Meet your local candidates, Wilton!

This information is compiled from a number of sources:  candidate-supplied biographical information, Op-Eds written by the candidates, and video from the Oct. 16 Candidate Forum, at which candidates answered questions submitted by Wilton residents. The forum was sponsored by GOOD Morning Wilton, the Wilton League of Women Voters and the Wilton Library Association.

Not only have we listed each candidate’s opening statement along with his or her bio, we have also posted each question from the Candidate Forum separately, along with all the candidates’ answers to each question. If there’s a particular topic of interest to you–taxes, transportation, gun laws, education, etc.–you can watch that particular question and find out how all the candidates answered it.

The six state legislative candidates for Wilton are listed here by district, in the order of how they will appear on the ballot.

State Senate District 26

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Will Haskell (D)

Will Haskell is the Democratic candidate for State Senator in the 26th district. Haskell graduated from Westport Public Schools and Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University, and he now lives in New Canaan. He believes the values of this community—equality, justice and respect—are sadly lacking in Hartford.

In Washington, Haskell worked for the Democratic National Committee, where he analyzed state legislation and fought to protect the right to vote. He also assisted the Community Tax Aid program, lending a hand to low-income residents as they filed their taxes. Since March, Will has been campaigning throughout the seven towns of the 26th district, speaking to voters while knocking on more than 3,500 doors.

You can read Will Haskell’s Candidate Op-Ed here, which was published on Oct. 30, 2018.

Toni Boucher (R)

Toni Boucher holds leadership positions in public and private sectors:  State senate chief deputy leader following 12 years as state representative and assistant minority leader. Boucher served as Wilton Board of Education chair, State Board of Education member and selectman. She held executive positions with General Electric, UAL/Westin International, and co-founded two technology companies. She is currently a director at a Connecticut institutional asset management firm. A child emigrant from Italy, she became a naturalized U.S. citizen at age 10. Boucher has an MBA from the University of Connecticut and held series 7, 63, and 31 investment brokerage licenses.

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You can read Toni Boucher’s Candidate Op-Ed here, which was published on Nov. 2, 2018.

State Representative District 125

Ross Tartell (D)

Ross Tartell:  “New Canaan and Wilton are among the best communities in Connecticut. I have been lucky enough to spend almost 30 years here with my wife Karen and son Michael. Over the last year, all of us have seen what goes on in Washington, what is happening in Hartford, and the crises facing our society. I know many of us have been disturbed by the trends in our world, and many of us — regardless of political persuasion — have decided to “step up our game,” believing things can be better. My choice is to run for State Representative of the 125th District.”

You can read Ross Tartell’s Candidate Op-Ed here, which was published on Nov. 1, 2018.

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Tom O’Dea (R)

Tom O’Dea has been a trial lawyer for 27 years. From 1995 to 2004, he was a member of the Police Officers Standards & Training Council, which is responsible for overseeing training of municipal police. From 1997 to 2004, he served as a Victim Compensation Commissioner, which is responsible for adjudicating claims brought by victims. In 2004, O’Dea was appointed to the Judicial Selection Commission, which is responsible for recommending the appointment of judges. O’Dea was elected to New Canaan’s Town Council from 2005 to 2013. He has been elected to the 125th District since 2012 and is a Deputy Leader.

You can read Tom O’Dea’s Candidate Op-Ed here, which was published on Oct. 31, 2018.

State Representative District 143

Stephanie Thomas (D)

Driven by self-initiative, Stephanie Thomas worked her way through high school, college, and graduate school. Before starting her own successful business, she served as president of a fundraising company where she first started as an intern. A leading force in her industry, Thomas has raised tens of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations – giving her first-hand experience with the working poor, homeless, disadvantaged students, and others left behind when government does not strengthen all its members. A natural leader and consensus builder, Thomas is prepared to fight for everyone to build a stronger, fiscally solvent, and more equitable Connecticut.

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You can read Stephanie Thomas’ Candidate Op-Ed here, which was published on Nov. 1, 2018.

Gail Lavielle (R)

First elected to the CT House of Representatives in 2010, Gail Lavielle is Assistant Minority Leader, Education Committee Ranking Member, and a member of the Finance and Transportation Committees. Locally, she served on Wilton’s Board of Finance and Energy Commission. Previously, she worked for 26 years in finance, marketing, and communication, holding executive leadership positions in the US and France at companies including JP Morgan, Interpublic, and Suez Environment. She holds a Yale MA, a Cornell BA, and a UConn MBA, and has published a book on opera. She and her husband Jean-Pierre have lived in Wilton for 14 years.

You can read Gail Lavielle’s Candidate Op-Ed here, which was published on Oct. 31, 2018.

Question 1:  What are your thoughts on phasing out the income tax and/or tax on personal property? Please expand on how the budget would be balanced if they are phased out.

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Question 2:  Question 1 on the ballot covers the special transportation fund, known as the “lock box.” Please tell us your thought on this ballot question–do you think that tolls are the answer to improve Connecticut’s infrastructure?

Question 3:  As of January 2018, 34 states and the District of Columbia permit some form of no-excuse-needed early voting. Three additional states conduct elections exclusively by mail. What would you do to enable maximum participation of eligible voters in CT elections?

Question 4:  What would you do to protect residents, especially youth, from gun violence, and should CT’s gun laws be made more or less restrictive?

Question 5:  How can we improve school funding across the state? Would you support or change the education cost sharing formula that the state uses to distribute funds to municipalities for education?

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Question 6:  Do you support the state water plan as written, and do you have any comment on Aquarion’s application to withdraw up to one million gallons of water per day from the Cannondale well?

Here are the candidates’ Closing Statements:

The entire candidate forum can be watched in full here: