PLAINVILLE – Voters in Plainville have two races in the Connecticut General Assembly, though one won’t be a race at all as William Petit Jr. will run unopposed for the 22nd State House District – which represents Plainville and New Britain.
This will be the third term as a state Rep. for Petit, a Republican who first took office after defeating Betty Boukas in 2016.
Looking ahead to his next term, he believes the main issues facing the General Assembly will be the covid-19 pandemic – which includes preparing for a vaccine and helping businesses survive while keeping people safe – and the budget.
“And they’re all sort of related. My guess is we’re going to get an uptick in the winter,” Petit, a doctor who operated a private practice in Plainville from 1989 to 2007, said of the virus. “People who are at risk are going to have to be very cautious.”
The state budget for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 could get tricky, he believes.
“We’re going to need more money at a time when revenues could be down,” Petit said. “There may have to be hard decisions in terms of where money goes. Obviously the universities are hurting. UConn is talking about a $100 million deficit.”
Petit said his third term will mostly be about balancing between growing businesses, helping the economy and keeping people safe at the same time. He has been named to the Governor’s Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group – which he said will likely focus on getting a vaccine, once it is approved, administered to those in nursing homes and those in public safety – which would include nurses, medics, police and others – first.
Another challenge possibly facing Petit – as well as other Republicans – would be an unbalanced legislature.
“If we continue to have an unbalanced legislature, it’s difficult for people in the minority party to get bills heard,” he said.
The other local race is for State Senatorial District 31, which covers Plainville, Bristol and Plymouth, as well as Harwinton and Thomaston.
Henri Martin is the Republican incumbent, who is also the nominee of the Independent Party. He is seeking his third term.
A Bristol resident, he was a two-term City Councilman. Martin serves as the Ranking Member in both the Commerce and Transportation Committees. He is also a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.
“What’s lurking ahead of us is a pretty large deficit. We knew that going in even before covid,” he said. “So that’s the number one priority. Everything’s got to be put on the table regarding that.”
His second priority is building on recent legislation to help municipalities clean up and rehabilitate environmentally contaminated properties. Third is creating workforce development programs like those now happening with manufacturing to help steer students into professions like finance, medicine, and the STEM trades, he said.
His Democratic challenger is Mary Fortier, who is currently the most senior representative on the City Council, first elected in 2013.
She is currently an attorney with the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch.
“I think people are sick and tired of the extremes in our politics,” she said back in March, when she announced she was running. “People just want their representatives to act with common sense, common decency and achieve results that make people’s lives better. That’s what I intend to do for the people of this district, and that’s why I’m running for state senate.”
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.