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GOP, Dems endorse legislative candidate lineup for November

Published 11:35 am, Tuesday, June 3, 2014
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Local Democrats and Republicans have completed their nominations for candidates in November's legislative election.

- 28th SENATE DISTRICT: With state Sen. John McKinney seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor, the race to fill his Senate seat in the multi-town district will be fought by two political veterans from Fairfield.

Republicans nominated state Rep. Tony Hwang, who has represented the 134th House District for the past three terms. Hwang, who was unopposed for the nomination, started in politics in 2005, with election to the Representative Town Meeting. In 2008, he was elected to his first term in the General Assembly.

Hwang serves on the Insurance and Public Safety committees, and is the ranking member of the Government Administrations and Elections Committee.

He works in residential real estate for Coldwell Banker.

Hwang will face Democratic state Rep. Kim Fawcett, who has represented the 133rd House District since 2006. Fawcett is the assistant majority leader and vice chairwoman of the Select Committee on Children. She is co-chairwoman of the Transportation Bonding Subcommittee, and if elected to fill McKinney's seat, she will be the first Democrat to hold it in 40 years, and the first woman ever elected to the seat.

Before moving to Fairfield, Fawcett served as the legislative assistant to the governor of Maryland.

The Senate district, in addition to Fairfield, includes part of Westport, Weston, Easton and Newtown

- 132nd HOUSE DISTRICT: State Rep. Brenda Kupchick, the Republican incumbent, faces a challenge from Democrat Kevin Coyner, who works as a firefighter in Greenwich.

Kupchick is serving her second term in the General Assembly and serves on the Public Safety, Housing and Program Review and Investigations committees. Locally, Kupchick served on the RTM, the Board of Education and the Parks and Recreation Commission. From 2002 to 2009, Kupchick was a constituent representative for U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, and the constituent services and public affairs representative for state Sen. John McKinney from 2009-11.

Coyner, a firefighter since 2005, is as an employee member on the Greenwich Retirement Board. Before that, he was a bond and options trader and then started his own company building websites and databases for local businesses. He has also worked as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate. Prior to moving to Fairfield, Coyner served on the Greenwich RTM.

- 133rd HOUSE DISTRICT: The race for this open seat, being vacated by Kim Fawcett, will be between Democratic Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey and Republican Carol Way, a member of the Representative Town Meeting.

Vahey has been a member of the Board of Selectmen since 2011, and prior to that was on the RTM, a position she was first elected to in 2005. While on the RTM, Vahey served as deputy moderator and minority leader. A social worker, she is co-chairman of the Fairfield Cares Community Coalition.

Her opponent, Way, was first elected to the RTM in District 10 and now represents District 5, a traditional Democratic stronghold. Way has worked as a high school English and social studies teacher, a public information specialist and journalist, executive director of the Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and a development director and fundraiser.

- 134th HOUSE DISTRICT: This seat, being vacated by Tony Hwang, will feature a contest between Democrat Tara Cook-Littman and Republican Laura Devlin.

Cook-Littman, who grew up in Easton and worked in the New York City district attorney's office before moving to Fairfield, is the founder of GMO Free CT, a grassroots group that pushed for the state to adopt GMO labeling regulations. She has served as a board member for Operation Hope and started a preschool at Beth El Synagogue.

Devlin is serving her first term on the RTM, representing District 3. Prior to that, she was the secretary of the Board of Assessment Appeals for two years. Devlin has more than 30 years of corporate experience in communications, public relations, marketing, sales and human resources. She has volunteered as a business re-entry coach for Dress for Success.

This district includes part of Trumbull.

- PROBATE JUDGE: Republican Daniel Caruso will be running unopposed again for another term as judge of probate. A lawyer, Caruso was elected to the represent the 134th House District in 1989 and served six years before being elected probate judge in 1994.