In four State Senate races, Working Families Party candidates are taking on incumbents in an attempt to shake up the upper house. The State Senate is frequently a stumbling block to popular legislation that would have a positive impact on hard working families. Too often, bills are passed in committees, adopted by the State House, only to ignored by the State Senate. But Blair Bertaccini, Chris Robertson, Ted Feng, and Andrea Penta are running for office on the Working Families Party line against long entrenched State Senators with an eye towards making the State Senate a more productive body.
When the Working Families Party decides who will appear on their ballot line, we take a look at every candidate already in the race, whether they are Republican, Democrat, or independent. We only support the candidates who we can be sure will take a stand for working and middle class families and the unemployed. We want to make sure any candidate who we support will be a champion for legislation that creates an economy that works for everyone, not just the rich — bills like raising the minimum wage, solving the student debt crisis, guaranteeing workers paid sick days, and ensuring every worker can retire with security and dignity. We frequently cross-endorse candidates from another party because we believe they are the best candidate in the race. When you vote for them on the Working Families Party line, your vote counts to help elect them, but it also sends a message that you want politicians to put the concerns of hard working families ahead of corporate interests.
But in some elections, there simply aren’t candidates who share our values. In those cases we run our own candidates on our own ballot line. It gives voters the choice of a candidate that will stand up for them. That is the case this year with four Working Families candidates running for State Senate.
Blair Bertaccini investigates wage theft with the State Department of Labor. He previously served as the President of AFSCME Local 269, which represents workers from the Connecticut State Department of Labor, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Department of Worker’s Compensation Rehabilitation Services Division. He has previously run against seven term incumbent Democratic State Senator Joan Hartley, who has frequently voted against legislation that would improve workers lives like increasing the minimum wage and guaranteed paid sick days.
In the 16th District, Chris Robertson is challenging two term Republican State Senator Joe Markley. Chris decided to run because he sees our economy struggling and wants to make changes. Among the many issues that he is running on, Chris cites the rising cost of a college education and the student debt crisis as among the most important. “I want to keep the students here. I want to make it affordable for students going to college,” he told the Citizen’s News.
Ted Feng is the Assistant Director of the United Auto Workers Region 9A, and a Commissioner for the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission of Connecticut. Ted led the organizing campaign of 2600 casino dealers at Foxwoods Resort Casino – one of the largest union organizing victories in recent Connecticut history. By contrast, his opponent, three term Republican State Senator Michael McLachlan has been disturbingly unfriendly to workers. He voted against increases in the minimum wage, against paid sick days, and stood in the way of the state making affordable health care more accessible.
Finally, in the 35th district, Andrea Penta is challenging eleven term State Senator Tony Gugliemo. Andrea works for Covenant to Care for Children, a non-profit that provides goods and services to children who have suffered through abuse and poverty. She’s running to give a voice in our political process, and to give people a choice on the ballot to vote for someone who will always stand up for opportunity and for good jobs and a fair economy.
Across the state, the Working Families Party is standing behind independent candidates who are sending a message that it is time to put working and middle class families first. Find them on Row C on Tuesday, November 4th.