by Charles Ferraro Candidate for State Rep. 117th District I felt compelled to run for office after observing the policies of state government that have led to excessive red-tape, economic stagnation and over taxation. My business experience along with my ability to work with diverse people will translate well for serving my constituents as State Representative. I am a successful local business owner who has served our community for over 40 years. As owner of the West Haven Academy of Karate, I am a Master Instructor working with both children and adults. One of the country's first instructors to achieve the title of Grandmaster, I have earned a 9th degree Black-belt, the highest rank given to an American Tang Soo Do instructor. As a co-founder of an international organization, the Worldwide Tang Soo Do Family, I have utilized my organizational skills to grow this entity to over 120 martial arts centers in the US, South America and Europe. I have taught local army reserve units, as well as, members of the 82nd Airborne, SFA (Special Forces A) and SFB at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After graduating from Southern Connecticut State University in 1975, I worked as an agent for Fidelity Union Life Insurance Company, overseeing 19 employees while operating a martial arts studio in the evenings. From 1978-1981 I worked as a territory representative for Westwood Pharmaceuticals before deciding to make a full-time commitment to teach the martial arts. My wife Geralyn and I are life-long residents of West Haven. We have two sons, Christopher, 30 and Brandon, 25. Our legislative assembly must become more fiscally responsible. I will work to get our state economy growing again and find ways in which we can lower taxes for everyone. We must review all spending to ensure that each project is essential, and that expenditures don't exceed reasonable levels, as many now do. This will free up resources that will allow us to more effectively support priorities like improved mental health screening and treatment.\u00a0 We need to stop wasteful state mandates that increase property taxes and take decisions out of the hands of local communities. With a new approach we can employ more of our people, lower our tax burden and make Connecticut a prosperous state once again.