Sometimes on election days you stare at the names of the candidates on the ballot and try to decide between the lesser of two evils. If Tuesday’s debate is any indication, when voters in the 18th State Senate District head to the polls on Nov. 6 their choice will not be between the lesser of two evils, but between two impressive and even somewhat similar candidates.
The Stonington Community Center hosted the second of four debates between state senate candidate Republican Theresa Madonna and Democrat Incumbent Andrew Maynard Tuesday evening.
For a little more than an hour Moderator and Stonington First Selectmen Ed Haberek asked the candidates questions on state taxes, spending, jobs, education and crime.
Both candidates spoke of their concern about the state’s economy and how that led them to run for political office.
“Taxes are increasing,” Madonna said. “That affects all of us.”
Madonna who lives in Griswold, Conn. and served on the Griswold Board of Selectmen and Board of Education said she would work to repeal the 77 tax hikes imposed last year including taxes on movies and clothing items.
Maynard who lives in Stonington, Conn. and is the three-term incumbent countered that 19 of those 77 taxes were actually one tax on sporting events in 19 different locations and that many of the other taxes were on non-essential items such as spa services and pet grooming.
Haberek also asked the candidates about their thoughts and ideas on the district’s role in tourism. Madonna stressed the importance of trying to link the area’s tourist attractions possibly through increases to the state’s rail system, so that people going to the Mystic Seaport or Mystic Aquarium would also have easier access to other attractions such as the vineyards. And Maynard spoke of how he would like to continue the work he has done while in the state senate.
“I’m pleased to have worked with the governor to increase state tourism spending,” Maynard said. “We're seeing more people use the state website to plan trips. Attendance at the Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium is up. The state strategy is a good one.”
The two candidates did agree on a number of items including energy. They both said the state is too dependent on oil and would like to see other alternatives put in place. Both candidates also agreed on the difficulty state regulations play on businesses in the state.
Madonna and Maynard even share views on their leisure reading. Haberek’s last question of the night inspired by a Stonington resident asked the candidates what was the last book they read.
“I enjoyed David McCullough’s Americans in Paris,” Maynard said. “It was a fascinating look at how Paris was the center of thought and art and how Americans went there.”
And Madonna who said she reads a book a week:
“David McCullough on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s about what it means to be a visionary and how to make those visions succeed.”
Read the live updates of the debate that were posted on Patch.
The next debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, is scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 30, at the Groton Public Library.