State Rep. Kim Fawcett and her Republican challenger for the 133rd Assembly District seat, Chris DeSanctis, have at least one thing in common -- both had decided to forgo Twitter during this campaign.
Both have campaign websites and Facebook pages, and both are happy to blog about issues leading up to the Nov. 6 election, but tweeting is not their thing.
DeSanctis said he does not use the social-media messaging tool primarily "because I think that people must have far better things to do than reading what I am thinking at any given moment in 140 characters or less."
Fawcett said she too has skipped Twitter, but is active on Facebook and "impressed by how many people comment about getting helpful news updates from my posts."
But that's about where similarities between the candidates end.
In the only local legislative race to turn personally contentious in this election year, Fawcett has accused DeSanctis of being a Tea Party-endorsed candidate who won't ever work with Democrats, wants to shift education money to private schools and opposes a woman's' right to make personal health decisions.
DeSanctis, the principal at Grace Christian School in Stamford and an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University and Norwalk Community College, said rather than talk about issues, Fawcett is concentrating her campaign on belittling private religious schools and misleading the voters. He said he has not received a Tea Party endorsement in this campaign.
"I have been an educator most of my adult life," DeSanctis said. "Unlike my opponent, I know what it is like to be in the classroom."
He said he is seeking a seat in the state legislature because he believes that is where he can make a positive difference. "For example, what happens in Hartford has a very direct and visible effect on local property taxes and the quality of life back home in Fairfield," the Republican said.
For his part, DeSanctis has taken jabs at Fawcett's voting record and attendance.
Fawcett points to her time in office -- she is serving her third term -- as a reason to send her back to Hartford. "After six years in office, I have gained tremendous experience, developed expertise on many issues that are important to Fairfield, and become adept at advocating for my district," she said.
One of her strengths, she said, is that she is a moderate Democrat, "who has gained respect by standing up to my leadership on many issues, including the recent tax increase package." Fawcett said she's interested in "advancing the best ideas, not partisan ideologies."
Asked the biggest difference between himself and the incumbent, DeSanctis says he "will focus on the critical issues exercise independent judgment and provide responsible leadership." An example of something he sees as not a critical issue is reducing dependency on plastic bags.
Fawcett in 2007 supported legislation that would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic shopping bags provided at retail stores, and would like to revisit this issue in 2013.
She said she is most proud of her work to expand health-care options for people with Lyme disease, for bringing public-access television to town and "for standing firm as a strong voice for fiscal responsibility."
"As co-chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, I apply results based accounting to the state budget to help identify and eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs,' Fawcett said.
Should he win election next month, DeSanctis said, "I am firmly convinced the single most important thing any Connecticut state legislator can do is to focus on the very serious fiscal and competitive problems we face."
He said he wants to end what he called one-party rule by state Democrats' domination of the state capital. "Any reform efforts I attempt in Hartford will be much more productive if a majority of Connecticut voters decide on Nov. 6 that one-party rule since 1965 has not served our towns and state well," DeSanctis said.
DeSanctis said the top concerns he hears from residents are preserving affordability, quality of life and property values in town. Fawcett said she sees the top issues are the economy and jobs, statewide, while locally it is distracted driving and speeding.
Both candidates raised the issue of the state statute regarding affordable housing.
DeSanctis said he has proposed a number of reforms for the law, 8-30g. One of his first priorities, if elected, would be to lead and effort to, among other things, allow towns like Fairfield to receive a one-year moratorium from 8-30g for creating a "comprehensive Smart Growth Master Plan," as well as receive credit for housing units that are considered affordable, but are not deed-
"I am working closely with Fairfield residents, town officials and other state legislators to come up with ways to maintain a commitment to affordable housing without allowing neighborhoods to become overbuilt," Fawcett said, adding a number of amendments to 8-30g are "in the works."
Fawcett said working in public office is a "huge privilege."
I love the opportunity this job gives me to help people navigate government bureaucracy and fight to change unfair public policies," she said.
"All my life, I've been passionate about helping others improve their lives," DeSanctis said, "which is why I have gravitated to the fields of education and public service."
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Principal, Grace Christian School; adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University, Norwalk Community College
Representative Town Meeting member, December 2010 to October 2011
Member, Metro-North New Haven Rail Council and Property Tax Cap Commission
Master's degree in public policy; B.S. in education
Democrat, incumbent in 133rd Assembly District
House of Representatives assistant majority leader, 2011
Host, producer and director, "Kids Who Care"