Democrat John Fonfara and Republican Barbara Ruhe have faced each other before in a race for the 1st Senate District seat.
Fonfara, the incumbent and a Hartford resident, beat Ruhe by nearly 15,000 votes in 2008. The loss didn't stop Ruhe, a Wethersfield lawyer, from opposing Fonfara again this year.
"I think it's time for him to go on vacation," she said.
Fresh off a primary victory against Hartford's Edwin Vargas, Fonfara, 54, said he is not taking anything for granted and has been talking to constituents. Fonfara, the owner of a Hartford billboard company, said most of those constituents have said they are concerned about speeding on Hartford streets. He said he wants to secure money for speed bumps and to take other steps to reduce speeding.
Fonfara also said he plans to continue to obtain money for his district, which includes most of Hartford and Wethersfield, using his experience and relationships with legislative leaders.
Fonfara started his legislature career in 1986 as a state representative and is co-chairman of the legislature's energy and technology committee. He is currently working on an energy bill for next year's legislative session. It will be a modified version of a bill the governor vetoed in the spring that would have changed the way the state regulates the sale and supply of electricity. Fonfara said the bill would have resulted in a reduction in electricity rates.
Ruhe, 61, has never held elected office, but has served on many state and local boards and commissions, including the board of directors for the Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents.
She has two adopted children, who are now adults. Professionally, Ruhe focuses on legal issues involving children and families.
Ruhe said that if she's elected, she wants to help restructure the Department of Children and Families, but did not offer any specifics. The department is a disaster, she said.
Ruhe said she also wants to find a way to protect grandparents' rights and wants to curb drug use among young people by allowing them to call 911 to report drug abuse without consequence. Finally, Ruhe wants to help reduce the violence in Hartford streets. She has been meeting with the Maple Avenue Revitalization Group. She said she believes such groups can make a difference, but the legislature also needs to discuss the matter.
Ruhe also said Connecticut needs to reduce government spending by determining which programs work and which don't and streamlining government.
Ruhe tried, but did not raise, the $15,000 to qualify for a grant through the state's public election financing system. Fonfara, however, did qualify and was awarded $88,400, plus money for his primary race.
Also running in the 1st Senate District this year is Green Party candidate Martha Kelly of Hartford, who could not be reached for comment.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at