112th District Race: How well is Connecticut handling the pandemic?

The following is the first part of a series leading up to the special election for the Connecticut General Assembly’s open 112th District seat, representing Monroe and portions of Newtown. Each article will feature one question for the candidates.  

MONROE, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont has led the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, closing schools and some businesses early on by issuing a flurry of executive orders meant to slow the spread of the virus. Now, Connecticut is going through the phases of reopening as residents become vaccinated.

Political tensions have run high across the country throughout the global pandemic, with maskers vs. anti-maskers and some favoring temporary closings or limited openings of businesses to slow COVID’s spread and not overburden hospitals, while others demanded everything open fully, including schools, for the good of the economy.

Three candidates are running for the Connecticut General Assembly’s open 112th District seat, which represents Monroe and portions of Newtown. The Sun asked them for their opinions on the issue.

Voters will decide between Republican, Tony Scott of Monroe; Democrat, Nick Kapoor of Monroe, and Independent Party candidate William “Bill” Furrier of Sandy Hook in a special election on April 13.

The Sun will pose a series of questions leading up to election day, changing up the order of the answers. Today, Tony Scott will answer first.

Do you support the way the state is handling reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic? If not, what would you do differently?

Tony Scott: I think the state’s reopening has not gone well. There has been too much confusion, last minute changes and overly restrictive edicts that have come out of the Governor’s Office.

Businesses have been handcuffed so greatly that many of them had to shutter and likely will never reopen. Those are small businesses, jobs and families that will be devastated for years to come.

I think the state is finally at the point where we should have been many months ago.

Since the Governor has had his Executive powers strengthened, he does not need to listen to small business owners and the people and it shows. If I get elected, I will push from day one to not extend the Governor’s Executive Powers and allow the state legislature to finally have its elected say in bringing Connecticut back from the pandemic.

Nick Kapoor: I believe the Governor was correct to issue Executive Orders in March of 2020. The crisis called for a steady and decisive hand to run the state. As the summer turned into Fall and the Fall into the Winter, the Governor issued additional Executive Orders necessary to fight the pandemic and to keep the government running efficiently.

Now that we are in Spring, I believe that most of the Governor’s Executive Orders should be allowed to expire.

However, some of Governor Lamont’s Executive Orders should be turned into laws by the legislature. One example of this would be allowing Connecticut residents to continue using COVID as a valid excuse for absentee voting during the May budget referenda.

Bill Furrier: There is plenty of criticism to level regrading nearly all the States Covid response, especially the Government mandated lockdowns, mandates, and restrictions. However, I’d rather focus my comments on what to do going forward.

I strongly support Connecticut completely eliminating all mandates and restrictions and instead allow local schools, businesses and individuals to determine what precautions are best suited for them.

I think the Legislature needs to understand, through their oversight powers, what authority the Governor used to empower the executive branch to foist such a far reaching and harmful shutdown and economic slowdown on the state, to determine if those powers are lawful/Constitutional, and I think those powers should never be allowed to be utilized to lockdown Connecticut again.

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