Tuesday night, Democrat incumbent Betsy Ritter and her Republican challenger, Tony Siragusa, squared off in their only debate of the election season in the Waterford Public Library. Both are vying to represent Connecticut’s 38th Congressional District, which covers Waterford and part of Montville.
Siragusa is retired from the Department of Transportation and proudly announced he was married for the past 44 years. Ritter has been the representative of the 38th District since 2004, and previously was the Waterford Tax Collector.
The two faced off in last election in 2010, with Ritter winning. The debate was hosted by The Day newspaper, with Day Editorial Editor Paul Choiniere moderating.
Here are some questions from the debate not shown in the video, and the two’s answers.
Question: How can you help recent college graduates, who are having a tough time finding jobs?
Siragusa: He said the state needs to cut taxes and regulations so businesses will want to hire people.
Ritter: She said colleges, particularly community colleges, need to tailor their programs to fit employers’ needs. She said Three Rivers Community College does a good job of that. She also added that high schools could even give students more exposure to different careers.
Question: Can the state help seniors with their local property tax bills?
Ritter: She said the property tax is a regressive tax. She said she was proud that state aid to municipalities has not been cut.
Siragusa: He said the state needs to give more money to the towns, and have the towns lower taxes on seniors.
Question: Is the governor’s new education reform bill a good bill?
Siragusa: He said he didn’t like how teacher performance was tied to standardized tests, instead saying that principals and superintendents know who the good and bad teachers are. He said there is a way to fire teachers, the administrators just need to do it the right way.
Ritter: She said it did bring some improvements, such as its emphasis on pre-kindergarten programs. She said the state will continue to evaluate education and will see how the evaluation system works in towns that are piloting the program, like Waterford.
To read full profiles on both candidates, click here for Ritter and here for Siragusa.