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State Senate races take shape with GOP nominations

By Claire Bessette, Kimberly Drelich and Tess Townsend

Publication: The Day

Published May 14. 2014 4:00AM

Connecticut Republicans held their nominating convention Monday evening in Hartford to select candidates for state Senate.

For local races they chose Columbia Republican Selectman Steven Everett as the candidate in the 19th District; East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica in the 20th District; and incumbent Sen. Art Linares in the 33rd District.

19th District

Steven Everett, 53, who also serves on the Columbia Financial Planning and Allocation Commission, will challenge incumbent freshman Democratic state Sen. Cathy Osten of Sprague in the district that covers Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich and Sprague.

"One party rule in Connecticut has resulted in the highest tax increase in state history, unsustainable state spending, increased state debt, and one of the worst business climates in the nation," said state Sen. Len Fasano, chairman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. "Today we are proud to endorse Steven Everett for state Senate in our continuing effort to end the one party rule in our state."

Everett has lived in Columbia since 1987 and served in the U.S. Navy for 32 years, including active duty in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom. He also has worked in sales and marketing for SNET and AT&T and in pharmaceuticals. He holds a bachelor's degree from Eastern Connecticut State University.

"I am very pleased to be the candidate for the 19th District," Everett said. "I'm looking forward to meeting people and finding out what their concerns are and lessening the burdens on small businesses so they can hire people and provide the goods and services we need."

Everett has volunteered as a baseball and basketball coach and ran the Columbia Ski Club for six years. He lives in Columbia with his wife, Lynda, and their three children, Stephanie, Joseph and Christina.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee is a legislative leadership political action committee dedicated to electing more Republicans to the state Senate.

The Democratic nominating convention will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Norwich City Hall.

20th District

East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica was endorsed Monday as the Republican candidate for the 20th state Senate District.

Formica, 60, is in his fourth term as first selectman, and has in the past served on East Lyme's finance committee, Charter Revision Commission, and as chairman of the Zoning Commission. He has also served on the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and as chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments.

He will challenge either Rep. Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, or New London Democratic Town Committee member Bill Satti in the district that covers Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford.

Formica said Tuesday he wants to ease up business regulations, especially for small businesses.

"I had decided that the state needs more of a voice of small business," he said of his decision to run.

Formica opened Flanders Fish Market and Restaurant in 1983 with his late wife. He has four adult children.

He received his nomination Monday during the Connecticut State Republican Party 20th District State Senate Convention, which took place at the fish market.

Salem First Selectman and Chairman of the Salem Republican Town Committee Ed Chmielewski gave the nominating speech. According to his written speech, he said that Formica will work to reduce unfunded mandates for education.

Formica said Tuesday that if elected, he would be the first Republican to hold the 20th District Senate seat in 22 years.

Formica ran unsuccessfully for state representative in the 37th district in 2006 and for U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.

The Democratic nominating convention for the 20th Senate District will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the Waterford Public Library.

33rd District

On Monday, the party nominated incumbent Sen. Art Linares of Westbrook for the 33rd District. The district covers Lyme, Old Saybrook, Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland and Westbrook.

Linares, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012, is the principal and co-founder of Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a solar company in Middletown.

Linares said he wants to improve the state's business climate and "take Connecticut to the top" of the nation. One of his recent initiatives was to provide incentives for manufacturers to hire and train workers.

He also stressed the importance of education and the environment, citing efforts to help acquire The Preserve in Old Saybrook, support early childhood learning and provide more flexibility and local control in education.

Linares, 25, said his father's side of the family escaped Communist Cuba with the belief that if you can work hard, then you can achieve anything, a value which he said he espouses today.

"That's what I want people to know that I stand for," he said.

"We're excited about Art running for election again," said Westbrook Republican Town Committee Chairman Harry Ruppenicker. "We think he has done a great job over the last two years and will continue to serve his district well."

The Democratic nominating convention for the 33rd District will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday at the Old Town Hall in Haddam.

c.bessette@theday.com

k.drelich@theday.com

t.townsend@theday.com

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