By MIKE CHAIKEN
Former city councilor Kevin Fuller has stepped forward to seek the Democratic nod to face Republican incumbent Cara Pavalock-D’Amato in the 77th district.
The past few years in the General Assembly have been marked by rancor between Democrats and Republicans—and the governor and the legislators.
“I decided that I wanted to be a part of the conversation when I saw that Rep. (Pavalock-D’Amato) voted ‘no’ on the bipartisan budget,” said Fuller, who served on the city council under former mayor, Art Ward. “It seemed clear that the budget was not perfect, but passing it would give the legislature a chance to move forward and continuously make improvements.”
“When you look at the level of funding that was coming to Bristol versus other towns and cities, (Pavalock-D’Amato) needed to vote for that budget,” said Fuller.
“In my opinion,” said the Democratic challenger, “the responsibility is to make Bristol your top priority and support a strong budget that is in our favor. To say that there was not enough time to read the 800 pages was unacceptable to me. The responsible thing to do would have been to see what it meant for Bristol residents, then talk to your senior colleague who did vote ‘yes,’ and make the right decision.
If he succeeds getting elected to serve the 77th, Fuller said, “I hope to be a part of protecting the same level of funding as well as taking a deep dive to make sure that we aren’t leaving anything on the table.”
Fuller, who is the owner of Dunphys Ice Cream on Stafford Avenue, said, “I hope to work with all members regardless of party to help properly fund education and services in Bristol and beyond.
“We have to find ways to help control the constant overages in Special Education,” said Fuller.
“I’d also like to be a part of the ongoing conversation about the minimum wage,” said Fuller. “As a small business owner, this conversation is essential to my ability to keep costs down and the level of service high.”
“Finally,” the Democrat said, “transportation and the electronic tolls seem to be at the forefront of the conversation this session. It’s either going to happen now or not at all. We need voices in that conversation and I think that I have some ideas that would help.”
If he is in Hartford, said Fuller, “I think what I will add is willingness and a desire to work with anyone who wants to see Bristol and the State of Connecticut succeed. Also, as a long time Board of Education employee who is in the process of retiring, but continuing to own a small business— partially so I can afford to remain in Connecticut— I bring a perspective that’s needed at the table.
Fuller said he finds his time being a leader in the community will help in Hartford.
“My time on council is evidence that I have the ability to work toward solutions without bias,” said Fuller. “In my second term on City Council, I was one of just two Democrats elected that year, but it did not impact my commitment to vote with and for the people who elected me to do so. I have shown it, and will continue to do so if elected to a seat in Hartford. If we can’t work on both sides of the aisle, it will be impossible to keep Bristol in the conversation and to maintain or increase the resources that we receive from the state.”
Although Fuller has stepped forward to seek the nod of the Democrats in the 77th district, he is not the only candidate seeking a slot. Laura Bartok, who lost to Pavalock-D’Amato two years ago, also has filed the necessary state paperwork to begin a run. In 2016, she faced Christy Matthews in a primary when Matthews also sought the Democrat’s nod.