Senate Candidates Debate Best Way to Address State’s Pension Fund Deficit

Candidates for the 26th and 36th State Senate Districts discussed how best to address Connecticut’s $100 million-plus pension fund deficit, which has been called one of the worst in the country, during a lively debate hosted by the New Canaan League of Women Voters Monday at Town Hall. “Our pension unfunded liabilities have more than doubled, from 87% of assets to 200% of assets, in 10 years,” explained Republican incumbent Sen. Toni Boucher, who seeks another term representing the 26th Senate District, before a packed house. “We’re putting ourselves a great risk. This [pension fund deficit] is something that is talked about in Wall Street and in the ratings agencies all the time.”

Finding a workable solution that is amenable to politicians on both side of the aisle, however, is “not going to be easy,” Boucher said. She said Governor Dannel Malloy’s recent decision to refinance the state’s unfunded pension obligations out another 30 years is “only going to exacerbate our problem” by “adding $11 billion in costs for taxpayers and future generations.”

“This is wrong – and [Gov. Malloy] did it without even adjusting and phasing-in a 401K plan to replace the defined benefit plan,” said Boucher, who serves as a Chief Deputy Senate Republican Majority Leader and is co-chair of the House Education and Transportation committees, as well as vice-chair of the Banking and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees.

Candidates Discuss State’s Fiscal Woes During LWV Debate

Connecticut’s worsening fiscal crisis, preserving state aid for public education and how to fund critical transportation infrastructure projects were among the tough topics tackled by candidates for the state House of Representatives during a well-attended debate hosted by the New Canaan League of Women Voters at Town Hall Monday. One thing that was clear from the debate is that Connecticut is in rough shape fiscally and that it’s going to take time and hard work to get things back on track. Tom O’Dea, a three-term Republican incumbent and New Canaan resident representing the 125th District, which includes parts of Wilton and New Canaan, defended his seat against Democratic challenger Ross Tartell, a Wilton resident and independent consultant who previously worked at GE Capital and Pfizer, and who also currently serves as a college professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Meanwhile, Fred Wilms, a Norwalk resident and three-term Republican incumbent representing the 142nd District, which includes parts of Norwalk and New Canaan, defended his chair from Democrat and political newcomer Lucy Dathan, a New Canaan resident with a professional background in finance. The event, which also included a debate between the candidates for State Senate, was moderated by New Canaan resident and former LWV president Kate Hurlock. When asked what new revenue streams he would suggest to make Connecticut more fiscally sound, O’Dea, who serves on the legislature’s transportation committee, as well as the judiciary, legislative management and regulation review committee committees, said, “We don’t need more revenue streams. We have a $20 billion per year budget, and it should be $17 billion.

Registrar: September Sees Rise Among Registered Democratic, Unaffiliated Voters in New Canaan; Slight Decline in Republicans

New Canaan gained 83 registered voters in September—about half of them Democrats, while the Republicans have lost a handful of voters in the same period, according to the registrar of voters. 

Specifically, Democratic Registrar of Voters George Cody said, the Democrats gained roughly 40 voters in the month, while the Republicans lost six and about 50 people registered as unaffiliated. 

“And this balances out the people that have moved in and moved out and everything,” Cody told “So the number is going up. This is getting close to 100 people registering in September, so we will see what this month brings, probably just as busy.”

Asked whether next month’s election is driving the activity, Cody said, “Absolutely.” 

Here’s a breakdown of voter count in New Canaan as of Oct. 1:


Seats up for election on Nov. 6 include state legislators, governor and Congress. 

The local registrars have been busy. 

According to Cody, the registrars used a U.S. Postal Service tool to send out more than 250 notices to people who have moved into, out of and around within New Canaan that had not yet registered.

Michael Handler, New Canaan Republican, Takes Major Step Forward in CT Gubernatorial Bid

New Canaan resident Michael Handler is poised to take an important step forward in his bid for the Connecticut governor’s seat, as his campaign announced Monday that it has surpassed a key fundraising threshold. By exceeding $250,000 in qualifying contributions—none of which came from lobbyists or state contractors—the Republican is expected to qualify for public financing under the Citizens’ Election Program or ‘CEP.’

“I am extremely proud of the support that our campaign continues to receive,” Handler said in a press release. “Clearly, our message is resonating—the challenges we face as a state are fixable. I will address our threatening fiscal situation, reduce taxes and excessive regulations, and attract new businesses to our state. As CFO of Stamford, I fixed the mess Dan Malloy left behind after 14 years as mayor.

‘It’s Been Incredibly Humbling’: New Canaan’s Handler Ranks Among Top Republican Gubernatorial Candidates in Individual Contributions for Q3

Michael Handler during the past three months—the first filing period for the New Canaan Republican since announcing in July that he was running for governor—raised more than $116,000 in individual contributions from about 1,200 people. While the $116,985 figure places Handler among the most successful GOP candidates seeking the state’s top-elected seat next year, it’s the second number—representing 1,199 individuals who have contributed to his campaign—for which the town resident said he feels most grateful. “It’s been incredibly humbling, and it has been remarkable,” Handler told “The sessions that I have been having have given me a lot of hope that people are focused on the issues. They are receptive to solutions and they are drawn to somebody who not only identifies what the problems are and share their vision, but also can very tangibly touch on the solutions they’re looking for.