ELECTION 2016: Devlin looking for second term in 134th
Published 1:05 pm, Sunday, November 6, 2016
FAIRFIELD — Republican incumbent Laura Devlin hopes to first focus on the state’s budget, jobs and transportation if re-elected this November, issues in line with those her opponent, Democrat Fred Garrity, hopes to tackle in office.
Devlin is running for a second term in the 134th state house district, representing Fairfield and part of Trumbull. Devlin won the vacant seat in 2014 when Republican state Sen. Tony Hwang ran for state senator.
“The bottom line is I don’t feel like my work is done,” Devlin said. “I feel like if I didn’t run for
re-election I would be quitting midstream.”
The state representative said she would advocate for the district by having good relationships and integrity and voting the way she believes she should vote to represent Fairfield and Trumbull.
“What’s different now, people are angry. They’ve truly had enough. And I see my job as a representative as really being that voice and fighting for the people of the 134th in Hartford,” she said. “I’m an independent voice that is really working for the future of our state. I’m truly deeply concerned about where we’re headed.”
Devlin is running for the same reasons she first decided to run for office in 2014.
“I was watching our state and becoming more and more discouraged with the direction in which it was headed and wanted to get involved to try to make a difference,” she said. “I think both in terms of the minority party getting bigger so we’re claiming more seats, and also having more of a voice. We are starting to be able to make a difference, but there is much more to do.”
If re-elected, Devlin said she would focus on jobs and the Connecticut economy, taxes and the affordability of the state and transportation. While she said she has seen successful bipartisan work on many issues as part of the Legislature, “when it comes to the budget, it all falls apart,” resulting in a budget that is “crushing our state.”
“To me, it all comes back to the money because our state is in such a fiscal wreck we’re not able to do the good things that government is supposed to do,” Devlin said. “The core things that we’re supposed to do we can’t do unless we get the finances in order.”
She also called for more business-friendly policies, especially after General Electric moved its headquarters out of Fairfield to another state earlier this year. Devlin called hospitals “under attack,” highlighting her work to stop a bill in the state house that she said would have retroactively taxed hospitals.
Devlin said creating a more “business-friendly” environment in the state that encourages companies to stay would require balanced and consistent policies because, she said, changing economic decisions often means businesses cannot plan.
The state representative said she would focus on transportation, advocating for a “lockbox” for funds, emphasizing “one that’s really a lockbox.” The state should get serious about its transportation investments and prioritizing the busy transportation roads and public transportation lines in Fairfield County, the “economic engine of our state.”
“I think this is a critical turning point for our state in this election and that, collectively, we need to take a different approach in Hartford,” Devlin said. “I will continue to work very hard to try to create a place where you can live, you can raise a family, you can have a good paying job, you can choose to retire if you would like to retire here. I have built very strong relationships on the other side of the aisle and would certainly continue to do that and work in a bipartisan way.”
Devlin, originally from Chicago, has lived in Fairfield for two decades. She and her husband raised two children in town, a son, now 24, and a daughter, now 22. After a corporate career, Devlin has owned a small business for about 10 years.
Devlin said when she stopped commuting to work in New York City and focused more locally, she realized she wanted to get involved in politics to address high taxes and affect change. She began with a role on Fairfield’s Board of Assessment Appeals and was then elected to the town’s Representative Town Meeting. As an RTM member, Devlin said she worked collectively to slow the rate of tax increases.
“What’s been happening with our state and, I would say, devastating effects that one-party rule is having in the state of Connecticut, I’m not one to sit by and complain, but more action-oriented to get involved and try to make change,” she said.
Devlin said she does not know how she will be voting in the presidential election but her “entire focus” during her campaign is on the state, calling a change in the Legislature’s majority necessary for the state to “recover from the path that it’s on.”
“We’re better than this,” she said. “We can turn the state around.”
Connecticut’s Independent Party has endorsed Devlin.