Three Manchester officeholders seek state Senate District 18 seat
MANCHESTER - The race for the open seat in Senate District 18 has drawn three candidates who currently hold political office in the city.
The district includes the town of Litchfield and Wards 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in Manchester.
Candidates include Manchester Board of School Committee members Donna Soucy, the Democratic nominee, independent Arthur Beaudry and Republican state Rep. Gail Barry.
The race is to succeed Sen. Tom DeBlois, R-Manchester, who made an unsuccessful bid for Executive Council.
Beaudry, a former Democrat who represents Ward 9 on the school board, says he is tired of party politics.
"I want to work with people on the issues and not worry about what the party wants you to do," he said.
Beaudry said the Legislature is too focused on party politics.
"I'm hoping to be up there to work and change the mindset so people can work together," Beaudry said.
Barry, who represents Manchester's Ward 9 in the House, said she thinks she can have greater influence as a member of the 24-member Senate, as opposed to the 400-member lower branch.
"I figure more can be done in the Senate. I've been six terms in the House and have the experience I think can bring about some good change," Barry said.
She sees health care and the economy are key issues. Barry said she hopes to see "Obamacare" repealed nationally and says lawmakers should work to encourage more health insurers to do business here.
"I think better competition will bring premiums down and the health care will be better." Barry said.
The cornerstones of Ward 6 school board member Soucy's campaign have been jobs and education.
"Ensuring that Manchester and Litchfield get fair share of state funding" would be a top legislative priority for Soucy.
She previously served in the House and has been both a school board member and an alderman.
Soucy has far outspent her opponents, with $62,261 on the race as of the Oct. 31 campaign finance report deadline. She raised $94,545.
"I think fundraising is a reflection of support in the community," Soucy said. "We use the money to communicate."
Beaudry spent $7,566 through the reporting date, including $3,000 in loans he made to his own campaign, while Barry said her expenditures totaled about $9,000. All three candidates are from Manchester, but Litchfield exerts influence.
In the 2010 election, Litchfield voters cast 23.8 percent of the votes, but provided 60 percent of DeBlois' winning margin.