Even as power was still out in the Trumbull area, Trumbull and Bridgeport residents gathered at the North Branch Library in Bridgeport to hear state Sen. Anthony Musto and Chad Ciocci of Trumbull debate.
The debate was moderated by Trumbull Patch and the Trumbull Times.
Ciocci, a Republican, is a five-term Trumbull Town Councilman and most recently a realtor.
Musto, a Democrat, is a Trumbull tax attorney with his own business and who served on Trumbull government.
Q. How did United Illuminating handle Hurricane Sandy and what you do differently?
Ciocci: The state failed to curb UI executive salaries while asking for rate increases.
Musto: The state regulates UI's rates, but UI is the one not planning ahead for storms. The company is also hampered because in Connecticut, "We love our trees."
Musto: Don't test children more and don't base teachers' salaries on test scores. "The teachers don't regulate who they get to teach."
Ciocci: He said he has served two terms on the Town Council Education Committee. Education is important to his entire family, many of whom are in the education field. He wants to empower municipalities to have greater control over their budgets.
Ciocci: He said he has experience in government and in the private sector. "I've been in local government for quite a while." He said he has a "strong set of core beliefs. I have voted against my own party."
Musto: He said he is a former Town Council member and town Treasurer before he was elected to the state Senate. He said he is a family man who understands what residents go through to stay in Trumbull.
Q: Small Businesses
Musto: Musto has met with small businesses since Hurricane Sandy struck and announced about $2 million in aid for small businesses affected by the storm. His brother owns a restaurant in Fairfield and lost a lot of food. He said he will continue working with small businesses.
Ciocci: State government has failed to create private sector jobs and Connecticut's unemployment rate is higher than the nation's average. "We tax more, we spend more, we regulate more than we ever have." Balance the budget first and repeal the retroactive income tax.
Musto (rebuttal): State budgeting is not that simple. There is no such thing a budget deficit. The state must balance its budget by law. "These are projections. They are adjusted constantly." The legislature reduced spending by $2.5 billion.
Q: Ciocci wrote a letter opposing the Magnet School in Fairchild Memorial Park, formerly located in Trumbull.
Ciocci: The letter was "absolutely accurate." He called the Bridgeport Board of Education a failure and it dissolved itself two weeks later. Then there were shots fired on Old Town Road near the border of Trumbull and Bridgeport. In his rebuttal, he said he supports measures to help Bridgeport students catch up.
Musto: He declined to comment on the letter but said generally, "I'm not hearing any solutions. Bridgeport has city issues including a lack of preschool education and a community of non-English speakers.
Q: The 22nd Senate District (Bridgeport, Trumbull and Monroe)
Musto: Nearly half of Bridgeport land is non-taxable because the city has jails, train and bus stations, courthouses and hospitals. The suburbs use these services and help pay for them. The city can't get the money that waterfront property is worth.
Ciocci: Revitalize Bridgeport and more people will come back.