BRISTOL - Cara Pavalok-Damato, Republican incumbent for the 77th House District, will be challenged by Democrat Kevin Fuller next Tuesday on Election Day
Pavalock-Damato was elected to the Legislature in November 2014. She is a partner at The Law Offices of William J. Forbes in New Britain where she practices family, tax, bankruptcy and foreclosure law.
Fuller, a former Bristol City Councilor, is the owner of Dunphy’s Ice Cream on Stafford Avenue.
“One of my proudest moments was being one of 23 members who had the courage to vote against a ‘bipartisan’ budget that legislators were given only a few hours to read,” Pavalok-Damato said. “It gave $5 million to bail out Hartford (this amount was increased to over $500 million by the Governor), cut the Medicare Savings Plan (MSP) for seniors and raised teacher retirement contributions. I am grateful to have voted against a budget that I felt did not properly serve my district. I was also very proud to vote for the subsequent budget that reinstated funding for MSP.”
“I will say that I am most proud of my work getting the renovations to the senior center started sooner than later,” Fuller said. “They were going to put the renovations on the 10 year capitol plan instead we convinced the Mayor to put it on the bonding commission instead which lead to the project being started right away.”
Pavalock-Damato said some of the biggest issues she sees the state facing are caring for the elderly, including meeting their transportation needs, and “prescription/healthcare coverage and affordable housing,” adding that these issues “cannot be ignored.”
“These problems will only grow if we don’t plan and budget ahead,” Pavalock-Damato said. “Programs such as the Medicare Savings Program for seniors are a priority for me. I want to make sure our tax dollars go to funding them instead of things like a $10 million toll study or $500,000 colored blocks for UConn.”
“As everyone would say it is the budget,” Fuller said, when asked what issue he saw as the biggest for Connecticut. “Not one person can fix the problem but if we work together to find ways to curb spending and increase out tax base we can make small strides to close the gap.”
When asked why the undecided voter should vote for her, Pavalock-Damato said, “I am very proud to have maintained Bristol’s education funding levels; passed legislation to protect the disabled, strengthen domestic violence laws and provide funding for manufacturing job training programs like the Apprenticeship CT Initiative which supports workforce pipelines serving the needs of our manufacturers. I provide a voice for small business owners, the working class, women and mothers at the Capitol and want to continue the fight to make CT affordable for all of us.”
When asked the same question, Fuller said, “I would tell undecided voters that a vote for me would get you a representative that can work both sides of the aisle and is going in with excitement. You would have a person that would be communicating with our local elected officials to see what I can do to help and what needs our City has.”
Should she be re-elected, Pavalock-Damato said, one of her main goals would be welfare reform.
“This is the topic that people most frequently contact me about,” she said. “They call me to inform me about the overwhelming amount of abuse they see daily. Sadly, I also get the calls from people whose funds are cut. For example, this past year, many needy people had their food assistance cut to $16 a month which is unacceptable.”
Asked the same question, Fuller said, “My main goal would be to help fund work force training. We need to help the students that college is not for them. These students need to have an outlet so we need to get them training in the trades. If we get them in the work force making a decent salary they will be proud and will be a solid part of the community.”
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.