WESTON, Conn. — Leon Karvelis, the Democratic candidate for State Representative from the 135th District that covers Weston, Easton and Redding, has lived in Redding for the past 10 years and serves on the Region 9 Board of Education. He was elected to the Redding Board of Assessment Appeals in 2008. He’s been married to his wife, Marie, for 48 years, and their daughter, Andria, is an actress who lives in Los Angeles. Karvelis’s hobbies include reading, cooking, travel and photography.
We asked Karvelis five questions relating to his campaign:
Daily Voice: What are the biggest issues facing the district?
Karvelis: Obviously the economy is a serious issue. Education is in the middle of reform. Property taxes impact people with fixed incomes, the elderly and single mothers who have lost their jobs. The environment is extremely important. Those are the key issues.
Daily Voice: What would you do differently from Rep. Shaban?
Karvelis: In terms of the environment, John has had failing scores from the League of Conservation Voters two years in a row. Republicans and Democrats in the area want the environment protected, they value clean air and water and making certain that the constant barrage on the environment from a variety of self interest groups is mitigated so we can protect what we have for ourselves and the coming generation. I intend to spearhead and coordinate environmental efforts and I’ve been endorsed by the Sierra Club, which confirms that I’m very environmentally conscious.
In terms of the economy, the constant mantra against taxes and regulation by my opponent falls short of accomplishing the purpose. In my mind, we have to diversify the economy to provide more job opportunities. We have to make certain how we handle taxes in the state. It’s a major issue for homeowners and businesses. We’re financing 21st century needs with 19th century tax policy, which needs to be addressed.
I differ with John on many of the social issues he’s voted on, including protecting women and children and the environment and making sure that seniors are helped and health care is provided for the people who need it.
Daily Voice: Do you think Connecticut is going in right or wrong direction?
Karvelis: I don’t think either party can be proud of where we are at this point. We made a lot of bad decisions, including Gov. Rowland’s back-ended pension and health care deal in 1997 and the Democrats who ratified it. I think there needs to be a fresh approach. I’m fiscally conservative and socially progressive and want to bring my experience relative to public policy.
Daily Voice: What would you do to involve constituents in the decision-making process?
Karvelis: I would hold more frequent forums than John has and meet as many people as possible so they can voice their concerns, not just in the election but on a regular basis.
Daily Voice: What’s the main reason people should vote for you?
Karvelis: An election is the end of a job interview process. People are trying to make a decision about who will best represent their issues going forward in the legislature. I have a background in public finance with over 30 years experience. I was a small business owner in Brooklyn, a regulator, a teacher in the inner city and a member of a high quality school board so I have a good perspective on education, finances and the economy.
I have all the necessary ingredients and want to bring them to Hartford, where I will work effectively with people on both sides of the isle, effect specific change and recommended funding items that will save money.