Endorsement (Opinion): Bob Duff a positive influence for Norwalk

By Hearst Connecticut Media Editorial Board (The Norwalk Hour)

Published 2:02 pm EDT, Thursday, October 29, 2020

The differences on approach to issues between incumbent state Sen. Bob Duff and Republican challenger Elisavet Kousidis are sharp and distinct. The choice is clear as to who could better serve the interests of the 25th District of Norwalk and part of Darien.
Bob Duff, a Democrat, first elected to the state Senate in 2004 during the Republican administration of M. Jodi Rell, has risen to majority leader of that chamber. For two terms prior, he was a state representative. He knows how government works.

As the inner circle of politics at the state Capitol — part of the Committee of 10 that provides legislative oversight to emergency executive orders — Duff wields power. Is that good for the district? Yes.

Most notably, he worked to get maximum state funding for a new Norwalk High School to replace the building that is badly in need of repairs and modernization. Whether you agree with Duff on the school project, and some vocal critics do not, he has the interests of his district at heart even as he has a seat at the table in Hartford.

Norwalk, and the district, should not turn over that access to a senior senator representing another city elsewhere in the state.

Kousidis, a Republican, is a first-time candidate for political office. Her 15 years as an educator gives her a grounded experience in what the state could do to better equalize education. However, she jeopardizes the health of educators by agreeing that parents should have a choice in whether their children wear masks to school. This is a risky collision of rights. Similarly, she is against removing the non-medical exemption for vaccines in schools, which Duff has supported.

The Police Accountability Reform Act, passed in special session of the General Assembly last summer, is another demarcation. Duff pushes back against criticism that is was rushed, saying there was a 12-hour hearing before the Judiciary Committee. He took heat for saying the Norwalk police union treated him poorly for advocating for the bill; 45 of the 46 provisions were bipartisan, Duff said. Kousidis does not support the police immunity provision and questions a “rush” to pass it, since it will take 12 months to go into effect.

Duff, in another term, would like to introduce a bill to amend the state constitution to allow unexcused absentee ballot voting, as we have now during the pandemic. Kousidis doesn’t see the need and considers it as another cost. Voting is a right and responsibility in a democracy and ought not be weighed against the costs.

The choice is clear in who best represents the people and the interests of the 25th state Senate District — Bob Duff. He has our endorsement.