By Elio Gugliotti, Editor
PROSPECT — Republican state Rep. Lezlye Zupkus is facing a challenge from Democrat Edward J. Maher III for the 89th House District seat she’s held for four terms.
Zupkus, who was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012, has received the Republican endorsement to run for a fifth straight term. The 89th district represents Prospect, Bethany and part of Cheshire.
“Serving as a state representative is such a rewarding job and I want to continue to be the voice of the people of the 89th district and use my skills as an advocate and a builder of consensus to deliver for my constituents,” said Zupkus in a news release. “Although most legislation is passed with unanimous support, I will always stand against proposals which hurt middle class families and look to expand the scope of government into our everyday lives.”
Zupkus, 53, pointed to plans for highway tolls and a state budget that raised taxes among the proposals she fought against the past two years.
Zupkus is the deputy house Republican leader at-large and serves on the legislature’s appropriations, public health and internship committees. She is also a member of the bi-partisan Women’s Caucus, Manufacturing Caucus and the caucus for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Zupkus lives in Prospect with her husband, Gregory, and their two children. She is the state director of Best Buddies Connecticut. Zupkus, who graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, also serves on the board of directors of Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.
Democrats have endorsed Maher, a 40-year-old Norwalk firefighter, to challenge Zupkus.
“I have always strived to be of service to my community. Running for state representative of the 89th district is an opportunity to expand the reach of that service,” said Maher in a statement. “To be able to serve the communities of Bethany, Cheshire and Prospect at the state level will be a privilege that I will not take for granted.”
Maher lives in Bethany with his wife, Sandy, and their three daughters. He serves on the Bethany Community School Board of Education and is Bethany’s representative to the ACES Regional Governing Board.
Maher, who has been a firefighter for over 10 years, graduated from New York University in 2004. Before becoming a firefighter, he worked for the production controller for an aerospace component manufacturer in New Haven and in film production.
Maher said he’s running because the status quo in Hartford isn’t going to cut it anymore. He touched on many areas he feels need to be addressed, including that health care must be accessible for every resident, education must be equitable and rigorous for all students, vocational training should be more accessible to anyone, and there must be racial and social equality.
“For far too long our problems been have ignored,” he said. “What’s more, we have failed our most vulnerable, under-served citizens and communities.”