O’Dea, Wilms annouce re-election bids in New Canaan
NEW CANAAN — With an eye on winning majority control in the state house, two town representatives announced their re-election bids Monday night.
Rep. Tom O’Dea, R-125, and Rep. Fred Wilms, R-142, will be seeking their fourth and third term, respectively. They announced their decisions to run for re-election at a Republican Town Committee meeting at Town Hall the evening of Feb. 12.
“To make it official here first, I am going to seek re-election. Hopefully, I can count on the support of the RTC,” O’Dea said. “This is finishing five years going into my sixth year. This has been the best job I’ve ever had and the most frustrating job I’ve ever had.”
Wilms, who represents New Canaan and Norwalk, followed.
“I am running again as well for a third term,” Wilms said. “No one has announced to come out for me yet but I do expect an opponent.”
According to documents filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, Wilms registered for re-election in January. No documents have been filed for O’Dea’s re-election run as of press time.
The New Canaan Democratic Town Committee Chair Robert Smith said Tuesday morning that he was “not aware of any Democrats that have declared or are exploring a run against either of these men” referring to O’Dea and Wilms.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan was in attendance at the RTC meeting.
“They’re my men, they’ve done a great job. Wilms is brilliant and O’Dea is a great fighter,” Moynihan said.
The two state representatives critiqued Malloy’s State of the State speech which he delivered on Feb. 7.
“The governor didn’t say a single word about the economy, about the fiscal crisis, about jobs or education, even. It was all basically a hodge-podge of all his liberal programs and stuff he’s been trying to get through for the last eight years,” Wilms said.
The issue of transportation was brought up as New Canaan faces possible fare hikes and rail service cuts as early as July if the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) doesn’t obtain the necessary revenue for a balanced fund.
The CTDOT will be holding public hearings on the proposed fare hikes and changes to rail services in late February and early March. O’Dea and Wilms said they would be attending one of the Feb. 27 public hearings held by the CTDOT.
“I’m against tolls at this point,” said O’Dea. “We need to get our spending under control. 40 percent of the traffic (in the state) are motor vehicles that don’t pay any gas tax or any type of tax. They’re essentially subsidized by us. I understand the logic of tolls but we have a spending problem in this state.”
The state representatives were optimistic about obtaining a majority in both Houses once the November elections conclude.
“I think we have a good shot at it,” O’Dea said. “I’m a centrist, Connecticut Republicans usually are.”
Wilms expects a tough campaign ahead and highlighted what he believes are the key issues for the November elections.
“I expect to get an opponent and that there will be a vigorous campaign. There will certainly be talk about how we save our state, how to turn the economy around, how to solve the fiscal crisis and how we get jobs to come back — I expect a robust debate around those issues. I believe we’ve a good chance of taking control of both Houses and the Governorship and I think the voters of Connecticut want change and we represent change. If that’s what they vote, it’s up to us to stand up and deliver,” Wilms said.