The candidates compete in Plainville, Southington, Farmington House district

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The race in the newly redesigned 22nd House District features Rebecca Martinez, Democratic City of Plainville President and Board of Education member, against Republican candidate and longtime educator Francis Rexford Cooley, also of Plainville.

The district now includes parts of Southington and Farmington, in addition to Plainville, while no longer including part of New Britain.

Martinez and Cooley are running to replace the current representative, Dr. William Petit, a two-term Republican who has chosen not to seek re-election.

Cooley has lived in Southington for 15 years and in Plainville for the last 12. He was elected to the Plainville Library Board of Trustees in 2019 and served on the Board of Trustees of the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol from 2019 to 2022.

“I have roots in all parts of the 22nd District,” he said.

Martinez has lived in the Plainville area since 2009. She worked as a nurse for 22 years and is a member of the State Board of Examiners of Nursing. She was elected to the Plainville School Board in 2019 and chairs the Democratic Town Committee.

Martinez first got involved in politics by taking a leadership role on the Wheeler School Renovation Committee, but says it was the pandemic that inspired her to run as the Democratic candidate in office. state representation.

“As a home nurse, I am in my patients’ homes every day and see how they struggle to make ends meet. My patients struggle to pay for their prescriptions and access healthcare providers. As a member of the Plainville BOE and a parent of two children in public schools, I also see the challenges our children face,” she said. “When I see something that needs to be changed, I take steps to make that happen and that’s what motivated me. to run.”

Cooley said he was asked to run for the job by fellow Republicans and based his platform on three central issues – crime, education and taxes.

“High taxes and the cost of doing business in the state are causing businesses and people to leave. Test scores are plummeting, showing the failings of our education system. The same criminals are released again and again to commit more crimes,” Cooley said. “All three impact the quality of life in Connecticut for all of our residents.”

These issues frame what Cooley calls his “common sense” platform.

The heart of Martinez’s campaign is focused on economic opportunity and education. Drawing on her experience as a nurse, affordable health care is also a central issue she seeks to solve for residents of the district.

“I believe living a good life shouldn’t be as hard as it is today,” Martinez said. “My platform focuses on bread and butter issues to ensure that those who live in the 22nd arrondissement can have a good life.”

As a nurse, she aims to use her experience to push for more affordable and accessible healthcare for Connecticut residents, as well as to have healthcare professionals more involved in legislative decisions in Hartford. She is also seeking to pass legislation to better address the opioid crisis and provide appropriate mental health services to those in need.

Economy, education

The state’s economy is also one of the most pressing issues for both candidates. Cooley hopes to bring business back to the state by lowering taxes and reducing overall state spending. He points to the departure of companies like General Electric, Carrier Corporation and United Technologies Corporation as a reason to cut taxes to make the state more attractive to businesses large and small.

Martinez approaches the economic issue in a way that she believes will benefit both residents and the education system. Drawing on her experience with the Plainville School Board, Martinez aims to ensure the district gets the money it needs for its schools at the state level – to ease the cost for residents at the local level through to property taxes.

“I worked through the budget line by line and understand the needs of our district,” Martinez said. “I pledge to fight for our district to receive its fair share of state funding so that we can control our property taxes.”

Education is also a major factor in Cooley’s campaign, as he seeks to prioritize essential skills in schools that he says will significantly prepare children for careers upon graduation.

Cooley had a long career in education before his foray into politics, having taught history at Paier College of Art for 23 years and served as dean of the college for 13 of those years. He has also written articles for scholarly publications over the years, mostly on the subject of American foreign policy.

Approvals, experience

Both candidates have a number of endorsements.

Cooley has endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Business, the Connecticut Association of Realtors, and the Connecticut Fraternal Order of Police.

Martinez is endorsed by the Independent Party, Working Families Party, Planned Parenthood, Connecticut Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Labor, and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Endorsements from the Independent and Working Families party mean Martinez appears on the ballot on three separate lines.

Martinez is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and the importance of women’s bodily autonomy.

Both candidates are convinced that they have the necessary experience to be the next representative of the 22nd district.

Cooley cites his previous experience as an educator and serving on multiple boards.

“I will bring all the experiences I have had in my life to serve as a representative in the General Assembly,” he said. “I’m ready to do the job.”

Martinez said her time at the Plainville BOE and as an advocate for the local community will convince voters that she is dedicated to representing their interests.

“I love my community and have been very involved on boards, commissions and as a volunteer,” she said. “I’m ready to make your voice heard in Hartford and defend the entire 22nd District.”

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