Kennedy, Smith running to represent Milford, Orange

Kathy Kennedy

Kathy Kennedy

Contributed photo

The upcoming election will pit Kathy Kennedy, 65, against Mike Smith, 36, for the 119th District seat in the state House of Representatives.

The seat, which represents Milford and Orange, had been held by Kennedy, a Republican, since 2018 when she defeated Democrat Ellen Beatty.

Smith, a Democrat, is running for office for the first time.

Hearst Connecticut Media asked the candidates what they considered the top issues in their district and what they would do about them. Here are their responses:

Kathy Kennedy

Town of residence: Milford

Education: Amity Regional High School; Southern Connecticut State University 

Political/civic experience: Two-term state representative, volunteer for numerous nonprofit organizations such as United Way, Boys & Girls Club, Bridges, and Beth El. Patient care volunteer at hospice (Branford), served two terms as CT PTA president and served on numerous state Department of Education committees.

Top two issues: Affordability and tax relief for all our residents by reducing the sales tax, eliminating the 1 percent meal tax, and repealing those taxes and fees that cost more to collect than the revenue they generate. Protecting our communities and first and foremost providing our law enforcement officers with immunity protection if they acted reasonably while performing their duties. Putting families first by requiring all boards of education to include pre-K-12 curriculum materials on their websites, protect our senior citizens from fraud and abuse. There are so many other issues that need to be addressed as well such as homelessness and health care and food insecurity to name a few. 

Mike Smith

Town of residence: Milford

Education: Foran High; Clark University BA; Clark University Masters of Public Administration

Political/civic experience: YMCA Youth in Government Program, Foran High School; intern with Speaker of the House Jim Amann; assistant clerk for the Judiciary Committee and later worked in the governor's office. As a 14-year cancer survivor, I have been deeply involved in the cancer community since finishing treatment, including currently serve on the board of Cancer Dudes, a group focused on destigmatizing the often overlooked mental health challenges of being a young man diagnosed with cancer.

Top two issues: Cost of living: We need to do a better job of providing affordable, accessible health care — including protecting a woman's right to choose. Furthermore, with energy prices increasing, the state can and should do a better job of protecting ratepayers and making sure our utility payments aren't only going to lavish executive salaries. In 2020, the top five employees of Eversource received $40 million in compensation, with the CEO earning $19.8 million. Schools: We need to work with our educators and parents to ensure that students receive the top-notch education they deserve. This includes helping students and faculty feel safer by continuing to improve and pass laws in our state to reduce the risk of gun violence.