Conn. races come to a close

When Yale students step into the voting booth today, they will encounter a slew of state positions up for grabs, as well as Congressional races and an important municipal issue.

Of the state elected offices, the gubernatorial race has been featured most prominently, pitting incumbent Republican Gov. John G. Rowland against Democratic challenger Bill Curry, former state comptroller and adviser to former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Curry, who ran unsuccessfully against Rowland in 1994, proposes property tax cuts across the state to ease what he has said is an unreasonably heavy tax burden. He also advocates campaign finance reform in the form of publicly funded elections, stricter accountability in state government, and greater access to affordable health care for Connecticut residents.

Rowland, campaigning for a third term, is running on the precedent of the past eight years. As governor, he has allocated funds for extensive school construction, notably in New Haven, lowered gas taxes, and made an effort to preserve open space in the state.

Clinton rallied Curry supporters in Hartford Monday, while Rowland campaigned aboard Metro-North trains between New Haven and New York.

Recent polls in the gubernatorial race show Curry trailing Rowland by 17 to 18 percentage points.

In the 3rd Congressional District, six-term incumbent Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, is defending her well-fortified position in Washington against Republican Richter Elser ’81, owner of Tibwin Grill, and Green Party candidate Charles A. Pillsbury ’72. The challengers have criticized DeLauro for a perceived neglect of her constituents in favor of the national party agenda.

Elser has pressed for lower energy costs and better transportation in the area. Pillsbury has called for a universal healthcare, publicly funded elections, and a cleaner environment. DeLauro supports the Patients’ Bill of Rights, tax relief for working families, and stricter gun laws.

In addition to elections, voters will also be asked to answer a question tomorrow concerning municipal government: “Shall the proposed changes to the city charter be approved?”

The primary change is a proposal to extend the city’s mayoral and aldermanic terms from two to four years. Proponents argue that this amendment will allow elected officials to spend more time legislating and less energy campaigning for re-election. Opponents say that four years in power in an overwhelmingly Democratic city is just too much time without accountability to constituents.

State Rep. Bill Dyson, a Democrat who has served in the state House of Representatives since 1976, is running unopposed in the 94th District.

In the state’s 95th District, Ward 3 Alderman Juan Candelaria is running in place of the late John Martinez, who was killed in an October car crash. Candelaria was chosen by the New Haven Democratic Town Committee to succeed Martinez, who defeated Ward 16 Alderman Raul Avila in the primary. Candelaria faces Republican Duffy Acevedo.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, a Democrat, is running against Republican lawyer Martha Dean. In a televised debate at the Yale Law School auditorium two weeks ago, Dean criticized Blumenthal’s hefty amount of expensive litigation, while Blumenthal emphasized the need for corporate accountability.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, a Democrat, faces a challenge from Republican Ronald S. San Angelo and Libertarian Darlene H. Nicholas. Major issues in this race include voting reform aimed at increasing ballot access and removing red tape.

In the 5th Congressional District, incumbents Republican Nancy Johnson and Democrat Jim Maloney — both Harvard graduates — are competing for one seat in Washington. Redistricting after the 2000 census revoked one seat from Connecticut, precipitating this unprecedented battle between incumbents.

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