Correction: Linda Orange is a candidate for State Representative in the 48th District which now includes Colchester, Lebanon, Mansfield and Windham. This story as originally posted incorrectly stated Linda Orange was not seeking political office.
Bill Devine, who served on the East Hampton Town Council during one of the most tumultuous periods in town politics said today (Oct. 22) that he has completed the necessary paperwork to be a write-in candidate for state representative for the 34th District this November.
Republican Devine failed to gain his party’s nomination this year. Instead, the party chose Melissa Ziobron of East Haddam.
The 34th District was among those whose boundaries were redrawn this year; Middletown was removed from the district – and effective January 2013 it will include East Haddam, East Hampton and a small, western section of Colchester.
Devine said in an interview today that a friend recently sent him materials to alert him to the fact that he still had time to apply to be a write-in candidate. The deadline to apply, he said, is Oct. 23.
“I submitted my paperwork on Friday (Oct. 19),” Devine said.
Devine said he had expected to win the Republican nomination but that one of his delegates changed her mind, apparently. “She was on my side all the way until April or May – then she sent a replacement (to the nominating meeting),” who cast a vote for Ziobron, he said.
Even though it’s late in the game, Devine said, he feels he still has a fighting chance to win the state representative’s seat.
He has a “very, very low budget,” Devine said, “but we’re going to try.”
Devine said he doesn’t even have money for campaign signs – nor does he have the same amount of time to devote to campaigning as Ziobron. “I work six days a week,” he said.
What he does have, he said, is a lot of volunteers willing to work the phones, including friends in East Haddam.
He admitted that Ziobron has other advantages besides a larger coffer of donations. For one, she started campaigning two years ago, Devine said.
“She expected to run against Linda Orange,” he said referring to the incumbent Democratic state representative who received her party’s endorsement for the 48th District, which now includes Colchester, Lebanon, Mansfield and Windham.
State Rep. Gail K. Hamm (D-East Hampton, Middletown) also announced in March 2012 that she would not seek re-election at the end of her seventh term.
The endorsed Democratic candidate in this race, Christopher Goff recently served with Devine on the East Hampton Town Council.
While serving on the council, at a time of controversy over attempts to remove East Hampton’s Chief of Police Matt Reimondo, Devine was criticized for not being present for significant votes.
Devine said family issues, including the need to care for his infant grandson, were the cause of his ongoing absences – and he subsequently resigned from the council.
Asked today whether these issues would prevent him from meeting the responsibilities of a state representative, Devine – who owns and operates a jewelry store in East Hampton – said circumstances will be different.
“I have someone to run the store – she ran the store for me once before, for four years – and he (the grandson) will be starting school in September,” Devine said.
Devine ran for state representative six years ago. He said many of the goals he had then still apply now.
“I believe there should be term limits. What you have now is people who put in their 10 years and then collect health care benefits that none of us will get…. I believe 90 percent of them (state reps) are career politicians,” Devine said.
His agenda also includes eliminating “unfunded mandates,” lowering the gas tax and giving vouchers to trucking businesses so that they buy their gas in Connecticut, “instead of filling up in Massachusetts.”
Vouchers would work for the same reason that mega discount stores like Wal-mart and K-mart work, Devine said – “it’s about volume.” While trucking companies might pay less, more of them would buy their gas in Connecticut and more than make up for the difference, he said.
Devine is confident, he said, that he has enough support to be a viable candidate, even at the 11th hour. “Everyone who comes into my store says they will vote for me,” he said. “And I won in East Hampton by more than 800 votes last time.”
Devine invites his supporters to contact him with any questions or offer of help with his campaign by calling his store between 12:30 and 5 p.m. at 860-267-4492.
Posted October 22, 2012; correction added October 23.
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