WILTON, Conn. – The Daily Voice sent five questions to each candidate running for state office this fall. The following responses are from Ted Hoffstatter, a Democrat running to become state representative in the 143rd House District, which includes Wilton, Westport and Norwalk.
Hoffstatter, 43, is a Wilton native who works as a social studies teacher and actor. He attended Wilton High School, went to college in Florida and lived in New York before return to Connecticut. He has served on the Wilton Board of Selectmen for five years.
Hoffstatter has also been the Democratic state central representative for the 26th District. He has been involved with the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club, Wilton League of Women's Voters and the Wilton Presbyterian Church. His hobbies include playing ice hockey, weightlifting, running, playing the guitar, songwriting, boating on Long Island Sound and spending time outdoors with his family. He and his wife, Debra, have two children.
Hoffstatter is running against incumbent Republican Gail Lavielle.
1) What are the biggest issues facing the 143rd District?
We have just witnessed, regrettably, the largest tax increase in state history, coupled with the largest budget cuts in state history. Growing up, if our family couldn’t afford something, we didn’t buy it! At the same time, my parents always set money aside for an investment: my college education. Our state legislature needs to think the same way. We need to hold the line on taxes, create opportunity for small businesses and invest in the future. The future for our economy is biotech and renewable energy sources.
If we don’t lead now, we will miss this incredible opportunity to enable an economic environment that will create high-paying jobs. I am an environmental champion, endorsed by the Sierra Club, and I do not see our economic interests and our environmental interests as mutually exclusive. In fact, I feel they go hand-in-hand, moving forward. Conservation saves money. Future jobs in Connecticut hinge on cutting-edge technology and renewable energy resources. When it comes to the state’s budget, I know we can find more places to cut.
2) What would you do differently than the current office-holder?
I would fight to see that while we find economies of scale to make government more efficient that we take a proactive role in creating an economic environment that attracts biotech, fuel cell tech and renewable jobs to this state. This is an opportunity to grow our economy and help our environment that we cannot afford to miss.
3) Is Connecticut going in the right or wrong direction?
Wrong direction on the tax increase, right direction in consolidation of agencies, but we can do more. Right direction in looking toward connecting biotech and renewable industries to our economic and environmental future, but we have not gone far enough in making that happen.
4) What would you do to involve your constituents in your decision-making process?
I walk door-to-door every day during this campaign. If elected, I will have a presence in the community. I am not here to represent a political party. I am here to represent the constituents of the 143rd District.
5) Why should people vote for you?
I have roots in this district; I have the vision. I am a fiscal conservative and a social progressive with the track record to prove it.