state, she said.
"It is my habit to listen to the needs of people and help them effectively solve problems," she said.
Giuliano also said she is proud to have co-sponsored the "Live Here, Learn Here" bill, which provides incentives for graduates from the state's universities to remain in the state. She would like to continue partnering with the state Department of Economic and Community Development, as she did when she hosted a home-based business forum.
Giuliano emphasized the importance of the region's tourism and culture and her strong relationships as a legislator with state agencies.
She also supports rolling back taxes overall, citing 77 new state taxes put into place during the recession. She said Connecticut is one of four states that tax retirement pension income, and that seniors leave the area because of it.
To improve state efficiency, she plans to recover money from human services fraud, she said.. Nonprofits also could perform a variety of functions for communities, she said. Giuliano wants to analyze the state's budget, line by line, to eliminate certain inefficiencies, such as vacant positions.